“What are you willing to give me if I deliver Him to you?” And they counted out to him thirty pieces of silver. — Matthew 26:15
What was Judas thinking? He had followed Jesus as one of the twelve chosen apostles for three years. He had received teaching not trusted to outsiders. He had not only seen miracles but performed them under Jesus’ tutelage.
He had been present when Peter confessed that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God. From that time on, he must have known that whenever he looked at Jesus, he saw the face of God.
John’s gospel points out that Judas kept the money for the group. It was certainly John’s view that the money corrupted Judas and that he helped himself to it (John 12:6).
Writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, John judged rightly. But Judas betrayed his master to cover embezzlement? Probably no one finds that explanation entirely satisfactory.
Some modern commentators suggest that Judas never quite figured out what kind of kingdom Jesus intended to introduce. According to this view, he thought the Christ should rid the Jewish Promised Land of Roman influence and establish a permanent earthly kingdom.
Impatient that Jesus either did not understand his role or that he was moving to slowly, they say Judas tried to force his hand by going to the priests. Does that satisfactorily explain why Judas betrayed his master?
Perhaps God never intended to explain it to us. Perhaps instead, he intended Judas as an object lesson of the depths to which sin can drive even those closest to Jesus.
If we take our attention from Jesus and place it on our own thoughts and motives, Satan can make almost anything seem right. Perhaps when we look at Judas, God only intends for us to shudder and return to looking to Jesus.