For my part, I do not see that there is anything in the Scripture narrative, simply interpreted, to bear out the hypothesis that his motives were mistaken zeal and affection for Christ and a desire to force Him to the avowal of His Messiahship.  One can scarcely suppose zeal so strangely perverted as to begin by betrayal and, if the object was to make our Lord speak out His claims, the means adopted were singularly ill-chosen.  The story, as it stands, naturally suggests a much less far-fetched explanation.

Judas was, simply, a man of a low earthly nature who became a follower of Christ thinking that He was to prove a Messiah of the vulgar type, or another Judas Maccabaeus.  He was not attracted to Christ’s character and teaching.  As the true nature of Christ’s work and kingdom became more obvious, he became more weary of Him and it.  The closest proximity to Jesus Christ made eleven enthusiastic disciples, but it made one traitor.  No man could live near Him for three years without coming to hate Him if he did not love Him.  Then, as ever, He was “set for the fall and for the rise of many.”  He was the “savor of life unto life or of death unto death.”Alexander Maclaren (1826-1910), from a meditation on Matthew 27.4, 24.

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