Judas in the Gospels
by Rod Jackson

"Jesus answered them, `Did I Myself not choose you, the twelve [disciples], and yet one of you is a devil?' Now He meant Judas the son of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the twelve, was going to betray Him. [Jesus]" John 6:70 & 71

All verses are quoted from the NASB anything in [square brackets] is added by me for clarity.

"Jesus, therefore, six days before the Passover, came to Bethany where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. So they made Him a supper there, and Martha was serving; but Lazarus was one of those reclining at the table with Him. Mary then took a pound of very costly perfume of pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped His feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot, one of His disciples, who was intending to betray Him, said, `Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and given to poor people?' Now he [Judas] said this, not because he was concerned about the poor, but because he was a thief, and as he had the money box, he used to pilfer what was put into it. Therefore Jesus said, "Let her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of My burial. `For you always have the poor with you, but you do not always have Me.' " John 12:1-8

Here we see that 6 days before the passover, Jesus came to Bethany and stayed at the house of Lazarus. Mary the sister of Lazarus poured perfume on Jesus in a prophetic burial ritual. But God establishes His matters with the testimony of two or three witnesses, so we must not confuse Mary, with the immoral woman who did a similar prophetic burial ritual 4 days later, in the home of Simon the leper, who was a Pharisee. [cf. Luke 7:37-39, Matthew 26:6-13 & Mark 14:3-9]

We learn that Judas Iscariot was the treasurer of the 12 apostles and that he was a thief.

Two days before the passover [Matthew 26:2] we see -

"And Satan entered into Judas who was called Iscariot, belonging to the number of the twelve." Luke 22:3

"Then one of the twelve, named Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, `What are you willing to give me to betray Him to you?' And they weighed out thirty pieces of silver to him. From then on he began looking for a good opportunity to betray Jesus." Matthew 26:14-16

So it was 2 days before passover that Satan entered into Judas and he started looking for an opportunity to betray Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. [cf. Matthew 26:2-5;14-16, Mark 14:1-2;10-11, Luke 22:1-6 & John 13:2]

On the first day of the Passover feast in the evening [Matthew 26:17 & 20] Jesus cleans the feet of the 12 disciples.

"Jesus said to him [Peter], `He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you.' For He [Jesus] knew the one who was betraying Him; for this reason He said, `Not all of you are clean.' " John 13:10-11

Here we see that Jesus knew before hand that Judas would betray Him. Also notice that Jesus is saying that Judas is `not clean'. Like in the John 6 passage quoted at the start of this article where Jesus knew before hand that Judas would betray Him and Jesus calls Judas, `a devil'.

Finally if you compare what Jesus literally said in John 13:10, `you are clean, but not all of you' with what John quotes Jesus as saying in verse 11 `Not all of you are clean'. We see that it is not a word-for-word quote, but it is obviously the same meaning in both verses. This is common in the Jewish writings and we shall see some more of this below.

After washing their feet they have the supper.

"When Jesus had said this, He became troubled in spirit, and testified and said, `Truly, truly, I [Jesus] say to you [12 disciples], that one of you will betray Me.' The disciples began looking at one another, at a loss to know of which one He was speaking." John 13:21-22

"Being deeply grieved, they [the 12 disciples] each one began to say to Him [Jesus], `Surely not I, Lord?' " Matthew 26:22

"And Judas, who was betraying Him [Jesus], said, `Surely it is not I, Rabbi?' Jesus said to him [Judas], `You have said it yourself.' " Matthew 26:25

Jesus prophesies that one of the 12 disciples will betray Him. The 12 deny it, this means that Judas blatantly lied to Jesus and the other 11 disciples. The story continues -

"There was reclining on Jesus' bosom one of His disciples [John], whom Jesus loved. So Simon Peter gestured to him [John], and said to him, `Tell us who it is of whom He [Jesus] is speaking.' He [John], leaning back thus on Jesus' bosom, said to Him [Jesus], `Lord, who is it?' " John 13:23-25

Now, the answer to this question differs slightly in the gospels in their literal wording but the basic meaning is the same (as we saw earlier in the John 13:10-11 passage).

