Judas Iscariot: Son of Simon Iscariot

judas iscariot

Judas Iscariot, the traitor, was the son of Simon who lived in Kerioth of Judah. He betrayed Jesus for thirty pieces of silver and afterward hanged himself (Matthew 26:14,16).

Judas, the man who became the traitor, is the supreme enigma of the New Testament because it is so hard to see how anyone who was so close to Jesus, who saw so many miracles and heard so much of the Master’s teaching could ever betray him into the hands of his enemies.

His name appears in three lists of the 12 Apostles (Matthew 10:4; Mark 3:19; Luke 6:19). It is said that Judas came from Judah near Jericho. He was a Judean and the rest of the disciples were Galileans. He was the treasurer of the band and among the outspoken leaders.

It is said that Judas Iscariot was a violent Jewish Nationalist who had followed Jesus in hope that through Him his nationalistic flame and dreams might be realized. No one can deny that Judas was a covetous man and at times he used his position as treasurer of the band to pilfer from the common purse. There is no certain reason as to why Judas betrayed his master, but it is not his betrayal that put Jesus on the cross-it was our sins. His apostolic symbol is a hangman’s noose or a money purse with pieces of silver falling from it.

It is easy to overlook the fact that Jesus chose Judas Iscariot to be his disciple. We may also forget that while Judas betrayed Jesus, all the disciples abandoned him. With the other disciples, Judas shared a persistent misunderstanding of Jesus’ mission. They all expected Jesus to make the right political moves. When he kept talking about dying, they all felt varying degrees of anger, fear, and disappointment. They didn’t understand why they had been chosen if Jesus’ mission was doomed to fail. 

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We do not know the exact motivation behind Judas’s betrayal. What is clear is that Judas allowed his desires to place him in a position where Satan could manipulate him. Judas accepted payment to set Jesus up for the religious leaders. He identified Jesus for the guards in the dimly lit Garden of Gethsemane. It is possible that he was trying to force Jesus’ hand – would Jesus or would Jesus not rebel against Rome and set up a new political government? 

Whatever his plan, though, at some point Judas realized he didn’t like the way things were turning out. He tried to undo the evil he had done by returning the money to the priests, but it was too late. The wheels of God’s sovereign plan had been set in motion. How sad that Judas ended his life in despair without ever experiencing the gift of reconciliation God could give even to him through Jesus Christ

Human feelings toward Judas have always been mixed. Some have fervently hated him for his betrayal. Other have pitied him for not realizing what he was doing. A few have tried to make him a hero for his part in ending Jesus’ earthly mission. Some have questioned God’s fairness in allowing one man to bear such guilt. While there are many feelings about Judas, there are some facts to consider as well. He, by his own choice, betrayed God’s Son into the hands of the soldiers (Luke 22:48). He was a thief (John 12:6). Jesus knew that Judas’s life of evil would not change (John 6:70). In Judas’s betrayal of Jesus was part of God’s sovereign plan (Psalm 41:9; Zechariah 11:12, 13; Matthew 20:18; 26:20-25; Acts 1:16, 20). 

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In betraying Jesus, Judas made the greatest mistake in history. But the fact that Jesus knew Judas would betray him doesn’t mean that Judas was a puppet of God’s will. Judas made the choice. God knew what that choice would be and confirmed it. Judas didn’t lose his relationship with Jesus; rather, he never found Jesus in the first place. He is called “doomed to destruction” (John 12:12) because he was never saved. Judas does us a favor if he makes us think a second time about our commitment to God and the presence of God’s Spirit within us. Are we true disciples and followers, or uncommitted pretenders? We can choose despair and death, or we can choose repentance, forgiveness, hope, and eternal life. Judas’s betrayal sent Jesus to the cross to guarantee that second choice, our only chance. Will we accept Jesus’ free gift, or, like Judas betray him? 

Strengths and Accomplishments 

  • He was chosen as one of the 12 disciples; the only non-Galilean 
  • He kept the money bag for the expenses of the group 
  • He was able to recognize the evil in his betrayal of Jesus 

Weaknesses and Mistakes 

  • He was greedy (John 12:6) 
  • He Betrayed Jesus 
  • He committed suicide instead of seeking forgiveness 

Lessons From His Life 

  • Evil plans and motives leave us open to being used by Satan for even greater evil 
  • The consequences of evil so devastating that even small lies and little wrongdoings have serious results 
  • God’s plan and his purposes are worked out even in the worst possible events 

Vital Statistics for Judas Iscariot

  • Where: Possibly from the town of Kerioth 
  • Occupation: Disciple of Jesus 
  • Relative: Father: Simon 
  • Contemporaries: Jesus, Pilate, Herod, the other 11 disciples 
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Key Verse for Judas Iscariot

“Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve. And Judas went to the chief priests and the officers of the temple guard and discussed with them how he might betray Jesus” (Luke 22:3, 4). 

Judas’s story is told in the Gospels. He is also mentioned in Acts 1:18, 19.

Scripture Study Resources

ESV Study BibleStudy Bibles give you a deeper understanding of God’s Word with tools for life application like commentary, maps, charts, concordance, and study notes. Search our popular translations- NIV, ESV, NKJV, KJV and more!

Believer’s Bible Commentary: Second Edition – A Bible commentary is a written, systematic series of explanations and interpretations of Scripture. Commentaries often analyze or expound on individual books of the Bible, chapter by chapter and verse by verse. Some commentary works provide analysis of the whole of Scripture.

The New Strong’s Expanded Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible – The best concordance for word study! This exclusive new edition of a legendary classic puts generations of biblical research at your fingertips. A valuable tool for pastors, teachers, and students of the Bible. 

Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words – This classic word study resource allows you to study the meaning of biblical words in the original languages without spending years learning Greek or Hebrew. A great resource for students, seasoned pastors, and anyone who enjoys biblical word studies–even if they have little to no formal training in Hebrew or Greek.

Halley’s Bible Handbook – The beloved and classic Bible companion has been thoroughly updated, while retaining its time-honored features and Dr. Halley’s highly personal style, to offer even greater clarity, insight, and usefulness.

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