“Then Judas, His betrayer, seeing that He had been condemned, was remorseful and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, ‘I have sinned by betraying innocent blood’ ” (Matthew 27:3, 4).
He has been called one of history’s greatest traitors because his actions were responsible for the deaths of nearly half a million of his own countrymen. Alfred Redl was an Austrian officer who headed up Austria-Hungary’s counter-intelligence efforts. He became one of the leading figures of pre-World War I espionage and was known to use new technology to capture foreign agents.
But the skilled spy fell into his own trap and began working for the Russians. He was paid quite well by the Tsarist government for sharing Austrian-Hungarian military secrets. For ten years he became Russia’s leading spy. When Austria planned to invade Serbia, Redl shared “Plan III” with the Russians who then informed the Serbian military command. It led to a massive slaughter of Redl’s own countrymen. When Redl was finally exposed, he committed suicide.
Perhaps the most famous betrayal in history belongs to Judas Iscariot, a disciple who sold his Master for just thirty pieces of silver. Judas was the only native of Judea among the apostles; all the others came from Galilee. He was the treasurer for the disciples and apparently had a bright future.
But Judas’ ideas for Christ to become King of the Jews were continually side-tracked by Jesus’ own words. He was continually disappointed in Christ’s actions to avoid public acclaim. His frustrations finally came to a head at the Last Supper when he decided to force Christ to act against the Jewish leaders. The strategy backfired. When he realized Jesus would not resist His captors, he acknowledged his wrong.
Judas was remorseful but not repentant. He felt bad for being caught as a traitor but was more concerned for himself than for Christ. His guilty heart prompted a confession that led him, not to the foot of the cross, but to the end of a rope.
Dear Jesus, may every word I speak and my every action show complete loyalty to You.
For Further Study: Matt. 26:14-25, 47-56; 27:3–10; Jn. 13:18–30; 18:1–5