Was it more than just silver?
Then Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve, went to the chief priests in order to betray him to them. And when they heard it, they were glad and promised to give him money. And he sought an opportunity to betray him. (Mark 14:10-11)
There has been much speculation regarding Judas' motives in betraying Jesus, but in the end they are just that speculation. The only reasons the Gospels record are those of greed.
Matthew cites Judas saying “what are you willing to give me...?” which is “an oriental euphemism expressing somewhat delicately the demand for money” (Nolland, 1059)1. The other Synoptic gospels show Judas consenting to a monetary exchange for a covert time and place to hand Jesus over. John's gospel goes one step further and directly accuses Judas of being a thief who “used to help himself to what was put into it [treasury]” (John 12:6). From this simple understanding of Judas, it may be speculated that he was trying to make one last “score” in light of Jesus' ominous words about His upcoming “death” which regardless of meaning likely meant the end of any future opportunity for embezzlement. However, others have argued that since 30 pieces of silver was such a modest sum and Judas' lack of bargaining “...suggest that money was not his only or even his primary motive...” (Hagner, 761).1 A more compelling speculation, which provides for a more complicated Judas, is that he had become impatient or dissatisfied with the Messiah Jesus was turning out to be and thus betrayed Jesus in an attempt to “force Jesus' hand and assume the kind of national messianic identity which he [Judas] had envisioned all along” (Howell, 304). Others propose he shared views with the Zealots who wanted Jesus to establish a “...national-political kingdom that would end the Roman domination of Israel (Hagner, 762). Regardless of the motive, Judas actions were a “...deliberate, premeditated, Satan-inspired act of betrayal for which he bears individual guilt,” but he “...was no doubt shocked that his actions would trigger Jesus' condemnation for a capital crime in Jewish court” as indicated by the deep remorse which led him to suicide (Howell, 304)2. A lesson to learn from Judas is that “we can choose the sin, but we can't choose the consequences” & sin will always take us farther than we want to go.
Brett Yardley: Warrior for Christ. Devoted Husband. Proud Father. Martial Artist. Hopeful Philosopher & Theologian. Aspiring Teacher & Writer.