The Disciples: Judas Iscariot

Judas Iscariot is the most reviled of the 12 disciples, after all he was the one who betrayed Jesus.

The name Judas is Hebrew and means praise or the praised one, while Iscariot is Greek and means man from Kerioth. Today the name means traitor.

We are told early in the gospel accounts that Judas betrayed Jesus.  “Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him.”  {Matthew 10:4; see also Mark 3:19, Luke 6:16}

Jesus foretold of his betrayal.  Jesus has been speaking in the temple and turns to his disciples quoting their disbelief. He tells them that some of them do not believe in him.

“Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil? He spake of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon: for he it was that should betray him, being one of the twelve.”  {John 6:70-71}

Jesus knows who will betray him and of this disciples unbelief. However, Jesus tells that he was choisen for a reason.

Judas betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver

We also discover Judas Iscariot is the son of Simon, although we know nothing more about Simon.

“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}

Again, Judas is showing his disbelief. He is wondering why someone would waste money on an oinment.  We also discover he is over the money bag, a thief and does not care for the poor.

Maybe anger has seeped into his heart by this time, because he decides to betray Jesus.

“Then entered Satan into Judas surnamed Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve. And he went his way, and communed with the chief priests and captains, how he might betray him unto them. And they were glad, and covenanted to give him money. And he promised, and sought opportunity to betray him unto them in the absence of the multitude.”  {Luke 22:3-6}

We are told Satan has entered into Judas Iscariot and he goes to the chief priest to betray Jesus.  He is paid money for his betrayal.

Jesus foretells of his death

“And Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve, went unto the chief priests, to betray him unto them.”  {Mark 14:10}

Judas has betrayed Jesus, but now he is waiting for the opportunity to betray Jesus.  He is in the upper room with Jesus and the other disciples.  Again, we are told the devil has entered into his heart.  The writers of the gospels feels it is very important to note his parentage, as it is mentioned three times in scripture.

“And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him;”   {John 13:2}

The disciples are reclining at supper and Jesus breaks the bread and tells of the coming betrayal.

“Jesus answered, He it is, to whom I shall give a sop, when I have dipped it. And when he had dipped the sop, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. And after the sop Satan entered into him. Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly. Now no man at the table knew for what intent he spake this unto him. For some of them thought, because Judas had the bag, that Jesus had said unto him, Buy those things that we have need of against the feast; or, that he should give something to the poor.”  {John 13:26-29}

Judas left the upper room to betray Jesus

Notice the other disciples do not understand what is happening or what Jesus means.  They seem to believe Judas has gone to purchase more supplies because he controls the money. However, Judas knows what he has done.  He turns to Jesus.

“Then Judas, which betrayed him, answered and said, Master, is it I? He said unto him, Thou hast said.”  {Matthew 26:25}

Jesus tells him that he has said it and Judas leaves the group. He knows the plans and where Jesus, having been there with Jesus and the other disciples,  will be and finds the elders and Pharisees to take them to Jesus.

“And Judas also, which betrayed him, knew the place: for Jesus ofttimes resorted thither with his disciples. Judas then, having received a band of men and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, cometh thither with lanterns and torches and weapons… They answered him, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus saith unto them, I am he. And Judas also, which betrayed him, stood with them.” {John 18:2-5}

Judas took the Pharisees to Jesus

“And while he yet spake, lo, Judas, one of the twelve, came, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and elders of the people.”  {Matthew 26:47, Mark 14:43}

Judas comes with the chief priest and elders, and soldiers, who are there to arrest Jesus.  But the disciples are there and Judas needs a way to signify which man is Jesus.

“And while he yet spake, behold a multitude, and he that was called Judas, one of the twelve, went before them, and drew near unto Jesus to kiss him. But Jesus said unto him, Judas, betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss?”  {Luke 22:47-48}

Hence the term, betrayed with a kiss.  Judas kissed him to symbolize which man is Jesus.

“Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders,”  {Matthew 27:3}

Jesus has been arrest, tried and crucified. When Judas realizes what he has done, he regrets his actions.  He takes the silver and returns it to the chief priests.  However, it’s too late to save Jesus from his fate.  At least Judas thinks so, not remembering the Messiah’s promise to rise again. 

Judas is distraught by his actions and could not live with what he’d done.

“And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself….And they took counsel, and bought with them the potter’s field, to bury strangers in. Wherefore that field was called, The field of blood, unto this day. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying, And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him that was valued, whom they of the children of Israel did value;”  {Matthew 27:5-9}

Judas betrayed Jesus with a kiss

Judas hung himself.  His body was buried in a potter’s field and with his death, the prophecy from Jeremiah has been fulfilled.

Peter speaks of Judas one last time in the upper room.  “Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus. For he was numbered with us, and had obtained part of this ministry. Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out. And it was known unto all the dwellers at Jerusalem; insomuch as that field is called in their proper tongue, Aceldama, that is to say, The field of blood. For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishoprick let another take.”  {Acts 1:16-20}

Whether Judas hung himself and then fell in the midst of the act is unknown, but what is clear is that his death was brutal and painful. As we are told in Matthew, he is buried in a potter’s field which became known as the field of blood. 

Whether this was Judas land he’d purchased or a field other’s purchased is debated, however it is clear no one else would dwell there.  The place was desolate and cursed.

Judas hung himself

Jesus foretold of the terrible death to the one who would betray him.  “For I must die just as was prophesied, but woe to the man by whom I am betrayed. Far better for that one if he had never been born.” Judas, too, had asked him, “Rabbi, am I the one?” And Jesus had told him, “Yes.””  {Matthew 26:24-25}

Jesus promises that woe will follow the one who betrays him.

“While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.”  {John 17:12}

Judas is not mentioned by name, but called the son of perdition. The word perdition means eternal punishment and damnation.

From scripture, Satan overcame Judas Iscariot for the scripture to be fulfilled, but my betraying Jesus, Judas was facing eternal punishment.

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