Many things are said about Judas and why he betrayed the Lord. “He was a zealot”, “he wanted Jesus to be king” and many other theories are abounding, but let us take a look at the scripture and see why he betrayed Jesus. Let us see if we could have been Judas if we would have been in the same circumstances?
The character of Judas
What was Judas like? When we choose a finance man we choose someone with a head on his shoulders, who can pinch pennies and knows the value of money. Especially those who work with the poor can be tight with finances in order to give help and assistance. Those people don’t like money wasters and easily grumble when money is spent for no particular reason. Judas must have been a person like that.
Let’s look at some of the biggest “money wasting” that led up to Judas betraying Jesus and let’s take an honest look how we would compare to Judas?
Scriptures are in bold Italic;
A big “money waster”: The First time at the Pharisee’s house.
(Luke 7: 36-38) “And he went into the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to meat. And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, brought an alabaster box of ointment, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment.”
No one murmurs. Judas might have been a bit hot under his collar, but does not say anything about the expensive perfume that was wasted and poured over Jesus’ feet. Judas’ thoughts might have been, “What a waste, why didn’t she just use water? We could have sold that stuff for some good cash. Jesus never should have allowed that waste.”
A big “money waster”: The Second time six days before passover at Lazarus’ house
(John 12:1-6) “Then Jesus six days before the passover came to Bethany, where Lazarus was . . . Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: . . .Then said one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, which should betray him, Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor?”
Here, this is the second time that this waste happened and Judas had to speak up and was reasoning, “Somebody has to be concerned and bring awareness to the money wasting that is going on. 300 pence is 300 days wages. That is almost a year’s wages that this stuff was worth and it was wasted in just five minutes, incredible, this is beyond me”-
“This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein.”
“Who says I am a thief? Look, we are quite tight and at times scraping pennies and here is this waste. Well if they can waste that much on someone’s feet, then I deserve a few pennies too, so what’s the big deal? I am not a thief, I am just taking a part of the share that I deserve and I honestly believe belongs to me.”
A big “money waster”: the Third time two days before the passover at Simon the leper’s house .
(Mark 14:1,3; Matthew 26:8; Mark 14:5,10) “After two days was the feast of the passover, And being in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at meat, there came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard very precious; and she brake the box, and poured it on his head. But when his disciples saw it, they had indignation, saying, ‘To what purpose is this waste?’ For it might have been sold for more than three hundred pence, and have been given to the poor. And they murmured against her.”
Here we see that Judas’ grumbling had infected the disciples and they had caught to Judas’ “concern” about the “waste” of money.
Somebody had to do something. This was the third time and now it is enough for poor Judas. Judas looses it completely and goes and betrays Jesus to his enemies the chief priests, the “good religious” people that kept the law, fasted, gave alms, and prayed in public.
(Matthew 26:14) “And Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve, went unto the chief priests, to betray him unto them.”
“If I could turn Jesus over them, then maybe they could help Jesus to get back on track. Maybe they could talk some sense into him, because obviously, Jesus is a big waster. Okay, he heals people, raised some people from the dead, and preached a good sermon, but what representation of God was he anyway? His first miracle was about 800 bottles of wine for a bunch of party animals that had drunk everything already. Then him talking about eating his flesh and drinking his blood? The law of Moses absolutely forbids this and I am definitely not a vampire. I have got to get out from underneath his spell. I will turn him into the priests, they are good religious people, they studied psychology, they know their stuff, they know the law and they can help him to see the error of his ways, because I am at wits end. Maybe they can reason with him, as this is just absolutely too much for me. I have to draw the line somewhere. So far and no further, and if it all explodes, then let it explode. I have had enough.” Poor Judas was so happed up.
(Matthew 26:15) “Then Judas went unto the chief priests, and said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver.”
Judas was so consumed in his thoughts about the money that Jesus had “wasted”, that he could not think straight anymore. The grumbling had put a crack in his armour. “Anyway thirty pieces of silver is not bad money, and God knows I need it. I think it will all really work out well.” He had opened the flood gates for the Devil’s accusations and he was pulled along in the flood of lies and could not get out.
