Q. Since we’re in the Easter season, a thought occurred to me. What was Judas’ motive to betray Jesus? It certainly couldn’t be just the 30 pieces of silver. What did he stand to gain (in his mind) by betraying the Lord?
A. The Bible isn’t clear on this, and like you I don’t believe that money was his main motive.
I’ve read several opinions and the one I like best is that he tried very hard to get Jesus to be more accommodating toward the religious leaders. He was the only Judean among the disciples (all the rest were from Galilee) so he might have felt a special responsibility to help make peace with the establishment in Jerusalem, being acquainted with some of them through his family. The theory is that he believed if he could just get Jesus to sit down and talk with them, they could resolve their differences.
If true it was a lofty goal, but it also showed that he didn’t really know who Jesus was. And when he discovered that the Jewish leadership had taken advantage of his friendship and used him to betray Jesus, it was more than he could bear. Satan often works this way, convincing us that we’re doing great things while in fact we’re really working against God’s will, and then leaving us broken and despondent when we discover what we’ve done.