Then one of the twelve, whose name was Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “What will you give me if I deliver him over to you?” And they paid him thirty pieces of silver. And from that moment he sought an opportunity to betray him.
When it was evening, he reclined at table with the twelve. And as they were eating, he said, “Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” And they were very sorrowful and began to say to him one after another, “Is it I, Lord?” He answered, “He who has dipped his hand in the dish with me will betray me. The Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.” Judas, who would betray him, answered, “Is it I, Rabbi?” He said to him, “You have said so.”
A modern day theory purports that Judas was merely forcing Jesus' hand because he wanted Jesus to overthrow the reign of Rome over the Jews. I admit that the theory seems palatable until you read this account where Judas takes money for the betrayal. I may be wrong but when someone gets paid to betray a close friend they prove themselves to be no friend at all.. and their motives do not seem noble at all.. in fact their intentions seem a bit sleazy and not ideological at all. Judas must have been sleeping when Jesus was teaching.
Even so, I wonder what it would have been like sharing a meal with close friends and hear the Lord announce that a betrayer was seated at the table. The reactions of the disciples is so telling - none of them, save one, had a clue what that betrayal would look like. I imagine most of them felt that the betrayal meant that they would commit a sin.. but no one.. no one could imagine that one of their own would betray Jesus to the religious elders that Jesus consistently rebuked. No one, except a greedy man with bad intentions.
As the song goes, my heart is prone to wander. Lord, lead me back to you when I stray.