The REAL Reason Judas Betrayed Jesus

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The REAL Reason Judas Betrayed Jesus

May 11, 2012, Speaker: David M. Curtis

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What caused Judas to Fall? What could possibly be the reason behind such an ill minded decision? We will find our answer in Simon’s home earlier that night. Not Simon Peter, rather Simon the Pharisee. Something happened in Simon’s house that most students of the Bible have not recognized since the night this story took place. What happened that night was something so serious that it influenced Judas to betray the Son of God. Fortunately this is one of the few stories that are recorded in all four gospels.

Reading any one account of the story will not reveal the nature of all that transpired that night. There are many dynamics to this story not visible on the surface, we must dig deep to find the truth. Just as Revelation is the book that unlocks the rest the bible, so John’s Gospel unlocks the other three gospels. In this study we are going to be making many exciting new discoveries. Some will thrill us with amazement. While others will challenge us. One thing is certain; our understanding of the night of the betrayal will forever change in the next few minutes. In fact many stories of the first four books of the New Testament will seem much more real to us after this study.

There is not always perfect chronological order in the Scriptures. The stories of Christ are not always given in the exact order they occurred especially in the gospel of Luke, but they are given just as the circumstances actually happened. The truths of the Bible are as hidden treasure. They must be searched, dug out by painstaking effort. It requires patience, thought, and prayer to trace out the precious hidden truth.

Rather than being an eye witness, Luke was a methodical investigator, an interviewer, and compiler of the life and teachings of Jesus.  He met the people who were eye witnesses and under the guidance of the Holy Spirit wrote these stories down, ”just as the circumstances occurred.” John the beloved disciple did not need to interview others as Luke had done.  He wrote concerning himself, “which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life.” 1 John 1:1.

John did not refer to the already written gospels, as Luke and Matthew had done with Marks gospel. When writing his gospel John did not need to.  He was there from the beginning by the Jordan River hearing the teachings of John the Baptist, and was there as the Baptist declared, “Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the world.” John 1:36.

“34 And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God.  35 Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples; 36 And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God!” John 1:34-36.

John, and also in Matthew and Mark, we find that this story of the events at Simon’s Feast which also include the story of the woman anointing the feet of Jesus were done just previous to the death and burial of Jesus.  “ For in that she hath poured this ointment on my body, she did it for my burial.” Matthew 26:12.  So as we read this story in Luke’s gospel and find it in two separated chapters both earlier on in his ministry, let us keep in mind that the events happened exactly as the occurred, but not necessarily in the exact order or time it occurred.

This is a story of incredible drama.  The events in the room of Simon’s Feast led to the betrayal of Jesus Christ.  There are multiple circumstances that pulled upon Judas Iscariot the night he chose his side with Satan.  Every one of us may find our selves one day tempted as he was under similar circumstances.  So let the reader not investigate this story with me for simply the pleasure and awe of understanding the scenes of this story in more full detail.  Rather let each one of us watch carefully this story, read it prayerfully with a sober mind vividly imagining our selves there, grasping the realities of what Judas experienced and felt in his heart, so that we not fall into the same temptation as Judas.  “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation.” Matthew 26:41.  Let us call to the stand the first witness of scripture, in the trial of Judas Iscariot.  Let us investigate to see what was the REAL reason Judas betrayed Jesus of Nazareth.

Luke 7:36-50: “36 ¶ And one of the Pharisees desired him that he would eat with him. And he went into the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to meat. 37 And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster box of ointment, 38 And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment. 39 Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner. 40 And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on. 41 There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. 42 And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most? 43 Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged. 44 And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head. 45 Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet. 46 My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment. 47 Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little. 48 And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven. 49 And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves, Who is this that forgiveth sins also? 50 And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.”

The event takes place at “the Pharisee’s house.” A woman which “is a sinner” or prostitute came in to the room and began to worship at Jesus feet anointing him with priceless perfume. Jesus who knew all things, including the thoughts and motives in the mind of men perceived what was secretly in the mind of this Pharisee. The Pharisee entertains within his heart a doubting question. “This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner.” Jesus could see what others could not, “the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7. Christ saw the unbelief of this Pharisee as he thought the word “IF.” In a few moments we are going to see that this man’s unbelief is outrageous, and beyond comprehension. He had more than ample evidence that this was the Christ sitting at meat with him.

Christ proceeded to give this Pharisee a rebuke, ““44 And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head. 45 Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet. 46 My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment.” Luke 7:44-46. Jesus had just dishonored the host of this feast. Simon the Pharisee must have grown ashamed in the presence of his guests as Jesus words fell upon the hearers around the table. This is an important piece of the puzzle as we investigate the REAL reason Judas betrayed Jesus. So let’s keep this in mind. Lets now bring to the stand our second witness in the trial of Judas.

