Judas Iscariot

Judas was the betraying disciple and one of the twelve. Not much is know of Judas before Jesus called him. "Iscariot" is generally thought to be taken from the Hebrew Ish Kerioth, which means "a man from Kerioth." Qeriyyoth was a town in southern Judah, close to Hebron. His father's name was Simon, who was also surnamed Iscariot and the name suggests an ancestral line to this city. It has also been suggested that his name comes from the revolutionary band of Zealots called the Sicarri. They were the dagger men that would slip into crowds and assassinate those who opposed their bloody revolt against Rome. Either way, this would make Judas the only Jew in the company of the disciples, the rest being from Galilee in the north. The name Judas is a form of Judah and would be a fitting representation of Judah or the Jews as the nation called that betrayed Jesus in the rejection of the Messiah.

Jesus could see through the traitor Judas from the start. He was a thief and a liar and followed Jesus for the money. Judas was the steward of the resources for Jesus' ministry and had been consumed with avarice from the beginning. Looking forward to Jesus sitting on the throne of David, Judas expected a rich reward from an exalted position in the Kingdom. When the Kingdom turned out to be a spiritual one, disappointment turned to bitterness and Judas sold Jesus out.

The triumphal entry into Jerusalem only days before saw the crowd greeting Jesus with jubilation. But Jesus was a revolutionary now, an outlaw and wanted by the Jewish authorities. The Jews would try to arrest Him but He would always slip away under their very noses. Judas is forcing Jesus' hand. The betrayal of Jesus into the hands of the Jews would put the Master into an impossible position; only a demonstration of His awesome power could overcome the threat on His life and He would be compelled to act against the Romans and the Herodians. While the power was there to do that, Jesus is setting up a Kingdom that was not of this world.

Satan entered into the heart of Judas Iscariot and he went his way and counseled with the chief priests and captains how he might betray Jesus unto them. Judas said to them, "What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you?" They were glad, and contracted with Judas for thirty pieces of silver. Judas promised and sought opportunity to betray Jesus to them away from the crowds. As Jesus and the twelve began to eat at the last supper, Jesus said "You are not all clean, verily, I say unto you that one of you shall betray me." They all looked around but it was Judas who replied, "Lord is it I?" Jesus came back with what amounted to "You said it! What you do, do quickly" Judas went immediately out into the night.

The Romans did not want to get involved in religious matters and uphold the religious freedom of the Jews to preserve order but would get involved if civil power was at stake. From the mind of the Jew, Jesus had disrupted the established order and twice attacked the Temple market place. Our Lord and the disciples were now treated as a clandestine, subversive group. A member of the inner circle would guide the Jewish and Roman authorities to the leader of the circle by night and surprise a band of outlaws. By using the stealth of Judas in this way, the Jews were able to convince the Roman authorities that Jesus was a subversive, a revolutionary and a rebel that deserved to be executed under Roman law.

The dirty deed was accomplished when Judas led a multitude of soldiers and officers of the chief priests and Pharisees scribes and elders carrying torches, lanterns and weapons to the garden of Gethsemane, near the brook Cedron. Judas walked up to Jesus and betrayed Him with a prearranged signal, a kiss.

Ever since Judas "betrayed, innocent blood" by selling Jesus to the highest bidder, his name has been symbolic of the worst crime known to man. We all need to be aware that his sin is still among us in the presence of those that expect a reward in this life for following Jesus, especially those who take advantage of the poor. Those that will deliver us into the hands of the enemy are the same type of hypocrites and fleshly leadership clalled religious that plotted against Jesus. When we are killed, it will be for the same reason, money.

Zechariah writes of hearing the voice of the howling of the shepherds whose glory is spoiled. "Feed the flock of the slaughter," saith the Lord. The flocks of the slaughter are the poor slain by their possessors but those that sell them are rich and praise the Lord for their prosperity. The shepherds that are over them are unable to recognize their pitiful state. "Thirty pieces of silver was weighed for my price and cast to the potter in the house of the Lord." The field of blood will be given over to poor of the flock in this generation and the idle shepherds that left them will be cut off. The poor that wait upon the Lord will see that this is true. Look into the face of the poor and you will see the eyes of Jesus. Look around them and you will see Judas in the eyes of the shepherds who sell them for a price. The sin of filthy lucre is now known innocently as lucrative endeavor and prospering in the Lord. Foolish greedy shepherds have crept into the flock and disguised themselves as sheep.

After Jesus was crucified, Judas found out that his plan had backfired and Jesus had been condemned innocently. Not willing to keep blood money he repented of his evil. "I have sinned in that I have betrayed innocent blood," to which they replied, "What's that to us, see to it yourself." Judas threw the silver back to the chief priests and elders in the Temple. The priests did not want blood money either and later used the price to buy the potter's field to bury foreigners in, fulfilling in part, the prophecy of Zechariah. The field was named Aceldama, which means the "field of blood." Judas had just betrayed the Messiah, the Son of God. Not willing to live with the guilt of what he had done, Judas went and hanged himself at which point his midsection burst open and his guts poured out. Matthias was chosen by lot to replace him as one of the twelve.
[324, 334, 338, 309, 23, 400, Zechariah 11, Matthew 26, Mark 14, Luke 22, John 13, 18, Acts 1:18]

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