So often when we think of Judas we focus on the one moment of betrayal and while we know that he did turn Jesus over we don’t really know why. There are many theories historically on what his intentions were but nothing we know for certain. Some people believe he was just corrupt but why then did Jesus make him a disciple and trust him with their money purse? It’s not that Jesus didn’t know or was somehow duped. Some people think that he was a part of the group promoting revolution and that by betraying Jesus he thought it would prompt him to rise up as the king they were expecting. Some people believe that he was part of that group but betrayed Jesus as a diversion from the group’s attempt to launch a revolt. Whatever the case we know that Judas did not intend for Jesus to be condemned. Matt 27:1-5 proves this when it says,
“When morning came, all the chief priests and elders of the people plotted against Jesus to put Him to death. And when they had bound Him, they led Him away and delivered Him to Pontius Pilate the governor. Then Judas, His betrayer, seeing that He had been condemned, was remorseful and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” And they said, “What is that to us? You see to it!” Then he threw down the pieces of silver in the temple and departed, and went and hanged himself.”
I tend to fall in the camp that Judas was trying to prompt Jesus to rise up as the king they were waiting for. The reason I don’t tend to buy in the other theories as much is because 1) Jesus knew Judas and still called him among his closest friends and 2) how could anyone be that surrounded by the holy presence and love of Jesus for years and not be changed by it?
Certainly Judas had some misplaced expectations about how the Messiah was supposed to arrive and act etc and he surely missed the point of what Jesus was planning but I don’t see him as being some evil person that Jesus just allowed into his inner circle.
No sadly I think Judas was exactly like us. He felt his understanding of how things should go was right and he was “trying to help” Jesus turn the circumstances to fit that expectation. I am sure that Judas was just waiting for Jesus to roar in as King of Kings and rid them of Roman rule. How do I know? Because Judas watched the process that night of Jesus’ travels before different leaders when he could have just taken the thirty pieces of silver and walked away. Instead he followed the proceedings either visually or by reporting and when he learned that Jesus was to be condemned Judas went to return the money and try to change the condemnation. In short Judas relied on his own understanding.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord and depart from evil.”
Proverbs 3:5-7 NKJV
How often do we look to what we perceive would be the natural outcome of a circumstance? One plus one always equals two right? How easily we take that “understanding” and extrapolate it to some perceived end result rather than acknowledging that God is far higher than our understanding. If we really search our hearts and ask God for revelation I think we would see that we do this more often than we would believe. Very often I think we simply get caught up and try to move things forward. We live in such a fast paced get it done world that we take actions without even realizing we are not waiting on God’s plan. We do exactly what Judas did we try to move God’s hand to meet our expectations. No we are not physically betraying Jesus to his death but we are acting out the reason that death was needed to pay for our penalty. Let’s start this new year surrendering our expectations to the only One who can exceed them and wait on His plan for doing so.