What was Judas' motive for betrayal?

by JustTickledPink 16 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • JustTickledPink

    Not getting into any specific Bible scriptures, just thinking about Jesus and his friends all hanging out when Judas decides to betray him. What would the motive be?

    Do you think that Judas was really that hard up financially and wanted the money? Maybe he didn't really believe what he was preaching and decided this was an easy way to get rid of him.

    Also, why would the Romans actually need Judas to KISS him to indentify Jesus? Wasn't he so popular in Jerusalem that everyone knew who he was? I start thinking about that kiss like the Mafia kiss in the Godfather, full on the lips, as a sign that you were going to be killed.

    Another thing, before the betrayal Jesus said someone would betray him? How did he know that? If he was Divine, did he make that happen? OR did Jesus really do something against Judas and he knew he was going to get back at him?

    Then after he's in custody all his followers and the Jews are outside when the Romans hold out either Judas or their convicted murderer and they pick the murderer to be released. WHY? Had Jesus lost his popularity at this point? Why did they people not want him anymore?

    I know everyone says Jesus had to die for our sins, but if you start thinking about his death and the circumstances around it more like a CSI episode and start questioning WHY everything played out like it did, it doesn't seem to make sense.

  • AlmostAtheist

    Always bothered me, too.

    I saw a Life of Jesus-type movie once that suggested Judas thought the betrayal would force Jesus to stand up and take control. Sort of like Jesus was meant to be king and he just needed a little kick in the pants to get him to accept his role.

    I don't think the money could be argued as the motive, though I recall a Watchtower picture of Judas appearing to hungrily accept the money, as if that was his motive. I suppose it's still possible, people do funny things.

    The Bible's full of stories of people doing stuff like this, though. Israel supposedly saw the Red Sea parted, then the very next day started sinning against the God that did it. Moses supposedly took credit for getting water from the rock. Lot offered his daughters as sex-slaves rather than see some total strangers have to fend for themselves in a sex-mad crowd. The story of a guy that follows the Messiah for 3 years, then betrays him for a DVD and a pack of gum actually fits pretty well, in context of the whole book.


  • metatron

    The best explanation I ever heard for Judas' betrayal came from a psychic who claimed that Judas was simply

    trying to force Jesus into performing as the Messiah. He saw Jesus perform miracles and figured that , if pushed into it,

    Jesus would manifest himself as the promised deliverer and lead them to victory.


  • under74

    Yeah, I've often thought about the whole Judas thing.

    What would the motive be?

    Well, there we're a lot of people preaching at the time...maybe he came to think Jesus was just another? Or he was scared, it's only human nature to want/try to save yourself. And afterall, he was with a group up against the Romans.

    why would the Romans actually need Judas to KISS him to indentify Jesus? Wasn't he so popular in Jerusalem that everyone knew who he was?

    I don't know. I don't know that Jesus was actually as popular as many say....Jesus was a common name in that region and time as far as I know. It's always possible that the "kiss" is a myth. I mean think about it and why it was so popular in The Godfather....it's poetic.

    Why did they people not want him anymore?
    I may be repeating but, I'm not sure Jesus was as popular before his death as he was after.
  • Narkissos

    First of all, is there any history behind the Gospel stories?

    The Passion narratives are fairly inconsistent on many issues. Sticking to Judas (whose name, Ioudas, strongly reminds of the word "Jew," Ioudaios; which might be the true origin of his literary character), no motive is apparent in the oldest Gospel, Mark: Judas is offered money after he decides to "betray" Jesus. Only in Matthew is greed suggested, as Judas asks for money. In John, an accusation of theft is added.

    In Matthew Judas finally doesn't keep the money and commits suicide. In Acts (Luke) he keeps the money, buys a field and suffers a violent death. The other Gospels do not tell anything about his fate.

    All the other questions you raise point to some of the many inconsistencies of the Gospels: is Jesus known or not by the Jerusalem authorities? Which ones? If he is, what's the use of Judas' kiss? If he is not, why do they want to arrest him in the first place?

    If this is just a story, the Gospels explanation remains the best imo: the devil made him do it, triggering his (the devil's) own disaster. But of course we're not talking about "true history" anymore.

  • Billygoat


    Have you ever seen the movie "Last Temptation of Christ"? I highly recommend it. It really touched me and changed some of my views about Christ and his relationship with Judas. I saw Judas in a different light. You'll be surprised.


  • Golf
  • Golf

    If you lived in my community, you'll understand what motivates people to betray others.

  • Leolaia

    This is an interesting question, and you might be interested in a recent thread currently active on the rediscovery of the lost Gospel of Judas:


    From what little we know about it, we know it basically claimed that Judas' motive was not greed but an understanding of his role in salvation history and that he was chosen to accomplish the mystery of the betrayal so that the evil powers of the world would be overthrown by Jesus' crucifixion.

    As to the question of historicity, most of the NT material on Judas can be traced to OT models, this includes the name and role as betrayer, the pieces of silver, the location of the arrest scene, the kiss, Peter's attack on the slave, and the gory details of Judas' death in Acts. In many of these examples, the very wording appears to have been influenced by the Greek version of OT texts. I can post this info if anyone wants to read it...

    Judas' death was also the subject of much early Christian oral storytelling...as Papias (early second century AD) gives a very disgusting legendary description of Judas before he died (such as saying that he urinated worms and puss), which also attempts to harmonize the Markan account of Judas' hanging with the account in Acts.

  • what_Truth?

    I think you have to look at the gospel writer's background to figure it out. Matthew was a tax collector so naturally he'd figure that Judas killed Jesus for the money (although by all accounts Judas received his 30 sheckles on GP). Luke was a doctor and therefor took a less cynical more humanist point of view. In all honesty I don't think any of the aspostles had much to do with him after he killed their Lord and Savior. I mean who would?

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