Simon had been healed by Christ of Leprosy

“6 ¶ Now when Jesus  was in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper, 7 There came unto him a woman having an alabaster box of very precious ointment, and poured it on his head, as he sat at meat. 8 But when his disciples saw it, they had indignation, saying, To what purpose is this waste? 9 For this ointment might have been sold for much, and given to the poor. 10 When Jesus understood it, he said unto them, Why trouble ye the woman? For she hath wrought a good work upon me. 11 For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always. 12 For in that she hath poured this ointment on my body, she did it for my burial. 13 Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, there shall also this, that this woman hath done, be told for a memorial of her.” Matthew 26:6-13.

What new development comes in our investigation from this witness? This Pharisee is here called, “Simon the leper.” Mosaic Law forbid men to come into the presence of men contaminated with the feared plague of leprosy. When Jesus had healed men of this debilitating and wasting disease He commanded them to “shew thyself to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing, according as Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them.” Luke 5:14. This act allowed these Jewish men who had been healed by Jesus to return to society. Simon the leper is such a man. Simon had been healed of the leprosy. This same man had the nerve to ask the question in his heart, “If!”

Is it possible Simon is one of the lepers mentioned in the Bible that were cleansed by Jesus? It could be. If so He was likely one of the nine who returned not to give God praise.“ 12 And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off: 13 And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us. 14 And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed. 15 And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, 16 And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan. 17 And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? 18 There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger. 19 And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.” Luke 17:12-19.

Mary is the  woman at Jesus Feet, she is sister of Martha and Lazarus.

Now lets call John to the stand in testimony against  Judas. Lets ask John to identify this woman “who was a sinner” at Jesus feet. “It was that Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.” John 11:2. This woman is Mary, the sister of Lazarus. Please tell us John, who else was at this feast the night Judas went out to betray Jesus? “1 ¶ Then Jesus six days before the Passover came to Bethany, where Lazarus was which had been dead, whom he raised from the dead. 2 There they made him a supper; and Martha served: but Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with him.” John 12:1-2.

Simon the Pharisee had been healed of leprosy. Simon was sitting in the presence of one who had been dead just days before. Christ had brought Lazarus back to life just about a day before, in spite of all this Simon still asked with in him self, “If this man were a prophe.” Could it be that Simon was the “rich man” in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus? “ And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.” Luke 16:31.

Mary, Martha, and Lazarus all three siblings were present at this feast. Let us remember the physical activities of Mary and Martha. Mary is at Jesus feet while, her sister served the guests. “Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair” verse 3. At this time, John testifies that, “Martha served” verse 2. Now lets read this in greater detail in Luke’s gospel.

The home this feast took place in belonged to BOTH Simon and Martha

“38 ¶ Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word. 40 But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? Bid her therefore that she help me. 41 And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: 42 But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:38-42.

Two more important facts come to surface here. First lets notice whose home this feast is taking place in. “And he went into the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to meat.” Luke 7:36. “Now when Jesus was in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper” Matthew 26:6.Clearly this story is occurring in Bethany in the home of Simon. Bethany is also the hometown of Mary Martha and Lazarus. “ Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha.” John 11:1.

“ Then Jesus six days before the Passover came to Bethany, where Lazarus was which had been dead, whom he raised from the dead.” John 12:1.  The event of Mary at Jesus feet and Martha busily serving according to Luke happened in Martha’s home “Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house.” Luke 10:38. It was both the home of Simon and the home of Martha. Thus we discover that Simon the Pharisee was a relative i.e. The uncle of Martha, Mary and Lazarus.
Now back to our story…

Judas Iscariot was Simon’s Son!
He was Cousin to Mary, Martha and Lazarus!

Not only had Jesus dishonored and embarrassed Simon the man of the house, He also did the same with Martha the woman of the house. Martha was frantically serving the guests and requested that Jesus bid her sister help her. Jesus said her sister sitting at His feet gave Him a greater blessing that she had in her labors. Martha entered the room, and with her came the taint in the atmosphere of poisonous anger that only a frustrated woman can bring to a room. Following Jesus rebuke to Martha came a rebuke to Simon. Tension is obviously in the air. Now notice the relationship that Judas Iscariot has with Simon and Martha. “Then saith one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, SIMON’S SON, which should betray him,” John 12:4. “Jesus answered, He it is, to whom I shall give a sop, when I have dipped it. And when he had dipped the sop, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, THE SON OF SIMON.” John 13:26

Simon is the father of Judas Iscariot! Judas had witnessed the scenes of his father Simon and cousin Martha being humbled by Jesus of Nazareth’s rebukes. He felt his father’s embarrassment in the presence of their guests as this happened in his own home. He witnessed how he exalted his prostitute cousin above his faithful cousin Martha, and could not remain silent another moment.

