Why did Judas betray Jesus?
The most obvious answer, based on what Mark tells us with what happened with the anointing of Jesus with perfume at Bethany, and based on what Mark tells us about Judas - "They were delighted to hear this (that Judas would betray Jesus) and promised to give him money" - is because he was greedy.
But I am not so sure it's as obvious and simple as that.
I have a hard time with how a disciple who loved Jesus enough to leave everything to follow Him could give Him up for some lousy pieces of silver.
I can only conjecture, but Judas must have been one frustrated and disappointed disciple. He left everything to follow Jesus and all this talk about being put to death and dying must have totally disillusioned him. "What do you mean dying? Dude, I left friends, family, a promising career in accounting to follow you. You're supposed to liberate our people from the tyranny and the oppression of the Romans. You are supposed to be king. So stop it with this crazy talk of going to Jerusalem to be handed over. If that's what's going to happen, we should be preparing our followers for war. You are more popular now than ever before. We might have enough support to mount a challenge to the Roman army."
Judas had to have been very disillusioned with the talk of dying by Jesus.
Also, I do not think Judas knew what the full implications of his actions would be. I don't think he had any idea that it would lead to the crucifixion and the death. He must have believed that with a guy who could walk on water and feed the multitudes, and raise the dead - that such a Jesus would be able to overthrow a Roman guard. I don't think he had any clue that it would end this way. Had he known what damage and impact his betrayal would be to Jesus, I don't think he would have done it.
But that's the way it is with us too. If we only knew the devastating consequences of rejecting Jesus and His absolute best plan for us, we would never do it.
- We would never cheat on our spouse if we only knew how devastating that would be to our families.
- We would never mess around with porn if we only knew the devastating consequence to our marriages and families.
- We would never mess around with drugs if we only knew the devastating consequence.
- We would never mess around with promiscuity if we only knew the devastating consequences.
And the saddest part of this story is, Judas never stuck around to see how his story and betrayal would continue. He never stuck around for the resurrection and the hope for renewal.
And even if we've messed around and messed things up royally, remember the resurrection. God is the God who is for renewals. He is risen! He is risen indeed! And that means, no matter what's happened in our past, we all have hope!