Why Did Judas Betray Jesus? (Lent 37-2018)

Passion Week takes a sad turn.  The excitement of the Triumphal Entry is in the rear-view mirror.  The crowds have gone back to their daily grind.  “Why is it still the same-old-same-old when we’ve got the Messiah?”, might have been the question uttered at the well, on the streets and in the fields.  Why are the Romans still in charge?  Where is the change we were promised?  Are we not the Chosen People?  Why are we not vindicated?  It’s centuries before the concept of impeachment will arise, yet the disillusioned already have begun their Resist campaign.  Get rid of this guy.

Those Pharisees, who never really liked this upstart Jesus too much, also have had their fill of what He’s doing and are jealous, even angry, at the attention He’d been getting.  They’re offended by Him and planning, even plotting to take Him out. After all, what Rabbinical school did He go to?   What were His credentials? Who in the name of Moses, does He think He is? 

Even among Jesus’ disciples.  The one who was proclaimed “among those born of women there is no one greater than John,” that is John the Baptist, has already been second-guessing, Luke 7: 19 John the Baptist sent [two men] to the Lord to ask,

Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?”

Then there are the Twelve.  Had they concluded Jesus had His priorities wrong or consumed too much Mogen David?  He lets some woman pour perfume on His head and big bucks of pure nard down the drain!  (Mark 14: 4-9 vs 4 Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, “Why this waste of perfume? 5 It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages and the money given to the poor.”) 

This event planted betrayal in the heart of Judas.  Judas was probably one of those indignant.  (Never mind he held the money purse and was doing a little skimming off the top).  Who knows what the surface motivation for betrayal was? 

Why did Judas betray Jesus?  Because betrayal was in his heart.

Mark 14:10 Then Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve, went to the chief priests to betray Jesus to them. 11 They were delighted to hear this and promised to give him money. So he watched for an opportunity to hand him over.

Food for thought:

  • Yes, Scripture says that the Christ must suffer and die.  But other than to fulfill Scripture, is there another reason for all the suffering?  Couldn’t Jesus have just gone to the Cross without all the abuse?
  • In what ways might betrayal and suffering offer a dark counterbalance-a world of sin reminder-that promotes our believing in God?
  • In the movie Life of Pi that we’ve been using for this Lenten devotional series, the writer was sent by Pi’s “Mamaji” an ‘honorary uncle’ because the writer had been told,
    • “He said you had a story that would make me believe in God .
    • ADULT PI replies, “ As for God, I can only tell you my story; you will decide for yourself what you believe.”
  • One blogger, a journalism student named Paige Beresford writes, “Instead, his story is set up to help readers consider which version of the world they prefer – the one where we make our own way and suffer through the darkness via self-determination, or the one where we are aided by something greater than ourselves, regardless of which version of “God” we may accept.” (Again reminding ourselves Life of Pi is not a Christian film). 
  • In what ways might the darkness of betrayal and suffering hold a mirror to our earthly existence of sin and prepare us for what the death of Christ would accomplish?

Join me tomorrow for Why Did Jesus Celebrate the Passover for Remembrance?


For Lent 2018, we’ll explore the questions of Pi and Chi (the Greek letter beginning the word Christos, which means Christ, Messiah, the Anointed One). We’ll ask and answer the question “Why?” as we discover the uniqueness of Jesus Christ.  Join me for the 40 days of Lent which began February 14, 2018 by liking Seminary Gal on Facebook or having these devotionals sent to your email box which you can do via the sign-up on my Home page.  Thank you for blessing me with this opportunity to study together the Word of God.


Acknowledging that former years’ devotional series remain popular:

  1. Lent 2013 looked at The Letter to the Romans: Paul’s Masterpiece to reclaim foundations of our Christian heritage and began February 13, 2013.
  2.  A very special and ever popular offering was Lent 2014’s Be Still and Know that I AM God  which can be obtained through the archives beginning in March 2014. 
  3. Lent 2015 began on February 18, 2015 with a series entitled With Christ in the Upper Room: Final Preparations.  We explored what is often called “The Upper Room Discourse” found in John chapters 13-17
  4. ReKindle, the Lent 2016 series, began on February 10, 2016 and encouraged us to rekindle our spiritual lives.
  5. Light: There’s Nothing Like It was the 2017 Lent series and explored this metaphor often used to portray Christ.  It is archived beginning March 1, 2017.

Categories Articles and Devotionals, Devotionals | Tags: | Posted on March 28, 2018

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