Luke 22: 1 – 6 Judas agrees to betray Jesus
Now the Festival of Unleavened Bread, called the Passover, was approaching, and the chief priests and the teachers of the law were looking for some way to get rid of Jesus, for they were afraid of the people. Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the twelve. And Judas went to the chief priests and the officers of the temple guard and discussed with them how he might betray Jesus. They were delighted and agreed to give him money. He consented, and watched for an opportunity to hand Jesus over to them when no crowd was present.
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Why would he do this?
He’s been with Jesus for many months. He’s one of the inner circle of disciples. He’s seen miracles. He’s endured hardships. He must surely have felt the attraction of Jesus and his teaching, or why would he have signed up?
We aren’t told. All St Luke tells us is that he betrayed Jesus.
St Matthew tells us a little more.
When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders. 1I have sinned,’ he said, ‘for I have betrayed innocent blood.’
‘What is that to us,’ they replied. ‘That’s your responsibility.’
So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself. (Matthew 27: 3 – 5)
Judas feels remorse for his action. Could it be that he never expected Jesus to be condemned to death? Did the chief priests and teachers of the law tell him they just intended a short period of imprisonment while things calmed down? Maybe just until the Passover crowds had dispersed?
Might they have told Judas that the Romans were becoming interested in Jesus, and were thinking of trying him for treason? Jesus would be much safer if he were in Jewish custody…
It’s certainly possible that Judas was deceived.
Is there a lesson for us in Judas’ story?
I think there are three.
- We must pray, so we stay in touch with Jesus. If Judas had been duped by the authorities, Jesus could have set him right.
- We must never despair. Jesus would, I’m pretty certain, have forgiven Judas, but Judas doesn’t give him the chance. He kills himself.
- We should treat human arguments with great care whenever they appear to contradict the teaching of Jesus. We should weigh them in the light of the bible and the prompting of the Holy Spirit, and by prayer.
Please help us to ground our lives and our actions in you. Help us not to be led astray.
In Jesus name, Amen