Judas Iscariot

Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Jesus, was  the one of the twelve disciples.  Who was he?  What were his motives?  What went wrong?  Is there any hope for him?

Judas is a common name in the Bible, but there has been speculation about the meaning of "Iscariot" - it's been thought to be associated with a word "sicarii" who were a band of dagger-wielding assassins, hence Judas becoming the odd one out among the disciples, having ulterior motives in joining the band of disciples.  However it is much more likely that the name "Iscariot" comes from the Hebrew "ish qerioth" = "man of, or from, Kerioth"

We see from his character that he was the odd man out among the disciples - he was a thief, ands stole from the common funds of Jesus and the other disciples:

"Then saith one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, which should betray him,Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor?This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein." (John 12:4-6)

He also displayed meanness of spirit when Mary anointed the feet of Jesus with the costly spikenard  ointment (Matthew 26:6-13).

It seems strange that Jesus should have chosen the man who was to betray him to be one of his disciples - wouldn't he have known who Judas was and what kind of man he was, and avoided choosing him?

"...and ye are clean, but not all. For he knew who should betray him..." (John 13:10,11)

No, Jesus didn't make a mistake, because he prayed before he chose them:

"And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to prau, and continued all night in prayer to God.  And when it was day, he called unto him his discples: and he chose twelve, whom also he names apostles" (Luke 6:12,13)

He also  knew that Scripture had predicted that one of his own disciples would betray him (compare Psalm 69:25 with Acts 1:20):

"Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me. " (Psalm 41:9)

Judas unwittingly fulfilled Scripture when he arranged, for a sum of money, to betray Jesus to the Jewish authorities.  His cooperation  was necessary so that he could tell the Jewish leaders exactly where Jesus would be at a specific time on that fateful night.  Perhaps he by now realised Jesus wasn't there and then going to set up his Kingdom, and acted out of disappointment.

"And Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve, went unto the chief priests, to betray him unto them. And when they heard it, they were glad, and promised to give him money.  And he sought how he might conveniently betray him." (Mark 14:10,11)

At some point he regretted what he had done, but mistakenly thought he could not be forgiven such a heinous crime.  He tried to pay back the blood money he had been paid by the leaders.  He was truly "the son of perdition" = "loss, or waste":

"...and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled." (John 17:12). 

The Jews refused to accept back the money so Judas threw it into the Temple.  Sanctimoneously the Jews utilised the money to buy a field in Judas's name, to be used "to bury strangers".  The field became known as "The field of blood" - a sad memorial to "the son of perdition.", who subsequently hanged himself.

"And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself." (Matt.27:5)

We have tried to show what the Bible says about Judas Isacariot.  You can do this for other Biblical characters by reading the word of God, and listening to what He has to say.  We have a FREE Bible Reading Course to help you with this.


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