Why did he do it? I mean, really, why did Judas betray Christ?
There are just so many theories. Some believe that Judas betrayed Christ because he, in a misguided way, wanted to help Jesus “clear the air” with the Jewish authorities and thus be able to get his message out even further. Others posit that Judas was possessed by the Devil. We read that Satan “entered him” (Luke 22:3). Did he have free will? Some have speculated that all this is part of a grand scheme of events, all part of the plan and Judas was just playing his part in the vast cosmic drama. Still others have the thought that Judas was just trying to force Jesus to take a stand, that he was disillusioned by Jesus’ slow pace and focus on the world to come rather than the revolutionary actions that this zealot wanted. A few, in a rather odd way of thinking, seem to imply that the Lord Jesus wished Judas to betray him so that all this lead to the events of the Passion, Death and Resurrection. And there are those who take the story on face value and hold that love of money, pure and simple greed for those 30 pieces of silver, was at the cause of Judas’ actions. Perhaps the most radical interpretation I had ever come across held that Judas had been simply a representative character, someone who represented the people of Israel of Jesus’ day.
In some of these accounts from exegetes, theologians and spiritual writers, Judas comes across as almost a victim of circumstance who just had the whole situation get out of hand. Why did he do it?
Personally, I think we’ll never know the whole situation and I don’t believe that we really need to know why he did it. What we do need to know for certain is that he betrayed the Lord. What we do need to know for certain is that he sinned and turned away from the Lord. We need to know that he was the agent who handed the One who is truth, goodness, beauty and love incarnate to the hands of sinful men. Why he did isn’t as important as the fact that he did it.
The fact is, for all of us, that we all, each in our own way, sin. Each of us, in thought, word and deed, betray the Lord who loves us by giving us life, who taught us through Sacred Scripture, through the unchanging Tradition of the Church and the Magisterium, and by whom we’ve been fed by his Real Presence in the Eucharist. We sin, sadly in great ways, by mortal sins and in little ways by venial sins. We sin by our personal actions and by our cooperation in social sin, the prevailing attitude of this world that leads to the culture of death. We sin in our actions and our attitudes. All of us, especially those of us who share in Sacred Orders, need to recognize this sad reality.
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