Who was Judas Iscariot?
We all know who Judas was. Judas Iscariot (man of Kerioth) was one of Jesus’ 12 disciples. He was in charge of the disciples’ finances, and he betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. What else do we know about him?
- He was from Kerioth, a city 15 miles south of Hebron, in Israel, as his name implies. Iscariot means “man of the village of Keriyyoth.”
- He was the son of Simon Iscariot
- Judas was a popular Jewish name. Judas was the Greek spelling for the Hebrew name Judah, meaning “praise”
- He was a preacher of the gospel, a healer of the sick and he cast out demons.
- He was a thief. John 12:6 He (Judas) said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, and having charge of the moneybag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.
- He was greedy. All what mattered to him was money.
- Judas never sought the Lord’s forgiveness. He thought it was too late and hanged himself.
What lessons can we learn from Judas’s betrayal?
1 Those closest to us can hurt us the most. Jesus called Judas and trust him with the finances of the group, but Judas betrayed Him. No one suspected him. We should pray for God to protect us from wolves in sheep’s clothing.
2 When Mary anointed Jesus’ feet with expensive ointment, Judas rebuked her, pretending to care for the poor and needy. Meanwhile he just wanted it sold so he could embezzle the money. We should learn to genuinely care for the needy and not just pretend in the presence of people. We should also watch out for people who always focus on money in church and not spreading God’s word.
3 We always have the choice to do the right thing. We should listen to what God tells us through His word in every situation. Unlike Judas, who was told, “… but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born. Mark 14:21,” let us not harden our hearts (Hebrews 3:8). If I am about to do something and I am given such a warning, I hope I heed it.
4 Being in the church is not a guarantee of salvation. Being in the church or assembly of God does not automatically mean that you will be saved. Many people take church as a social gathering where they go to interact with friends. When church is over, they return to their sinful ways. This is exactly how Judas was. If we don’t truly give our lives to Christ, He will cast us away when the time comes, saying,
‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ Matthew 7:21-23
5 Our sorrow should lead us to repentance. After betraying Jesus, Judas realized the gravity of the evil he has done. He probably never expected Jesus to be crucified. When he realized how badly he had messed up, the Bible says,
Then Judas, His betrayer, seeing that He had been condemned, was remorseful and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.”
And they said, “What is that to us? You see to it!”
Then he threw down the pieces of silver in the temple and departed, and went and hanged himself.
Judas regretted what he had done, but rather than repenting, he committed another sin. Peter had also betrayed Jesus when he denied him 3 times, but he repented. We should follow Peter’s example. Jesus himself said in Luke 5:32
I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.
Like Fanny Crosby said in “To God be the glory”
The vilest offender who truly believes,
That moment from Jesus, a pardon receives.
Praise the Lord.
Judas betrayed his friend for 30 pieces of silver. The rest of us do it for far less. May God have mercy on us.
Images from the LUMO project