While we cannot be absolutely certain why Judas betrayed Jesus, some things are certain.
First, although Judas was chosen to be one of the Twelve all scriptural evidence points to the fact that he never believed Jesus to be God.
Yet there are some of you who do not believe. “For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him
He even may not have been convinced that Jesus was the Messiah (as Judas understood it). Unlike the other disciples that called Jesus “Lord,” Judas never used this title for Jesus and instead called him “Rabbi,” which acknowledged Jesus as nothing more than a teacher.
While other disciples at times made great professions of faith and loyalty, Judas never did so and appears to have remained silent.
Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.
Then Thomas (also known as Didymus) said to the rest of the disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him”
This lack of faith in Jesus is the foundation for all other considerations listed below. The same holds true for us. If we fail to recognize Jesus as God incarnate, and therefore the only One who can provide forgiveness for our sins and the eternal salvation that comes with it we will be subject to numerous other problems that stem from a wrong view of God.
Second, Judas not only lacked faith in Christ, but he also had little or no personal relationship with Jesus. When the synoptic gospels list the Twelve, they are always listed in the same general order with slight variations (Matthew 10:2-4; Mark 3:16-19; Luke 6:14-16). The general order is believed to indicate the relative closeness of their personal relationship with Jesus. Despite the variations, Peter and the brothers James and John are always listed first, which is consistent with their relationships with Jesus. Judas is always listed last, which may indicate his relative lack of a personal relationship with Christ.
Additionally, the only documented dialogue between Jesus and Judas involves Judas being rebuked by Jesus after his greed-motivated remark to Mary (John 12:1-8), Judas’ denial of his betrayal (Matthew 26:25), and the betrayal itself (Luke 22:48).
Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.
But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.” He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.
“Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. “It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. 8 You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.”
Third, Judas was consumed with greed to the point of betraying the trust of not only Jesus, but also his fellow disciples, as we see in John 12:5-6. Judas may have desired to follow Jesus simply because he saw the great following and believed he could profit from collections taken for the group. The fact that Judas was in charge of the moneybag for the group would indicate his interest in money (John 13:29).
Additionally, Judas, like most people at the time, believed the Messiah was going to overthrow Roman occupation and take a position of power ruling over the nation of Israel. Judas may have followed Jesus hoping to benefit from association with Him as the new reigning political power. No doubt he expected to be among the ruling elite after the revolution. By the time of Judas’ betrayal, Jesus had made it clear that He planned to die, not start a rebellion against Rome. So Judas may have assumed—just as the Pharisees did—that since He would not overthrow the Romans, He must not be the Messiah they were expecting.
There are a few Old Testament verses that point to the betrayal, some more specifically than others. Here are two:
OLD TESTAMENT PROPHESY
“Even my close friend, whom I trusted, he who shared my bread, has lifted up his heel against me”
NEW TESTAMENT FULFILLMENT
Then one of the twelve – the one called Judas Iscariot – went to the chief priests and asked, “What are you willing to give me if I deliver him over to you?” so they counted out for him thirty pieces of silver
Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him.” Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed him.
OLD TESTAMENT PROPHESY
Also, “I told them, ‘If you think it best, give me my pay; but if not, keep it.’ So they paid me thirty pieces of silver. And the LORD said to me, ‘Throw it to the potter’—the handsome price at which they priced me!’ So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them into the house of the LORD to the potter”
NEW TESTAMENT FULFILLMENT
When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders. “I have sinned,” he said, “for I have betrayed innocent blood.”
“What is that to us?” they replied. “That’s your responsibility.”
So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself.
These Old Testament prophecies indicate that Judas’ betrayal was known to God and that it was sovereignly planned beforehand as the means by which Jesus would be killed.
But if Judas’ betrayal was known to God, did Judas have a choice, and is he held responsible for his part in the betrayal? It is difficult for many to reconcile the concept of “free will” (as most people understand it) with God’s foreknowledge of future events, and this is largely due to our limited experience of going through time in a linear fashion. If we see God as existing outside of time, since He created everything before “time” began, then we can understand that God sees every moment in time as the present. We experience time in a linear way—we see time as a straight line, and we pass from one point gradually to another, remembering the past we have already traveled through, but unable to see the future we are approaching. However, God, being the eternal Creator of the construct of time, is not “in time” or on the timeline, but outside of it.
It might help to think of time (in relation to God) as a circle with God being the center and therefore equally close to all points.
In any case, Judas had the full capacity of making his choice—at least up to the point where “Satan entered into him”
As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him. So Jesus told him, “What you are about to do, do quickly.”
and God’s foreknowledge in no way supersedes Judas’ ability to make any given choice. (This should teach us to be very mindful of the cost of continually rejecting God’s grace and God’s present knowledge of it)
Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you
“I am not referring to all of you; I know those I have chosen. But this is to fulfill this passage of Scripture: ‘He who shared my bread has turned against me.’
After he had said this, Jesus was troubled in spirit and testified, “Very truly I tell you, one of you is going to betray me.”
Rather, what Judas would choose eventually, God saw as if it was a present observation, and Jesus made it clear that Judas was responsible for his choice and would be held accountable for it.
“I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me—one who is eating with me”
Notice that Jesus characterizes Judas’ participation as a betrayal. And regarding accountability for this betrayal Jesus said,
“Woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born”
Satan, too, had a part in this, as we see in John 13:26-27, and he, too, will be held accountable for his deeds. God in His wisdom was Sovereign even over Satan’s rebellion for the benefit of mankind. Satan helped send Jesus to the cross, and on the cross sin and death were defeated, and now God’s provision of salvation is freely available to all who receive Jesus Christ as Savior.
Special Thanks to: Gotquestions.com