Judas enjoyed the popularity and power of being one of Jesus’ disciples, but probably his favorite part was being the treasurer of the group. So when he saw Mary pouring the nard on Jesus, all he could think of was the waste. He quickly spoke out, asking why the money was wasted? It should have been sold and the money given to the poor. Others sitting near him agreed.
Then Jesus spoke up. He defended Mary. That was the final straw for Judas! There was more than one way for him to get money. Luke says Satan entered him at this point. He went to the chief priests asking how much they would pay him to betray Jesus. After agreeing to the price of 30 pieces of silver, he returned looking for the perfect moment to betray Him.
On Thursday evening as they sat around the table to eat the Passover Feast, Jesus said, “Not all of you are clean,” as He washed their feet. Did Judas realize Jesus was speaking of him? Did he feel the slightest hint of guilt after receiving a foot wash from the man he was going to betray?
Then as they sat eating, Jesus sadly said, “One of you will betray me.” Jesus said the one He gives bread to is the one. Then He dipped a piece of bread and handed it to Judas. At this moment, Satan again entered Judas. Could Judas feel the presence of his evil guest? I’m sure it muted what remnant of a conscience Judas still possessed. Was he still chewing and swallowing the bread from Jesus as he rushed out into the dark empty streets?
After he told the chief priests, he must have felt so proud and powerful as he lead a great multitude with swords and clubs to the Garden of Gethsemane. He stepped up to Jesus proclaiming, “Hail Rabbi.” as he kissed him. (The Middle Eastern kiss was a standard form of greeting between friends. It was a peck on the cheek.) Why did Judas choose this as his sign? Was he proud of his friendship with Jesus? His kiss of betrayal is our universal symbol of betrayal.
Then Jesus sadly looked at him, “Friend, do what you have come for.” Did it pierce Judas’ heart to hear Jesus call him friend? Amazingly, Mark records Judas’ last order, “Lead Him away safely.” Clearly Judas didn’t grasp the full impact of his deeds.
After the trial, Judas will return the money claiming, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” I believe Satan possessed Judas until after he completed the betrayal. After Jesus was condemned, Judas was no longer necessary. Once Satan left, Judas fully grasped his role in the evil scheme.
What a tragic story of betrayal. As greed and pride increased in his life, they led to a downward spiral. Whenever we see pride or greed creep into our motives or actions, we need to decisively resist them. Jesus can give you victory anytime you humbly confess and ask for His power to relinquish it. He is our source of victory.