“Jesus asked him, ’Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?’” (Luke 22:48).
When we study the four gospels, we find a remarkable series of facts about Judas:
He was personally chosen to be an apostle by Jesus Christ.
He forsook all to follow the Lord.
He spent 3 1/2 years traveling the length and breadth of Israel with Christ.
He saw the miracles of Christ in person.
He heard Christ give all his famous discourses.
He watched as Christ healed the sick, raised the dead, and cast out demons.
He, along with the other apostles, was sent out to preach the gospel.
He was one of the leaders of the apostolic band.
No one ever suspected him of treason.
That’s what makes his story so perplexing. What would make a man follow Jesus so closely for so long and then betray him at the end? The Bible itself gives us some tantalizing hints but no final answer to that question. We don’t know all that motivated Judas to go to the Jewish leaders with his evil plan. Was it envy? Was it disappointment? Was it misplaced patriotism? Was it greed? Was it some backhanded attempt to force Jesus to lead a revolution against Rome?
Perhaps the motives in his heart were as mixed as ours often are. In the end the only thing that matters is that he betrayed Jesus. For that one act his name will live forever in infamy.
What he did, I could do. If I think otherwise, then I have missed the point of this story. Judas is a lot like us and we’re a lot like him. In fact, the more religious we are, the more like Judas we are. After all, you can’t get much more religious than being an apostle. He was as “in” as any person could ever be.
And yet he betrayed the Lord. The story of Judas is in the Bible for many reasons, not the least of which is that before we take anything for granted, we should at least ask the question the other apostles asked that fateful night:
“Lord, is it I?”
Search me, Lord Jesus, and see if there be any Judas in me. Would I betray you, Lord? Reveal the truth and then heal my soul lest I for thirty pieces of silver should betray you again. Amen.