The worst exchange of all was thirty pieces of silver for the life of Christ.
Thirty pieces of silver for the creator of the universe. Thirty pieces of silver for the savior of the world. Thirty pieces of silver for the only begotten Son of God. It was a bargain to say the least. Thirty pieces of silver bought freedom for us, but total devastation for the man who did the deal.
How could he have done this? How could you walk with Jesus for three years and deliver Him up to His enemies to die in the end? How could you listen to His words, observe His miracles, feel His love, and still betray Him? How could you be that close and not know Him and love Him for who He was? Judas must have had some huge resentment building in him for a long time that turned him into a bitter, bitter man. Why else would he have done this? This didn’t just come on him from nowhere — “Oh, I think I’ll betray Jesus today.” No, this is the work of the evil one over time. Judas sold his soul for a lot more than 30 pieces of silver. He must have thought he was getting more than this.
Actually, Judas was already on a slippery slope. When, earlier, at the home of Lazarus, Mary had anointed the feet of Jesus with expensive perfume, Judas had objected: “‘Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.’ He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it” (John 12:4-6).
Why do you suppose God put Judas into His story? Did He want us to reflect on how we betray the Lord in our own lives and for what? What is the price of our betrayal? Did He want us to understand how you can be so near and yet so far away? Did He want us to realize we will have evil in our midst and not know it?
It’s true that Jesus could have gotten rid of Judas a lot earlier. Certainly He knew what was brewing in his soul, yet He did nothing about it. Maybe this was a part of reality He wanted us all to realize is a part of life. Jesus’ little group of followers had everything, including an enemy in their midst. Life is like that.