Negativity had consumed Judas
(Matthew 26:21-25) At the Lord’s Supper:
“And as they did eat, he said, Verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me. And they were exceeding sorrowful, and began every one of them to say unto him, Lord, is it I?”
It was just all too much for Judas. Even the Lord’s Supper and even Jesus washing Judas’ feet could not touch him anymore. He was too far gone. If he only would have stopped and asked the Lord. “Lord, please help me, I am consumed with negative thoughts about this perfume business. It is too much for my money thinking mind. I really need your help to stay positive. Please, help me out of this negative vortex that I am being sucked into.”
(John 13:25-27, 30) “He then lying on Jesus’ breast says to him, Lord, who is it? Jesus answered, He it is, to whom I shall give a sop, when I have dipped it. And when he had dipped the sop, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. The Son of man goes as it is written of him: but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born.Then Judas, which betrayed him, answered and said, Master, is it I? He said unto him, You said it. And after the sop, Satan entered into him. Then said Jesus unto him, Whatever you need to do, do quickly. . . He then having received the sop went immediately out: and it was night.”
Judas was happy to come outside “Ahh Fresh Air”. He ran to the high priest thinking, ‘Wow. That was getting pretty hot in there. Am I glad to get out of there. I am not betraying him. How can he say that? I am just hoping that he can come to his senses and I think the priests could really help him. Judas must have been there when Jesus was brought in with the mob from the garden and when they brought false witnesses against him.
Judas realizes his mistake
(Matthew 27:1-5) “When the morning was come, all the chief priests and elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death: And when they had bound him, they led him away, and delivered him to Pontius Pilate the governor. Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, (Hey, this is not what I had in mind, they were going to talk to him, they used me.) repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? (That is your problem.) And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, I don’t want this blood money and departed, (Judas had lost his anchor) and went and hanged himself.”
Thirty pieces of silver for a dead servant
(Exodus 21:32) “If the ox shall push a manservant or a maidservant; that they die, he shall give unto their master thirty shekels of silver,”
Judas had sold Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. According to the law of Moses this is what one should pay for a servant that was killed by an ox. For Judas it all started with grumbling, so if we grumble and murmur about things and the way God is treating us. This God that we “worship” has the same value in our eyes as a dead servant. In other words we treat our God as a dead servant which is pretty useless.What is He worth to you?
The value of the ointment that was used
Now don’t forget that 300 pence was 300 days wages. If they got minimum wage we are talking about 8 hours times 7.50 GBP or that is 60 GBP per day, times 300 that is 18000 pound sterling. We are talking big money here. Okay, Judas was on a negative channel and then things get exaggerated in our minds, so let’s just say that it was worth 5000 GBP. That is still a lot of money.
Simon Peter denied Jesus
(Matthew 26:74,75) “Then began he to curse and to swear, saying, I know not the man. And immediately the cock crew. And Peter remembered the word of Jesus, which said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And he went out, and wept bitterly.” – Three times he denied Jesus that same night, but he went out and wept bitterly. He could also not believe what he had done, and although he was also at wits end, yet he held on and came through with flying colours.
“Here but for the grace of God go I.”
But honestly, would we have done much better than Judas? With this in mind we can only say.”Lord would you please watch over our mind and our thoughts and keep us under your protective power, because without Your protection we could literally mess up and do anything. We could betray you like Judas or deny you like Peter, one of your top disciples. Please, keep us in the palm of your hand and watch over us Jesus, because without you we are zero-point-zero.”
That is why the Lord says, “Judge not”
(Luke 6:37, & Matthew 7:2) “Judge not, and you shall not be judged: condemn not, and you shall not be condemned: forgive, and you shall be forgiven:” – “For with what judgment that you judge, you shall be judged: and with the same measure that you measure, you shall be measured again.”
In I Corinthians 2:15 Paul says, “But he that is spiritual judges all things”. Be very careful about judging others, as we have seen to often that our judgment is motivated by spiritual pride, self-righteousness, jealousy and a critical spirit. Let us stick to Jesus’ words, then we are safe. If we pass judgment on people for certain things that they do, then we will be judged on these same standards that we have set for others.