Judas Iscariot, the traitor.

Judas means “Jehovah leads”, however most people do not associate that with this Judas. He is better known as “the betrayer”. Every time he is mentioned in scripture there is a notation of him being a traitor. His story is an example of how deep the human heart can sink; he spent three years with Christ, yet he still denied him. He is also an example of squandered opportunity, sinful lusts, and hardness of heart. He was also the only disciple that did not come form the region of Galilee; Iscariot means “man of Kerioth (Judea)”.  Though there is not evidence that he was outcasted, he may have felt like an outsider because he was not Galilean. His calling is not recorded in scripture. It can be assumed from his behavior later on, that he was a young, zealous, patriotic Jew that hated Rome and their occupation in Israel. He probably followed Jesus because he thought Jesus, if he was the Messiah, would overthrow Rome. It can also be assumed that he was not attracted to Jesus on a spiritual level but a selfish one.  He also worked in a place of trust as treasurer, yet he pilfered funds for himself. Anything money related, Judas complained about.

His betrayal of Jesus was prophesied; however do not think that he was called as a disciple to betray Christ. He chose, in his own freedom of will, to deny Christ. He had every opportunity to take the teachings of Jesus and implement them into his life.  All of the disciples, Judas included, were probably at some point disappointed in Jesus because they assumed he would take over Rome. Judas was the only one that refused to eventually embrace the Jesus way. During the Passover, Jesus’ final days, Judas turned to full hatred, eventually coming out of hiding as a hypocrite to Jesus’ teaching. In Matthew 26, Judas for the first time, exposed himself as a traitor. He went to the chief priests and committed to selling Jesus for only 30 silver coins, the cheap amount of one slave (not much money!). At their Passover dinner (the Last Supper), Jesus told the disciples, again, that he would be betrayed and that the traitor was present in the room. Like the rest of the disciples and eager to still blend in at the dinner, Judas asked “Lord is it I?” and Judas was unmasked in front of all of the disciples when Jesus responded that he was indeed the traitor. Judas left the dinner and then Jesus began the communion part of the Last Supper.

Judas let sin triumph in his heart rather than the love of Christ. It was not a sudden or impulsive decision. Sin never explodes out of nowhere. His betrayal was premeditated (he already took the money from the chief priests). He betrayed Jesus without a crowd or multitude but at the Garden of Gethsemane when he was praying. The Garden was a place for regular prayer time of Jesus. He went to the Garden with a detachment of troops (a cohort of about 600 men) and revealed Jesus with a kiss, which was a greeting of respect, honor, a mark of love, and affection. The kiss made Judas’ deed that much darker! As soon as Jesus was arrested, he felt complete remorse and ever tried giving the money back, however the consequences of his actions were done. Remorse is not the same as repentance. His sin was not satisfying and he was upset because he was not pleased. He never sought out repentance. He died by hanging himself on a tree about rocks. Either the rope or the branch broke, and his body fell on the rocks below and he burst open.

 

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