One of the apostles of Jesus is more puzzling – and troubling, than any of the others. Judas Iscariot betrayed Christ for thirty pieces of silver. His name itself has come to be synonymous with the word “traitor.” Why did he do it?
Judas saw all the miracles of Jesus. He even participated in them himself. “And having summoned his twelve disciples, he gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every kind of disease and every kind of sickness.” (Matthew 10:1) As he cast out demons or saw disease flee at his command, he must have realized he was dealing with the real power and authority of God.
Yet, in the end, he was able to offer to show the Jewish leaders where to find the Lord and arrest him. What got into him? Some believe that his original motivation for hooking up with Jesus was because he was a zealous Jewish Nationalist, looking for the violent overthrow of Roman rule off the nation of Israel. Therefore he became disappointed when he realized Jesus’ kingdom was not an earthly one.
We don’t know exactly what was in Judas’ heart. What we can know for sure is that he had hidden motivation and hidden sin. He presented himself differently than who he really was. Therein lies a good lesson for every single one of us.
What would any of us be capable of if our own hidden motivation and sin were acted out? It’s more valuable to analyze our likeness with Judas than to smugly distance him. If we do that and honestly seek God’s grace, we are less likely to become a “Judas” ourselves.