Pastor Billy Graham (Photo: BGEA)
World-renowned pastor Billy Graham said that Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus Christ for 30 pieces of silver because of his “unbelief” and interest only in himself, and that because of his self-inflicted death, whereby he lost everything, Judas “stands forever as a warning of the dangers of stubborn unbelief.”
In a Q&A section on faith, published in the Kansas City Star, a reader asked Rev. Graham, “I’ve never really understood why Judas betrayed Jesus. After all, he witnessed Jesus’ miracles and heard his teaching just like the other disciples, and yet he ended up turning against him. It just doesn’t make sense.”
Billy Graham said, “No, it doesn’t make sense, just as most evil doesn’t make sense. Why deliberately do something we know is wrong, when — if we’d only stop to think about it — we also know it will destroy us? The Bible says, ‘Do not … be envious of the wicked, for the evildoer has no future'” (Proverbs 24:19-20).
“Judas’ real problem was that he was interested only in himself and what he could gain by following Jesus,” said Rev. Graham. “Instead of committing his life to Jesus, he allowed greed and envy to rule his heart and mind. His unbelief fed his greed, and his greed fed his unbelief.”
“When Jesus’ enemies offered 30 pieces of silver to anyone who would disclose where Jesus was staying so they could arrest him secretly, Judas readily agreed,” said the pastor.
“Judas stands forever as a warning of the dangers of stubborn unbelief,” said Rev. Graham. “And in the end, Judas lost everything, even his life.”
Artist’s illustration of Judas
betraying Jesus with a kiss.
Billy Graham continued, “Some of the most tragic words in the Bible are these, ‘So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself’ (Matthew 27:5). Make sure of your commitment to Jesus, for he alone is worthy of your life.”
Billy Graham, 97, is one of the most well known and respected evangelical preachers of the last 60 years. His gospel preaching reportedly has reached about 2.2 billion people worldwide over the years. He has five children and lives, now retired, at his home in Montreat, N.C. His wife, Ruth Bell Graham, died in 2007.
This Q&A on the Bible can also be read at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.