"And He [Jesus] answered, `He who dipped his hand with Me in the bowl is the one who will betray Me.' " Matthew 26:23

"And He [Jesus] said to them, `It is one of the twelve, one who dips with Me in the bowl.' " Mark 14:20

Jesus said,

" `But behold, the hand of the one betraying Me is with Mine on the table.' " Luke 22:21

"Jesus then answered, `That is the one for whom I shall dip the morsel and give it to him.' So when He had dipped the morsel, He took and gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot." John 13:26

At this time Jesus also said about the one who would betray Him.

"The Son of Man [Jesus] is to go, just as it is written of Him; but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had not been born." Matthew 26:24

So here we see that Jesus actually places a curse on Judas [`woe to him']. Later we shall see the full extent of this curse. Jesus actually says here that from Judas' subjective point of view, it would have been better for Judas to have never existed. [cf. Mark 14:21 & Luke 22:22]

"After the morsel, Satan then entered into him [Judas]. Therefore Jesus said to him, `What you do, do quickly.' Now no one of those reclining at the table knew for what purpose He [Jesus] had said this to him [Judas]. For some were supposing, because Judas had the money box, that Jesus was saying to him, `Buy the things we have need of for the feast'; or else, that he should give something to the poor. So after receiving the morsel he [Judas] went out immediately; and it was night." John 13:27-30

So Judas leaves to betray Jesus. Jesus and the other 11 disciples go to the garden of Gethsemane. After praying for a bit Jesus says,

"`Get up, let us be going; behold, the one who betrays Me is at hand!' While He was still speaking, behold, Judas, one of the twelve, came up accompanied by a large crowd with swords and clubs, who came from the chief priests and elders of the people. Now he [Judas] who was betraying Him [Jesus] gave them [the mob] a sign, saying, `Whomever I kiss, He is the one; seize Him.' Immediately Judas went to Jesus and said, `Hail, Rabbi!' and kissed Him. And Jesus said to him, `Friend, do what you have come for.' Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and seized Him." Matthew 26:46-50

So Jesus calls Judas, `the one who betrays Me' in verse 46 and in verse 50 He calls Judas `friend'. And we see the infamous betrayal by a kiss. [cf. Mark 14:41-45 & Luke 22:47-48] But in John's gospel we see that before Judas kisses Jesus -

"Judas then, having received the Roman cohort and officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, came there with lanterns and torches and weapons. So Jesus, knowing all the things that were coming upon Him, went forth and said to them, "Whom do you seek?" They answered Him, "Jesus the Nazarene." He [Jesus] said to them, `I AM.' And Judas also, who was betraying Him, was standing with them. So when He [Jesus] said to them [the mob], `I AM,' they drew back and fell to the ground. Therefore He again asked them, `Whom do you seek?' And they said, `Jesus the Nazarene.' Jesus answered, `I told you that I AM; so if you seek Me [Jesus], let these [other 11 disciples] go their way,' " John 18:3-8

So the sequence of events was that Judas and the mob come to arrest Jesus. Jesus describes Himself as ` AM' (which is the Divine name, showing that Jesus knew that He was God, cf. Exodus 3:14) and Judas and the mob who'd come to arrest Jesus, fall backwards at the power of the name of God. Then Judas goes up to Jesus and kisses Him, and they arrest Jesus.

The next morning [Matthew 27:1] Jesus is delivered to Pilate the governor.

"Then when Judas, who had betrayed Him [Jesus], saw that He had been condemned, he felt remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, `I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.' But they said, `What is that to us? See to that yourself!' And he [Judas] threw the pieces of silver into the temple sanctuary and departed; and he went away and hanged himself." Matthew 27:3-5

Notice that verse 3 says Judas returned the money to the chief priests and elders but verse 5 says he threw the money into the temple. It is obvious that Judas returned the money by throwing it into the temple, again this is just the Jewish way of writing. Also in Acts it says

"Now this man [Judas] acquired a field with the price of his wickedness," Acts 1:18a

But how could Judas buy a field with money that he has returned to the chief priests and elders? The answer is cleared up for us in the Matthew account which lets us know that Judas "bought" the field, indirectly, through the chief priests buying the field with the money he had returned to them.

