Q: I’ve never really understood why Judas betrayed Jesus. After all, he witnessed Jesus’ miracles and heard his teaching just like the other disciples, and yet he ended up turning against him. It just doesn’t make sense. — N.W.
A: No, it doesn’t make sense, just as most evil doesn’t make sense. Why deliberately do something we know is wrong, when — if we’d only stop to think about it — we also know it will destroy us? The Bible says, “Do not … be envious of the wicked, for the evildoer has no future” (Proverbs 24:19-20).
Bible scholars have debated for centuries exactly why Judas decided to turn against Jesus. Perhaps he finally realized that Jesus had no intention of becoming an earthly king — something Judas wanted, because he thought he could profit from it. Or perhaps he was convinced the authorities were about to kill Jesus, so why (he thought) stay loyal to a loser?
But Judas’ real problem was that he was interested only in himself and what he could gain by following Jesus. Instead of committing his life to Jesus, he allowed greed and envy to rule his heart and mind. His unbelief fed his greed, and his greed fed his unbelief. When Jesus’ enemies offered 30 pieces of silver to anyone who would disclose where Jesus was staying so they could arrest him secretly, Judas readily agreed.
Judas stands forever as a warning of the dangers of stubborn unbelief. And in the end, Judas lost everything, even his life. Some of the most tragic words in the Bible are these: “So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself” (Matthew 27:5). Make sure of your commitment to Jesus, for he alone is worthy of your life.
Write “My Answer,” Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201; or go to BillyGraham.org.