On his way to betray Jesus to the chief priests, Judas may have said to himself, “I am not betraying Him. Nothing of the kind. If I was handing Him over to be killed, that would be betrayal. If I personally stabbed Him, that would be betrayal. But all I am doing is telling some people who are looking for Him where they can find Him. I am not even breaking any laws. How is it breaking the law to tell one person where another person is? If I told Jesus where the chief priests and temple guards were, would I be betraying the chief priests? Obviously not. Neither is it betrayal to tell the chief priests where Jesus is.
In order for it to be betrayal, there would have to be some risk of Jesus actually getting caught. But Jesus has slipped the hands of people trying to arrest Him before. I have seen it with my own eyes. Am even if they do catch Him, can the Man who walks on water not also walk out of jail cell? He can restore the dead to life, and if He is imprisoned, I am sure He can restore Himself to free society, as well. The only way Jesus is going to get caught is if He allows Himself to get caught, which He’s never done before. In the end, telling the chief priests where Jesus is might create a little hassle for us, but nothing we haven’t been through before. What are the chief priests going to do to Him? Rough Him up, perhaps. Lie to the Romans about something— have Him fined, sixty days in jail, at worst. And that’s assuming they can even get Him.
I will tell them where He is, but actually getting the cuffs on Him is their job. I seriously doubt that will happen. And what will be the upside of it all? At least 100 pieces of silver. Probably more. Probably closer to 200. They will pay me out of the treasury, and I am quite sure that it’s overflowing at this time of year. I’ll drive a hard bargain. I’ll demand 300 pieces of silver. That will go far in making up for all the money we lost earlier this today. Honestly, why didn’t that woman ask one of us first if she could clean the Master’s feet? It was very kind of Jesus to stick up for her when I pointed out how much it was worth. He didn’t want her to feel bad for doing something naïve.
With 300 pieces of silver, I can replace all the money I’ve taken out in the last year. Not that anyone ever notices. I am the best educated one of the bunch— the only one who knows enough to keep a ledger, receipts, and do arithmetic. That’s why they gave me the task of keeping the purse. I have sacrificed more than anyone else to follow the Master. Of all 12 of us, I’m the only one who left behind a really lucrative job. I’m the only one who can tell the difference between a Sauvignon blanc and a Gewürztraminer, for God’s sake. If I take a little out of the purse from time to time for a decent drink or a better meal, what’s that to Thomas or Bart? It’s a fraction of a fraction of what I could be making back home.
Everyone has their own special little consolations, and a little better food every so often is mine. If the Master made me privy to everything James and John and Peter get to know, I could be content with that. And Andrew probably gets to hear everything from his brother, so he knows all the juicy business. The Master knows I take a little out from time to time. I am sure He has seen me do it. Besides, this is a Man who knows what everyone is thinking. He can read me like a book. He’s fine with what I do. He doesn’t care about money. I’m sure He doesn’t care about a coin here or a coin there.
With this 300 pieces of silver, I am going to get some good wine and good cheese for the festival. I’ll repay the 90 I owe, put an additional 90 in the common purse, and with the 140 left, I’m going all out for this festival. When you’re in Jerusalem, you’ve got to live it up. I might even stay behind a few days after everyone else leaves.
I’m kind of like the shrewd manager in the story the Master tells. That’s why I am not telling Jesus about this little scheme of mine. I am going to net the Master a huge profit with my cunning. I’ll repay my debts. I’m not going to bury my talent in the ground. While the Master is away, I’m going to get a huge return for Him. After He slips the grasp of the temple guards, I’ll show Jesus how much I got and He’ll say, “That was shrewd,” and the others will be jealous they didn’t think of anything so cunning. Sons of Thunder. I’ll get a better nickname than that. Clever Judas. Or Crafty Judas. That’s what they’ll call me.”