2000-03-06 - Betrayed by a Close Friend
The Prophecies Fulfilled Series, Part 4
Psalm 41:9 "Even my close friend, in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted up his heel against me."
Luke 22:47,48 "While He was still speaking, behold, a multitude came, and the one called Judas, one of the twelve, was preceding them; and he approached Jesus to kiss Him. But Jesus said to him, 'Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?'"
What was his motive? Why would Judas betray Christ? In many ways we cannot answer these questions. On the other hand, we can, possibly, learn some truths about ourselves, and life in general by giving Judas some time under the microscope.
One motive could be resentment. Remember that Jesus has publicly rebuked him when Judas took issue with the women who anointed His feet. (Matthew 26:8-17, John 12:4,5) It wasn't a harsh rebuke like Christ gave to Peter, "get behind me Satan," (Matthew 16:23) but Christ did rebuke Judas just before Judas went to the chief priests.
Another motive could have been covetousness. The book of John reports that Judas used to steal from the Apostles money bag, John 12:6. And we know that the chief priests gave him thirty pieces of silver to deliver Jesus up to them, Matthew 26:15. But thirty pieces of silver was very little money and unless they were just a down-payment of a larger sum that was promised, (which there is no evidence of) this seems to be an unlikely motive on its own.
Both these views have some merit, but there is also the motive that Judas might have been dissatisfied with the progress of Jesus' revolution. He might have been like the Jews, seeking a political messiah. Right before Judas betrayed Christ, Jesus was discussing His impending burial, John 12:7,8. How was Jesus going to accomplish His mission if He was dead?
Jesus has just entered Jerusalem in a grand manner. The city was full of people and this was the time to make a move. Judas may have thought that if he delivered Jesus up to the chief priests they would quickly figure out how great a man He was and elect Him as the King Messiah. Then Jesus would be able to properly reward His followers with position and wealth. It seems that this is a probable reason why Judas may have delivered Jesus up.
We all know the end of the story. Both Jesus and Judas would soon be dead. Jesus would be crucified and Judas (Matthew 27:3-5), when he saw that Jesus had been condemned, repented, returned the money to the chief priests, and hung himself.
We would be foolish if we did not see some Judas in ourselves. Judas appears to have used faulty reasonings to reach a conclusion that his actions would be helpful. We also are often fond of rationalizing things that we know to be wrong, by explaining them through means that make them look better than they really are. The consequences of Judas's actions and reasonings were that he and his leader died. Let us seek to learn from this and be careful that we are not wrongly justifying things that we should be doing.
Soli Deo Gloria,