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Good Friday, the day Jesus was nailed to a cross and suffered for our sins. He was handed over to His enemies by one of his closest friends.
Many of us say we'd never do that.
But what drove Judas Iscariot to betray his Savior?
"Why did Judas turn against Jesus and promise to betray Him? After all, he had been one of Jesus' 12 disciples, and he had heard His teaching and seen His miracles. It just doesn't make sense," one reader asked Billy Graham.
And Graham responded:
No, what Judas did doesn't make sense; evil never does. Yes, he had been with Jesus throughout His ministry, seeing firsthand the evidence that Jesus was indeed the Son of God. How could he turn his back on it?
And yet Judas deliberately rejected the evidence. Instead, he secretly sought out some who were opposed to Jesus, and promised to lead them to the place where Jesus and His disciples were staying. In return they paid him 30 pieces of silver (worth about four months' wages)—and one night he carried out his promise, revealing in the darkness which one was Jesus by greeting Him with a kiss.
Immediately they seized Jesus and took Him away to be condemned to death.
What motivated Judas? Was it greed, as some have suggested? That may have been part of it; the Bible tells us he secretly stole some of the money people gave to support Jesus and His disciples. Was it because he wanted Jesus to gain political power, but became disillusioned because he realized it wasn't going to happen? Again, this may have been in his mind.
But the real reason is much deeper. Evil had gripped his soul, and instead of facing it and repenting of it, he allowed it to fester and grow. Tragically, the same can happen to us. During this Easter season, face honestly your need of Christ, and open your heart and life to Him. His invitation is for you: "Come to me, all you who labor and are heavily burdened, and I will give you rest" (Matt. 11:28).
Jessilyn Justice is the director of online news for Charisma. Born and raised in a pastor's family in Alabama, she went to Lee University and the Washington Journalism Center. She's passionate sharing God's goodness through storytelling. Tell her what you think of this story on Twitter @jessilynjustice.
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