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Mar 9, 2021

Why Judas Betrayed Jesus

Dr. Edward Sri

How can someone so close to Jesus suddenly turn away from him and betray him? Judas’ tragic betrayal of Jesus reminds us that sin always begins in the heart. Dr. Sri offers us various possible explanations for Judas’ betrayal of Jesus and teaches us how to avoid turning away from Christ.

Snippet from the Show

“The betrayal of Jesus started in the heart of Judas first.”


Shownotes

The Betrayal of Jesus

Judas followed Jesus for three years, he watched Jesus perform miracles and heard his teachings. Judas was also one of the twelve apostles,  who was called to make disciples of all the nations. Judas was a close friend of Jesus,  so how could he have possibly betrayed him? Was it just for money? Or was there something else? Could the same thing happen to us?

While Judas is clearly depicted as the primary antagonist in the gospels, we have to remember that Jesus had many enemies. The Pharisees and the Saduccees both worked together to take Jesus down. They thought he was a dangerous false prophet and plotted against him. Judas then freely chose to cooperate with them and help them lead Jesus to his death. 

It is clear that money played a role in Judas’ betrayal of Jesus. Judas was the treasurer of the twelve apostles, but he was also a thief and greedy man. He was a man lacking great character because he stole money that should have been given to the poor. It’s also important to note that Judas was an outsider because he was not from Galilee.He also could have possibly been part of a revolt movement because Isacriot comes from Greek word- Sikarios. These factors could have played a role in Judas’ betrayal of Jesus. However, there must have been something more at the core of his betrayal. The betrayal of Jesus started in the heart of Judas first. 

“ There must also be an interior failure before they can be an outward one.”

– Fulton Sheen

We learn that after Jesus’ Bread of Life discourse, many disciples left Jesus and the crowds abandoned him because they couldn’t accept the teaching about the Eucharist. In John 6:71-72, Jesus foreshadows Judas’ betrayal. He may have suspected that Judas had doubts about the Eucharist at this point.

After this many of his disciples drew back and no longer went about with him.  Jesus said to the twelve, “Will you also go away?”  Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life;  and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the twelve, and one of you is a devil?” He spoke of Judas the son of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the twelve, was to betray him.

– John 6:66-71

Since the Bread of Life discourse was unpopular, it is possible that Judas grew disillusioned in his interior. Right before the Bread of Life discourse, we learn that Jesus had just performed an amazing miracle- the multiplication of loaves and fishes. Due to his miracle, the crowds honored him and wanted to make him their king. It is possible that Judas was drawn to the idea of Jesus becoming a political figure of great eminence after the miracle. He may have grown attached to this new prospect because he thought he could benefit from Christ’s political kingship. Perhaps during the Bread of Life discourse, Judas grew frustrated with Jesus and rejected the gift of the Eucharist in his heart because he knew it was driving many people away. Perhaps it was this interior failure that led to Judas’ decision to betray Jesus. We ultimately know that Judas was more ambitious for himself than he was for Christ. 

Practical Tips

In order to avoid suddenly turning away from Christ, here are some practical tools:

  1. Remain humble. Don’t take your faith for granted, remember that it is a huge gift. 
  2. Ask Jesus to keep you close to him. Never assume that you will always be perfectly faithful to Christ. 
  3. Always trust the Church’s teachings and doctrine even though you may not fully understand them. Trust God. 
  4. Do not seek approval or applause from this world. We  should only care about the praise of the angels and the saints. 

No Greater Love LIVE with Dr. Edward Sri

Dr. Edward Sri will be leading a virtual study of No Greater Love: A Biblical Walk Through Christ’s Passion Bible every Wednesday starting February 24, 2021!

The LIVE sessions will take place every Wednesday at 8:00 pm Eastern Standard Time for 6 weeks.

Each LIVE lesson will be free on Facebook, but they will be based upon the associated study videos, so it is highly recommended to watch the study videos before each livestream! You can access the study videos by purchasing the study set or online only access. Click here to learn more!

Resources


Meet Your Host: Dr. Edward Sri

Dr. Sri is a theologian and the author of several best-selling books. He holds a doctorate from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome. A founding leader of the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS), Dr. Sri currently serves as its vice president of formation. He appears regularly on EWTN and resides in Colorado with his wife, Elizabeth, and their eight children.

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