Summary: The betrayal of Jesus by Judas teaches lessons about how each of us has betrayed Christ.

The Betrayal

March 14, 2004

Mark 14:1, 10-11

“Now that Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread were only two days away, and the chief priests and the teachers of the law were looking for some sly way to arrest Jesus and kill him.”

“Then Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve, went to the chief priests to betray Jesus to them. They were delighted to hear this and promised to give him money. So he watched for an opportunity to hand him over.”


One of the most dramatic moments of The Passion is the betrayal of Jesus by Judas. It is what sets in motion the events of Jesus arrest, trial and crucifixion. There are some key thoughts behind the betrayal that help us understand some personal truths about our own lives.

These are some fundamentals that we need to establish in order to fully understand that Judas was not alone in his betrayal of Christ.

1) All sin is a betrayal of Christ.

“the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.”

Romans 8:7

2) We have all been guilty of betrayal.

“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23

“If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.”

I John 1:8

What About Judas?

Judas was a disciple. He was close to Jesus, but ultimately he turned Jesus over to the authorities.

“Then Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve, went to the chief priests to betray Jesus to them. They were delighted to hear this and promised to give him money. So he watched for an opportunity to hand him over.” Mark 14:10-11

Judas plotted with the religious leaders to have Jesus arrested. There are many questions about this event and the meaning behind it. Today we are going to look at two theories and two facts to help us reach a conclusion about Judas’ betrayal.

Theory #1- Greed: This is the belief that money is what drove Judas. (We can see that in

fact that the plot was hatched after the woman spent a large amount

of money to anoint Jesus.)

All sin is ultimately a sin of greed or pride. It is getting our desires and fulfilling our plans instead of the plans and desires of God.

Theory #2- Misguided Zealotry: This is the most noble theory- (Basically it says that

Judas was trying to force Jesus to rise up as a Messiah)

Why would the messiah talk of dying? Maybe if forced to stand trial he will rise up to rule. Nothing in scripture indicates the motive for Judas.

Fact #1: This was a fulfillment of prophecy.

“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.” Zechariah 11:12

Fact #2: Satan put the plan in his heart.

“Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve.” Luke 22:3

Isn’t that how Satan works in our lives? Doesn’t he plant a seed of thought or doubt and bring temptation in front of us so that we stumble?


The motive for sin doesn’t matter; it is still a betrayal of Christ.

NAR: Found on

According to a police report in January on the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. Web site, a driver in the Newfoundland district of Banovista-Clarenville denied that he had an illegal radar detector, claiming that the black box on his dashboard was a “moose detector” that had indeed kept him safe from moose. And Joseph Hubbert, 34, explained to Minneapolis police on Christmas morning that the reason he got stuck in the chimney of Uncle Hugo’s Mystery Bookstore was not because he was up to no good, but because he had accidentally dropped his keys down the chimney and had to crawl down to get them. {Canadian Broadcasting Corp., 1-12-04} {Star Tribune, 2-03-04}

Whatever the excuse it doesn’t change the circumstance. But we try to find reason or motive for sin and failure in our lives as if that somehow excuses our blame for our wrong actions. But there is hope.

God’s love is the remedy for our betrayal.

Remorse and guilt led Judas to commit suicide because of his betrayal of Christ. Judas never experienced the love and grace Christ came to provide.

Peter, who also betrayed Christ that night, was restored and forgiven. After Jesus rose from the dead he sent specifically for Peter so that he could show him love.

An angel told the women at the tomb: “But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’” Mark 16:7

What was the difference? Both Judas and Peter betrayed Jesus. But Judas was tormented and killed himself and Peter became one who took the message of Jesus around the world.

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