Judas betrays Jesus: but why?

What are we missing when Judas betrays Jesus?

The official explanation given to us when we learn about Judas and Jesus is simple: thirty pieces of silver. But could there be something more to the story? Judas betrays Jesus, so naturally we look for explanations. In the Gospel of John, Judas is painted with a demon’s brush. He’s worse than a scoundrel. Is that the whole story? Was Judas simply a devil in human form, hell-bent on the betrayal Jesus?

Perhaps we should look at some other sources?Judas betrays Jesus

Other versions — or perhaps we should call them interpretations — of the story exist. Mark tells us a very neutral story. It doesn’t reveal much about the motives surrounding the betrayal. Matthew’s version specifically notes the thirty pieces of silver. The sin of greed is a clear motivator for Judas. If we’re looking for a reason to charge Judas with┬ávillainy, we need not look further than his betrayal and his greed.

But mankind has a fascination with understanding villains. After all — they’re human too. Efforts have been made to recast Judas in a different light. Our most useful source in that regard is the Gospel of Judas, a Gnostic document that suggests Jesus was behind his own betrayal. He gave instructed Judas in what to do.

For most, the motivations of Judas are secondary to the most important thing: Judas betrays Jesus. You’d be hard pressed to find a greater villain in mankind’s history. When looking back, we are tempted to dig deeper into the underdog’s history, trying to find a new angle to the potentially-misunderstood classic villain. There are many resources to do so, and trying to re-envision Judas could teach you many Lenten lessons.

But for most Christians in the world, the story is simple: Judas betrays Jesus. It’s that simple.

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