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Judas Iscariot – Betrayer of Jesus Christ

Profile of New Testament Figure Judas Iscariot

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Judas Iscariot returns the 30 pieces of silver.

Circa 33 AD. In remorse, Judas Iscariot throws down the 30 pieces of silver he received in payment for betraying Christ.

Photo: Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Judas Iscariot is remembered for one thing: his betrayal of Jesus Christ. Even though Judas showed remorse later, his name became a symbol for traitors and turncoats throughout history. His motive seemed to be greed, but some scholars speculate political desires lurked beneath his treachery.

Judas Iscariot's Accomplishments:

One of Jesus' original 12 disciples, Judas Iscariot traveled with Jesus and studied under him for three years. He apparently went with the other 11 when Jesus sent them to preach the gospel, cast out demons and heal the sick.

Judas Iscariot's Strengths:

Judas felt remorse after he betrayed Jesus. He returned the 30 pieces of silver the chief priests and elders had given him. (Matthew 27:3, NIV)

Judas Iscariot's Weaknesses:

Judas was a thief. He was in charge of the group's money bag and sometimes stole from it. He was disloyal. Even though the other apostles deserted Jesus and Peter denied him, Judas went so far as to lead the temple guard to Jesus at Gethsemane, and then identified Jesus by kissing him. Some would say Judas Iscariot made the greatest error in history.

Life Lessons:

An outward show of loyalty to Jesus is meaningless unless we also follow Christ in our heart. Satan and the world will try to get us to betray Jesus, so we must ask the Holy Spirit for help in resisting them.

Although Judas attempted to undo the harm he had done, he failed to seek the Lord's forgiveness. Thinking it was too late for him, Judas ended his life in suicide.

As long as we are alive and have breath, it's never too late to come to God for forgiveness and cleansing from sin. Sadly, Judas, who had been given the opportunity to walk in close fellowship with Jesus, completely missed the most important message of Christ's ministry.

It's natural for people to have strong or mixed feelings about Judas. Some feel a sense of hatred toward him for his act of betrayal, others feel pity, and some throughout history have considered him a hero. No matter how you react to him, here are a few biblical facts about Judas Iscariot to keep in mind:

  • He made a conscience choice to betray Jesus - Luke 22:48.
  • He was a thief with greed in his heart - John 12:6.
  • Jesus knew Judas' heart was set on evil and that he would not repent - John 6:70, John 17:12.
  • Judas' act of betrayal was part of God's sovereign plan - Psalm 41:9, Zechariah 11:12-13, Matthew 20:18 and 26:20-25, Acts 1:16,20.

Believers can benefit from thinking about Judas Iscariot's life and considering their own commitment to the Lord. Are we true followers of Christ or secret pretenders? And if we fail, do we give up all hope, or do we accept his forgiveness and seek restoration?

Hometown:

Kerioth. The Hebrew word Ishkeriyyoth (for Iscariot) means "man of the village of Keriyyoth." Kerioth was about 15 miles south of Hebron, in Israel.

Referenced in the Bible:

Matthew 10:4, 13:55, 26:14, 16, 25, 47-49, 27:1-5; Mark 3:19, 6:3, 14:10, 43-45; Luke 6:16, 22:1-4, 47-48; John 6:71, 12:4, 13:2, 13:26-30; 14:22, 18:2-6; Acts 1:16-18, 25.

Occupation:

Disciple of Jesus Christ. Judas was the money keeper for the group.

Family Tree:

Father - Simon Iscariot

Key Verses:

Matthew 26:13-15
Then one of the Twelve-the one called Judas Iscariot-went to the chief priests and asked, "What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?" So they counted out for him thirty silver coins. (NIV)

John 13:26-27
Jesus answered, "It is the one to whom I will give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish." Then, dipping the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, son of Simon. As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him. (NIV)

Mark 14:43
Just as he was speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, appeared. With him was a crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests, the teachers of the law, and the elders. (NIV)

Luke: 22:47-48
He (Judas) approached Jesus to kiss him, but Jesus asked him, "Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?" (NIV)

Matthew 27:3-5
When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty silver coins to the chief priests and the elders…So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself. (NIV)

Old Testament People of the Bible (Index)
New Testament People of the Bible (Index)

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