Thursday, March 24, 2016

The Character of Judas Iscariot

The Bible is clear on the character of Judas Iscariot, and we should be, too. The Bible says that Judas was the only apostle who was lost. (John 17:12) In the words of Jesus, he was a devil. (John 6:70) In the words of John, he was a thief. (John 12:6) In the words of Luke, he was a traitor. (Luke 6:16) These biblical facts are clear.

Our problem is not a lack of clarity on the character of Judas, but a lack of faith in the Son of man who came to save that which was lost. (Matthew 18:11) Jesus came to save Judas Iscariot. We can’t see that Jesus found him, or that Jesus rejoices over him more than over all the others. (Matthew 18:12,13) Therefore, we can't believe that he did and does. That’s our problem. We can't see.

Not only is the Bible clear on why Jesus came, it is clear also on when he should act. “And this is the Father’s will which has sent me, that of all which he has given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it [the lost] up again at the last day.” (John 6:39)

And the Bible is clear on how Jesus should gain his brother. “Go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he shall hear you, you have gained your brother.” (Matthew 18:15)

And the Bible is clear on what Jesus did to begin the last day: he washed the heel that was lifted up against him. And in speaking to Peter directly, he told Judas indirectly that he was not clean. (John 13:10,11) The effect of these acts by Jesus was to cast out the prince of this world, which had put it into the heart of Judas to make a covenant to hand over Jesus to the authorities. (John 12:31; 13:2; Luke 22:3-6)

But Martha Christians are much concerned about serving and would deny us the needful thing. (Luke 10:28-32) The needful thing for the Son of man who came to save that which was lost was to save him.

The Bible is also clear on what Judas should do after Jesus gained him as his brother: he should eat his bread. The one who lifted up his heel against him is the one he chose to eat his bread, that the scripture might be fulfilled. (John 13:18) The Bible is clear on the effect of eating the bread of Jesus. (John 6:26-58) But generally speaking, to eat the bread of another means to cooperate with him.

The Bible is clear that no man took the life of Jesus, but Jesus laid down his life with power. (John 10:17,18) As part of his exercise of that power, he chose the apostle who should hand him over to the authorities. (John 13:16-20)

The foot washing was a special act of love which, at the time, only Jesus and Judas knew. It was an act of telling a brother his fault and of forgiving him for it. And for the occasion, Jesus gave to Judas a place of honor at the table. And from that place, Judas leaned upon the bosom of Jesus. (John 13:23)

Yes, the Bible says that Satan entered into Judas, for the second time, after he received from Jesus the dipped sop. (John 13:27) But the Bible is also clear that Satan was opposed to those things of God which Jesus said should happen at Jerusalem. (Matthew 16:21-23)

Thanks to the saving work of Jesus, Judas overcame Satan and glorified Jesus. (John 13:31)

Here are some helps:

Judas departed choked up with grief. (Matthew 27:5)

Judas fell prostrate and cried his heart out. (Acts 1:18)

Peter did not ask, “Is it I?,” to the announcement, “One of you shall betray me,” but to the announcement, “One of you shall hand me over.” Peter never conceded the possibility that he could be disloyal to Jesus, and Jesus never said that one of them would “betray” him. The only time Jesus spoke of the covenant Judas made was when he paraphrased the Psalmist, “[he] has lifted up his heel against me.”

The Bible is clear, but it is a double edged sword. For those who have faith that the Son of man was successful, it cuts one way. For those who lack that faith, it cuts another.

Nevertheless, I say these things only in my own name.


  1. Get back to me, please. There is much more to this. The Gospel of Judas shows hat Judas was the sacrifice, and that he covered James ("Zebedee") the Just, the real Master. He was "Beloved disciple." I wrote a book on it. Out soon from AuthorHouse.

  2. All four comments on verses you quote in paragraph one are untrue. The preposition in the first two, "ex," is Greek for "out from," not "of," and it has dramatic impact on the meaning of both verses. The "devil" is thrown "out from" the subject. The other two are John calling Judas a thief for which there is no corroboration, and Luke calling Judas a traitor, which is also editorializing. Jesus never said he was "betrayed" -- he said he was "handed over" or 'delivered.' There was no "Betrayal." That is a Gospel myth from an inversion of mastership succession in the gnostic Apocalypses of James from Nag Hammadi. The sacrifice in the Gospel of Judas was James, as 'Judas.' And he was the new Master the Gospel authors of the NT were trying to hide. Read it now with that in mind. It will make much better sense than the scholarly "consensus" that Judas was a traitor.

    1. I take it that you do not think the Son of man was successful.