Some people are always trying to suggest that Judas was not so bad. Maybe he only betrayed Jesus in order to push him to get started saving Israel. They point to the fact that, when Jesus was condemned to death, Judas regretted what he had done. Of course, this just makes him more prideful than pure evil, to think that Jesus needed to be pushed along by Judas. We hear today that Judas was indeed greedy. Whether he had intended for Jesus’ arrest to be the beginning of something greater or not, Judas was the kind of person who stole money from the poor. Judas was greedy. The thirty pieces of silver were all the temptation he needed.
What we hear about the chief priests is truly horrible. Sometimes it is suggested of them as well that they only arrested Jesus in order to encourage him to act more like the Messiah. Others say that they were only fulfilling the law. No matter how people try to justify their actions toward Jesus, the suggestion at the end of the Gospel today that they were planning on killing Lazarus shows that they were bad men. They were willing to kill a man because he was living proof of the power of Jesus Christ. They wanted to hide the works of Jesus Christ. How corrupt does a person have to be, to be willing to kill someone to hide the fact that he had risen from the dead?
Perhaps Judas just began by “borrowing” a little money from the money bag. Perhaps he began to take a small percentage of each donation as a “fee” for handling. I would expect that he had all sorts of ways of justifying what he did, but he eventually became the sort of person who reprimands others for not making donations to the poor (which he intends to steal) and who would sell his friend for 30 pieces of silver. Perhaps the chief priests began with legitimate doubts about whether Jesus was the Christ. Perhaps they even made up lies about him to “help” the uneducated people see that he was not. I expect that they could justify lying and hiding the truth, but today they are willing to kill a man for no better reason than that he used to be dead. We learn today that Judas and the chief priests were scoundrels. Nothing can justify the crimes they are accused of today.