"And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver."
Judas wasn't just some man that decided to turn the Lord over to those seeking his death. He was one of the twelve chosen apostles. One of those men closest to Jesus, who spent time with him daily, serving and being taught. I find it hard to imagine that someone so close to the Savior could betray him.
But if we look, we can see signs that Judas' wasn't entirely focused on the things Jesus taught. An incident in John relates that a woman brought some costly ointment that she used to anoint Jesus' feet. Judas was upset, saying the ointment should have been sold and the money given to the poor. At first this seems like a charitable idea, until John points out that Judas' concern was more for the money and not for the poor. He calls his fellow apostle a "thief."
Yet, he had still seen the miracles. He knew that Jesus was innocent, even claimed to love him. So why would he betray him? Perhaps he didn't fully understand Jesus' mission. Maybe he really did believe that Jesus was the Son of God. And maybe he believed that he could make some money off the Jews, and, because Jesus was the Messiah, he could easily protect himself from his enemies and no harm would come of it.
Judas didn't start to get scared until after Jesus was condemned. Once he saw that Jesus wasn't going to free himself, Judas returned the money to the Jewish leaders. Then, knowing what he had done, knowing he was powerless to change it, and unable to live with that knowledge, Judas hung himself.
Judging and condemning Judas is easy--he betrayed the Son of God! But how often are we like Judas? Are there times we say, "I really want this item. I can't afford it, but if I pay my tithing I think things will be okay." or "The Lord will forgive me if I go to this concert. I know it's on Sunday, but it's my all-time favorite band."?
Do we betray him in little ways?