And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease. Now the names of the twelve apostles are these; The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus; Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him. These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give. Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses, Nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat.
Of course brother William, needs must that we not only understand that theft is a sin of the Lord’ servants in many places but we must also understand how that mind to steal comes about and in what character is theft being spoken when we speak of Judas being a thief.
When the twelve were sent out they we given power to cast out demons and to heal the sick. They also went with no purse, which is to say they were to depend on receiving their means of sustenance by labouring. In this instance their labour was to cast our demons to heal the sick and to declare that the kingdom of heaven was at hand.
If we say that Judas was a thief and mean by a simple claim that he pilfered from the purse (as he did) we would be left with an effect of knowing only what any child can tell you. It is wrong to steal. What we may need to understand is how Judas came from having no purse to having the common purse. At this time of being sent out by the Lord Judas was with Simon the Zealot. So unless Simon was also a thief or else his Zeal was a mistaken folly then he could not have given Judas a common charge over any purse that was given them to their sustenance.
Judas entered into that which so many have entered into since his example of seeing the effect of being given sustenance for no more than exercising the power of God in Christ Jesus. If that is work to serve the Father by obeying His son to the benefit of men then how you use that money when your wages are paid is not a matter of theft but wisdom.
If I am about the Lord’ work and I am given a bed and a meal have I not received my wages? And if on my leaving to go to another house I am given a coin for my next meal ought I to not remember what the Lord has said? The bed and the meal are my wages. The coin, no matter in what good intention it is given by the one I have served can only become my wages for my bed and my meal if in obedience I am rejected in the next village and need to sleep and need to eat before going on in the Lord.
Therein lies a simple distinction brother that many have refused because they have seen how it is that those who have been delivered from unclean spirits and all kinds of sickness sometime give more generously than is needful for wages.
Greed comes from the heart - but opportunity comes by serving God. In the end Judas sold his calling for a bag of silver.