"And they [the chief priests and elders] conferred together and with the money bought the Potter's Field as a burial place for strangers." Matthew 27:7

So Judas hangs himself on this Potters field, which was called "Hakeldama", which is "field of blood". It was called this because when Judas hung himself on the field, presumably the rope broke, and Judas

"falling headlong, he [Judas] burst open in the middle and all his intestines gushed out." Acts 1:18b

So Judas' blood was on this field, also the chief priests continued to use the field to bury strangers. So for both of these reasons, this field was called the field of blood. [cf. Matthew 27:8 & Acts 1:19]

"Then that which was spoken through Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled: `AND THEY TOOK THE THIRTY PIECES OF SILVER, THE PRICE OF THE ONE WHOSE PRICE HAD BEEN SET by the sons of Israel; AND THEY GAVE THEM FOR THE POTTER'S FIELD, AS THE LORD DIRECTED ME.' " Matthew 27:9-10

So the buying of the field and the price of Jesus' betrayal (30 silver pieces) were prophesied about beforehand in the old testament. Please notice that Matthew quotes it from "Jeremiah the prophet". Here is the old testament prophecy -

"So they weighed out thirty shekels of silver as my [Judas'] wages. Then the LORD said to me, `Throw it to the potter, that magnificent price at which I was valued by them.' So I took the thirty shekels of silver and threw them to the potter in the house of the LORD." Zechariah 11:12b-13

Notice that the prophecy is actually in the book of Zechariah! This is because in the past, they used to combine certain books of the old testament into the same scroll and would usually call the scroll by the name of the major prophet. The book of Zechariah (who is a minor prophet) was in the scroll with the book of Jeremiah (who is a major prophet). It is similar if someone today says, "The bible says, `So they weighed out 30 ...' ", it would also be correct for a person today to say, "The book of Zechariah says, `So they weighed out 30 ...' ". For the book of Zechariah is contained within the book, the Bible. Similarly in the past the book of Zechariah was contained within the scroll of Jeremiah.

Also notice that it is the LORD [Yahweh] who is speaking and He says that the 30 pieces of silver is the price at which I [Yahweh] was valued at! This means that Jesus is God/Yahweh.

Judas in Prophecy

"Judas turned aside to go to his own place [hell]." Acts 1:25b

Here we see that Judas "turned aside", so he must have once been on the correct path.

Long before the time of the Passover supper, we read -

"Jesus summoned His twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every kind of disease and every kind of sickness. Now the names of the twelve apostles are these: The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; and James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed Him." Matthew 10:1-4 [cf. Mark 3:14-19; 6:7-13]

Here we see that Judas Iscariot was given the power to heal the sick and cast out demons.

Jesus sent the twelve out on more than one occasion to heal the sick, cast out demons and preach "the kingdom of heaven is at hand". [Matthew 10:5-11, Mark 6:6b-13, Luke 9:1-3 & 10:1-3]

Notice that in the last Luke passage, Jesus sends out 72 disciples. If Luke did not write about this, we may not have realised that Jesus sent His disciples out more than once!

We see that there was a time when Judas was preaching the truth of the kingdom, he was healing the sick and casting out demons, but it did him no good, for he was not "faithful to the end" [cf. Revelation 21:7] by abiding in God's grace. Judas freely turned aside from the path of truth [Acts 1:25] and this was in accordance with God's set purpose and foreknowledge [Acts 2:23]. Dear reader do not turn aside to wickedness, heed the lesson from Judas Iscariot. It does not matter if you have done miracles in the past, what is your relationship with Jesus - today?! [cf. Matthew 7:21-23]

As an aside there is one "gospel of Judas" manuscript, and there are over 24 000 new testament manuscripts!

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