“Then Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve, went to the chief priests to betray Jesus to them”.
Mk 14:10 NIV
What made Judas Iscariot betray Jesus? The answer is that it is one of the puzzles of the New Testament. Nobody knows for sure what made one of Christ’s inner circle “do the dirty”. It is one of a number of unsolved mysteries. Some have suggested that Judas might have been one of those who were hoping that Jesus would lead a revolutionary movement and defeat the Roman rule in Palestine. When he didn’t, Judas became disillusioned with Jesus and decided to “call it quits”. But we don’t know if that was the real reason. He could have been jealous of the disciples who had more prominence than he did. He could also have disagreed with Jesus over the place and significance of the Jewish traditions. He could have had an argument – or fight – with one of the other disciples. And maybe the demands of discipleship were too severe for him.
The closing week of Christ’s ministry leaves us with many events over which to ponder. And they all challenge us in our discipleship. Would we buckle under the pressure and problems that arise from following Jesus? The suggestion that we, like Judas, might have misunderstood Jesus all along probably deflates us spiritually. But the failure of Judas to see it through points us to the truth that Jesus calls frail human beings (such as us) to be his disciples. Others around us may fail. So may we. But the ongoing mission of Christ is in the hands of fragile disciples any of whom may betray or fail him at any time. And all the more credit to those who endure to the end.
Lord, help me to endure to the end.