Thursdays Dose Of Knowledge ~ Judas Iscariot

ONE OF THE 12 Apostles of Jesus, Judas Iscariot served as treasurer of the group.  He betrayed Jesus by leading soldiers to the place where Jesus prayed.  Stricken with guilt over the betrayal,  he committed suicide.  We have no record of Judas’s background, except that he was the son of a man named Simon and his nickname (or family name) was Iscariot.

Outside of the betrayal, the only insight we have about Judas is in John’s gospel in which he is called a “thief” (John 12:6).  Interestingly, he held the common purse for Jesus’ band of disciples.   After a woman poured expensive perfume on Jesus’ feet, it was Judas who commented that it could have been sold and the proceeds given to the poor.  Judas was a man with his own ideas, plans, and motives.  Judas was not a man who loved God with all his heart, soul, mind, body, and strength.  John makes it clear that Judas was not really concerned about relieving poverty, but instead he wanted to pocket the proceeds for himself.

Quite possibly simple greed was the motive behind the betrayal.  As soon as Jesus entered Jerusalem in that final Passover week, Judas met  secretly with the chief priests, arranging the betrayal.  The priests wanted to arrest Jesus, but they feared that accosting him in public would cause a riot– and the Romans would then punish everybody.  The city was crowded for Passover, so it was difficult to find him alone.  That’s why Judas was uniquely valuable to them.  They paid him 30 pieces of silver to lead their officers to the hillside grove where Jesus prayed with his disciples.

Jesus knew what afoot.  In fact, at the Last Supper he essentially dismissed Judas to do what he had to do.  A short time later, Judas led a band of the Temple Guard to the Garden of Gethsemane, where he kissed Jesus in a common greeting.  This was the signal for the arrest, identifying Jesus to the soldiers. (They might not have seen Jesus before, though they would have heard about him.)

After Jesus was tried and sent to the cross, Judas had second thoughts and tried to return the blood money, which was refused.  After throwing the coins away, he hanged himself.


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