In Matthew 26:23 Jesus says,
“The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me.”
To which Judas replies,
“Surely you don’t mean me, Rabbi?”
The question I have always pondered is why did Judas betray Jesus?
In Matthew 26:14 it is assumed that Judas’ motive is money as he asks the chief priests, “What will you give me if I betray him to you.?”
The sum being thirty pieces of silver to Judas to deliver Jesus to the high priests.
So, did Judas do it for the money and for what purpose did he need it? This doesn’t seem the case as shortly after Judas saw that Jesus was condemned he repents and tries to give back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests. They refuse to accept the money, so he throws it down in the temple and goes and hangs himself. Matthew 27:3-6.
I believe we need to look for deeper underlying reasons and for me the betrayal of another person often is because of a breakdown in their personal relationship. Hence, we need to explore the relationship between Jesus, the other apostles and the country’s feelings towards Jesus and Judas. I would argue it begins with Judas and his perception of his relationship with Jesus evident by his commitment to his teachings?
I consider for Judas to betray Jesus he may have sensed there wasn’t that close connection as with the other disciples. Moreover, he didn’t feel as though he belonged to the group and his role was minimal in the proclaiming the Gospel and continuing the mission of Jesus.
Furthermore, maybe Jesus’ teachings were not being as universally accepted by everyone as Judas hoped they would and therefore he thought they were doomed to failure. Hence, his frustration with Jesus, the other members of the group and his diminishing commitment to Jesus’ teachings. Thus, perhaps the underlying reasons for Judas’ betrayal and his loss of faith in Jesus.
For me the message of Judas’ betrayal is that when we disagree with someone in our own personal relationships we shouldn’t make a hasty decision such as Judas did but try and talk through our differences of opinion and more importantly how we feel about the situation. I consider once both parties feel listened to they can negotiate a resolution rather than make an injudicious decision they regret. I believe Holy Week is a great time for reflection on how we can continue positive relationships with all those we encounter. Consequently, realizing we can make a difference to peoples lives.