Scripture tells us that at the Last Supper, Jesus told the Apostles that one of them will betray him. What an awful word – betrayal. When we use this word, we can mean a variety of things, including an act that causes someone to lose trust in us or outright disloyalty.
Why did Judas betray Jesus? The Bible doesn’t tell us, but over the years I have hears several theories on this matter. One theory I heard was that he didn’t expect them to condemn Jesus to death, and he wanted the money for the poor. It is also possible that he wanted the money for himself.
I also read that maybe Judas was disillusioned by Jesus’ view of Messiahship, and he wanted to force Jesus to become the Messiah that he wanted him to be.
A third theory is that Judas acted with Jesus’ permission because it was necessary to achieve God’s plan of salvation. The word usage adds some credence to this because the word used in this sentence is paradidōmi (Greek word using Latin letters). According to Strong’s, this word is more commonly used in Scripture as delivering something, including delivering someone up to authorities. So, the connotation is more like Judas delivered Jesus over to the authorities for trial. In other words, this translation takes out some of the negativity of betrayal. (For more on the usage of paradidōmi in Scripture: https://www.blueletterbible.org/lexicon/g3860/kjv/tr/0-1/). Given the reaction of the Apostles to Jesus’ statement and Judas’ demise, this point doesn’t make much sense. Still, it might help us in our analysis of our own spiritual lives.
Another theory, based on the Lukan Gospel’s wording, is that Judas came under the influence of the Devil. (Luke 22:3: “Then Satan entered into Judas called Iscariot, …”). So, Judas didn’t act under his own influence, but that of the Devil.
As stated yesterday, the purpose of the blogs this week is to focus on the behavior of these Biblical characters in an effort to grow in self-awareness; to more fully stand in the light of truth. The spiritual life can be seen as a cycle of on-going self-awareness, leading to conversion, resulting in an encounter with mercy, which leads to an ever deepening love of God. Through these cycles, we grow in our commitment to God, learn to cooperate with him to avoid occasions of sin, and grow ever more in union with God. Such union is then perfected in Heaven.
Spend some time with the Holy Spirit asking him how your own behavior is similar to that of Judas. Be open to hearing how you, like Judas, betray Jesus. Consider all of your behaviors that are disloyal to your belief in Jesus. How have you failed to be trustworthy in your relationship with Jesus? How about in your role in the Body of Christ; in your apostolic works. Do you justify behaviors because the ends justify the means, even though the means are not according to His teachings? Have you struggled in your relationship with him because he doesn’t behave according to your expectations? Are you struggling with demonic temptation, and need the freedom provided by Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection? Don’t be afraid to be open to truth. God loves you. If the Holy Spirit shows you some areas where you are betraying Jesus, just ask for his forgiveness, know that you receive it, and revel in his love.