Judas: Day 3 of Lent
10 Then Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve, went to the chief priests in order to betray him to them. 11 When they heard it, they were greatly pleased, and promised to give him money. So he began to look for an opportunity to betray him.
Also Matthew 26:14-15; Luke 22:3-6; John 13:2.
Notes on JUDAS. It seems that Judas’s betrayal of Jesus was provoked by the anointing at Bethany. The tradition has been that Judas, who was treasurer (but not very trustworthy, according to John 12:6), betrayed Jesus because of his greed. But thirty shekels is worth less than eighty dollars at current rates (2002). Other reasons seem more likely. He may have become very disillusioned because Jesus rejected the violent revolt to which Judas’s own fervent nationalism was committed. Most likely, he was trying to provoke Jesus into such violent action.
JUDAS’ EVIDENCE. The chief priests wanted two things: some way to arrest Jesus “quietly” and some firm evidence against him. Judas could supply both. He could lead them to the place at the right time; and he may have informed them about the “anointing” at Bethany-which could be interpreted as “being anointed king.” Only the high priest and the king were “anointed”: and, as Jesus was from the wrong tribe to be high priest, Mary’s sensitive offering could have been distorted to represent a “royal anointing.” It would be the firm evidence they needed to prosecute for treason.
It wasn’t the money, was it, Lord? Did he want to force your hand?
He’d heard you talk so much about the Kingdom and longed for it to come as much as you:
-though his idea of the Kingdom was so very different from yours.
Was he trying to make it happen?
Did he think that putting you on the spot would make you have to act decisively, dramatically?
Perhaps he’d prayed about it; certainly he had thought long about it; and he was so sure that he was right!
Have mercy on us, Lord, when we do the same.
From where we stand, and as far as we can see, we generally think we are right.
And when we pray
we often try to make you do what we want, urge you to do what we want done, implore you to give us what we’re sure we need.
Lord, teach us to pray; teach us what “in your name means.”