The name "Judas" is instantly connected with betrayal. But few consider that he was carefully and prayerfully handpicked by Jesus Christ to be among the select group of 12. No doubt Jesus had good reasons for making the choice, though the purpose is not clearly revealed in Scripture. In fact, prior to Jesus selecting Judas to become the 12, the Bible doesn't mention or name him. Nevertheless, Judas must have closely followed Jesus, and paid attention to the words and actions of this extraordinary man from Nazareth.
Luke teaches that Jesus prayed all night before identifying who among the many devoted disciples would become apostles. By revelation, Jesus chose them, and he appointed Judas as treasurer of the group. The 12 were in ministry training and intimate settings with Jesus for more than three years. Like the others, Judas preached about the Kingdom of God, healed people, and exercised power and authority over evil spirits. Judas was there. He saw it all. He did it all.
"Now while they were staying in Galilee, Jesus said to them, "The Son of Man is about to be betrayed into the hands of men, and they will kill Him, and the third day He will be raised up." And they were exceedingly sorrowful." (Matthew 17:22, 23)
From the above Scripture, it may be that Judas shook his head in disbelief when Jesus spoke of betray, thinking such a thing couldn't happen to Jesus. But as time passed, something began to grow within Judas that would ultimately be his undoing. At supper with Lazarus, Mary and Martha in their home in Bethany, Mary anointed Jesus' feet with very expensive oil and wiped His feet with her hair, a beautiful and loving gesture.
The value of the oil was equivalent to about one year's wages for a worker so Judas was irate. He condemned what he described as wasteful, saying that it could have been sold and the money distributed to poor people. But Scripture notes that Judas really didn't care at all about poor people. He was upset because he was greedy, a thief, and as treasurer for the apostles, may have already been pilfering money.
Passover was approaching, and Jesus knew his time was drawing near. The chief priests, scribes and elders had assembled with the High Priest, discussing how they might secretly arrest Jesus and kill him. When Judas arrived to strike a deal with them, they were "glad,"Â� and paid Judas 30 pieces of silver. It is puzzling that Judas would accept so little -- the lowest price that could be paid for a slave. But, he settled with them for this shameful amount.
The last supper must have been a time of great tension for both Jesus and Judas. In the midst of sharing many things, quoted out of the Psalms.
"Even my own familiar friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted up his heel against me." ( Psalm 41:9)
Jesus was troubled in His heart, and let them all know that He knew one of them would betray Him. Many, even Judas, having already received the money, began asking Him, "Is it I?" Jesus' unwavering love for Judas was remarkable. When He dipped the morsel of bread and handed it to Judas, it was a display of His favor, as if Judas were the guest of honor.
Scripture states that Satan entered Judas' heart at that time, and he went out to gather the temple officers and Pharisees, knowing the location where Jesus and the disciples would later go. Judas was deceived, and didn't know the deadly intentions of the enemies of Jesus. When the purpose of Satan's deception was accomplished, the eyes of Judas' understanding were opened. It was then that he understood that Jesus' very life was now in serious jeopardy. He attempted to return the money to the temple, saying, "I have sinned by betraying innocent blood."
Unfortunately, Judas had not discerned the evil in the hearts of the chief priests, who were not a bit concerned with Judas' remorse. The consequences of his actions had gone far beyond his expectations, but it was too late to change them. Perhaps the words of Jesus came to his mind. "Woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had not been born."
Guilt and despair were too much for Judas to overcome. Rather than seek forgiveness or reconciliation, Judas committed suicide. His death was a tragedy; he would have had the same opportunity as Peter to turn things around, and he would have been in the Upper Room to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. Instead, like Cain, Judas' actions forever dishonored him.