“4 Then saith one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, which should betray him, 5 Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor? 6 This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein. 7 Then said Jesus, Let her alone: against the day of my burying hath she kept this. 8 For the poor always ye have with you; but me ye have not always.” John 12:4-8 .

According to the parable of the eleventh hour worker a penny was a days wages. Three hundred pence was three hundred days worth of wages. Greed rose in Judas’s heart as he saw an opportunity fleeing away being poured out in front of his eyes. He coveted his cousin’s gift, which she offered Jesus freely.

Mary had been looked upon as a terrible sinner, but Christ knew the circumstances that had shaped her life. Simon her uncle was the one who had led Mary into sin. It was Simon who threw her at Jesus feet and asked for her to be stoned after he personally arranged for her to be caught in the act. It was no mere coincidence that this woman was caught “in the very act;” rather this was a clever scheme devised by a Pharisee whom Jesus had healed of leprosy. Judas learned all he need to know about betrayal from his own father.

Mary had been forgiven from her act of adultery, and saved from being stoned. Her brother had just been raised from the dead. This joy and the love she felt from the words of Jesus. “Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little. And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven.” Luke 6:47,48. A peace and joy flooded her soul and she could not give enough to share with her the love she felt for the Savior. He had restored to this family her brother from the dead.

At the table the Saviour sat with Simon, whom He had cured of leprosy, on one side, and Lazarus, whom He had raised from the dead, on the other. Martha served at the table, but Mary was earnestly listening to every word from the lips of Jesus. In His mercy, Jesus had pardoned her sins, He had called forth her brother from the grave, and Mary’s heart was full of gratitude.

Amid this scenes of this growing love another heart of hate grew stronger. First Judas’s father had been rebuked, then his cousin, then Judas’s own greed cloaked with a form of righteousness had been rebuked, by Christ. Judas could take it no more. The frustration of all this overwhelmed his mind. Immediately following this scene he sought a way to betray Jesus. His motivation was to get even with the Son of God. He had revenge in his heart as he went to the chief priests seeking a plot to destroy Jesus of Nazareth. When the Priests offered to satisfy his unfulfilled greed the deed was settled in Judas’s mind to betray Jesus.

“6 And Jesus said, Let her alone; why trouble ye her? She hath wrought a good work on me. 7 For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always. 8 She hath done what she could: she is come afore hand to anoint my body to the burying. 9 Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her. 10 And Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve, went unto the chief priests, to betray him unto them. 11 And when they heard it, they were glad, and promised to give him money. And he sought how he might conveniently betray him.” Mark 14:6-11.

This grievous betrayal was portrayed in Scripture. This treachery began in the wickedness of his father’s heart.

In John chapter eight the Pharisees bring a woman caught in the very act of adultery. How did these Pharisees know about this act? Had they not plotted it? Was it not Simon the Pharisee who had arranged for Mary to be committing this act of harlotry that morning fateful morning? Was it not Simon the Pharisee who had his secret plot exposed in the dust of the earth as Jesus wrote out the true circumstances that led to this crime? Christ in His great mercy said to Mary, “Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more?”

Can we not all recognize the love that flowed from Mary’s heart and have this same experience our selves? No wonder she was the one that stood by Jesus mother and John the beloved disciple as Jesus suffered and bled and died on the cross. No wonder she was the first to appear at the tomb Sunday morning. She was the first beheld the risen Savior. A prostitute saved be the grace of God.

Finally brethren, let us consider the REAL reason Judas betrayed Jesus. He was motivated first by his love for his family and their reputation. Secondly by his desire to be elevated in the kingdom. He believed such a move would force the hand of Jesus and cause Him to reveal Himself as King of the Jews., and the Messiah. Thirdly he was motivated by the 30 pieces of silver, after all that was enough money to buy land with! “34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. 35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. 36 And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. 37 He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.” Matthew 10:34-38.

His second motivation that led him to betray Jesus was that of greed.  “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” 1Titus 6:10.

Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” Hebrews 13:5.

Oh if Judas had loved Christ more than his father and cousin, Oh that Judas would of loved Christ and learned to be meek and lowly in heart being content with such things as he had. Oh that he loved his neighbor more than self, and had rejoiced with the angels as he witnessed his cousin repent of her sins and lost sight of the earthly possessions forfeited to serve Christ! May we all do what Judas failed to do.

1 Comment

  • burris says:

    Wow! I missed the bible study but am so glad you posted it on this page. THAT was very interesting….never knew that the reason Judas betrayed Jesus had to do with his pride! Looking forward to more bible studies. Thank you, David!

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