Judas, one of the twelve, with a great multitude with swords and clubs, came from the chief priests and elders of the people. Now His betrayer had given them a sign, saying, "Whomever I kiss, He is the One; seize Him." Immediately he went up to Jesus and said, "Greetings, Rabbi!" and kissed Him. (Mt. 26:47-49, Lesson Two, DVD C4, 9:15-11:15)
The experience of betrayal for Jesus was first recorded, when his own physical brothers labelled him as ‘insane’ Jn. 7:5-10, Mk. 3:21. But when his own so-called disciple turns on him in front of Temple Security Forces, there must be a depth of hopelessness felt which is impossible to ignore. Jesus wasn’t the first King to be betrayed. King David’s life was filled with betrayal, he started his reign wrestling with it, he warns those who had deserted him for Saul: "the God of our fathers look thereon and judge" (1 Ch 12:17). Later still, the pain of betrayal was to come personally to him by his own son Absalom. To feel the inward piercing of treacherous lies was the deep consequence of deception God warns us about in the Proverbs 25:9-10, and that Jesus felt before he was beaten, scourged & crucified. It’s worse to be tortured when you know that even a ‘friend’ is against you.
If we know the reasons for betrayal, we may avoid committing it ourselves. God pleads, do not grieve His Holy Spirit, Ephesians 4:30. In the betrayal, God’s Spirit in Jesus must have sunken to a depth unknown before. John 3:31-34.
Reputation: Judas was already known to be a thief. Why do people steal? Because they want to be something they are not, such as influential, richer or comfortable. Because Judas was chosen to be inside the circle of friends of Jesus, he may have wanted the leaders of religious society to recognize his advantageous position, and told them, whoever I “kiss”, He is the One. Consider this possibility, what if Judas believed that Jesus would use God’s power to overcome his captors? This would make Judas look more than knowledgeable. But Jesus would know Judas even better than Judas wanted to be known.
Money: 30 pieces of silver from the Priests would be shekels of the sanctuary, this would be equivalent to 120 denarius, which was the average of about three months wages. Today that would be appx. $12,000. Judas agreed to identify when and where Jesus was for the captivity in stealth. This would at first excite Judas enough to go through with what he thought was questionable. But afterwards of course, he realizes he betrayed an innocent ‘friend’(Mt. 27:4), and offers the money back, committing suicide. Jesus must have felt cheated and cheap, to know that Judas would just throw everything away, for what he had done. The idea of money was in Judas’ mind, but the exact amount was offered by the chief priests. What is amazing is that 30 pieces of silver is equivalent to the price of a slave, which is exactly what Jesus was to become, enslaved to the burden & consequence of sin, being prophesied of in Zec. 11:12-13, Ex. 21:32. He certainly took on the form of a slave, Php. 2:7-8. So should we!
The pain of betrayal is felt in three ways by Jesus. Firstly from his own physical brothers calling him insane, Jn. 7:5-10, Mk. 3:21,31. Secondly by Judas capturing him for the Jews. Thirdly by the Chief Priests in encouraging the people to insist on crucifixion after Pilate had found no fault in him. It is asserted by Stephen that the “Jews” also betrayed Jesus, Ac. 7:52. Most of us would strike back when betrayed, but Jesus only said one remark recorded by Luke, “will you betray the Son of Man” (22:48), To the ears of Judas, the title Son of Man, must have smacked of the office of Royalty and Judge, see Daniel 7:13. This would have certainly got Judas’ attention, but what was the result?