Who is Judas in the Bible: Unveiling the Betrayer’s Story

Judas Iscariot is a significant figure in the Bible, known primarily for his betrayal of Jesus Christ. As one of the twelve disciples, he held a crucial role in the events leading up to the crucifixion.

Unveiling the Betrayer's Story
Unveiling the Betrayer’s Story

In the biblical narrative, Judas was the treasurer among the disciples and responsible for managing their finances. However, his defining moment in history remains the act of betraying Jesus to the authorities for 30 pieces of silver.

This act not only demonstrated his disloyalty, but it also set in motion the events that ultimately led to Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, which are central to the Christian faith.

The Identity of Judas Iscariot

who is judas in the bible
The Identity of Judas Iscariot

Early Life and Background

Judas Iscariot was a disciple of Jesus Christ, known for his betrayal that ultimately led to Jesus’ crucifixion. His name “Judas” is a Greek rendering of the Hebrew name Judah, which means “praise or praised” and was a common name for Jewish men during the first century AD (source).

The surname “Iscariot” is believed to be derived from the Hebrew ishq’riyoth, meaning “man of Kerioth,” indicating his association with the city of Kerioth in Palestine (source).

It is unclear who Simon Iscariot was, but he is sometimes referred to as the father of Judas (source). Very little is known about Judas’ early life before he became a disciple of Jesus. However, it is believed that he might have had connections to the Sicarii, a radical Jewish group that participated in acts of terrorism (source).

Role among the Apostles

Among the apostles, Judas held the important position of treasurer and was responsible for managing the group’s finances. This likely required a certain level of trust and respect from Jesus and his fellow disciples. However, it is noted that Judas was dishonest in this role, as he was known to steal from their common funds (source).

Judas’ act of betrayal would later come to define his legacy. For 30 pieces of silver, he agreed to lead the authorities to Jesus, ultimately resulting in Jesus’ arrest and crucifixion. This act has made Judas Iscariot synonymous with the idea of betrayal, overshadowing his earlier role as a treasurer among the disciples.

The Betrayal of Jesus

The Betrayal of Jesus
The Betrayal of Jesus

The Conspiracy with Chief Priests

In the Bible, Judas Iscariot is known for betraying Jesus Christ. The conspiracy began when Judas made a secretive deal with the chief priests to hand over Jesus to them. In return, they offered him a payment of thirty pieces of silver. That agreement led to one of the most infamous betrayals in history.

The Last Supper

During the Last Supper, Jesus revealed that one of his disciples would betray him. This caused great distress among the apostles. Jesus then identified his betrayer by dipping bread into a dish and handing it to Judas, foretelling his actions (Luke 22).

Judas’s decision to betray Jesus is believed to be driven by various factors like greed or even demonic possession, as hinted in the gospels.

Judas’s Kiss in Gethsemane

After the Last Supper, Jesus and his disciples went to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray. It was here that Judas chose to betray Jesus with a kiss, marking him for arrest.

The act of betrayal with a kiss holds symbolic significance, as a sign of love and affection was used to identify Jesus to those seeking to arrest him. The fulfillment of this treacherous plan led to Jesus’ arrest and, eventually, his crucifixion.

Theological Significance

who is judas in the bible
Theological Significance

Judas in Christian Theology

In Christian theology, Judas Iscariot holds a significant position as one of the twelve apostles who betrayed Jesus. Chosen by Jesus as one of his trusted companions, he later handed Jesus over to the Jewish authorities, leading to the crucifixion (source: britannica.com).

In the canonical gospels, Judas’s betrayal leads to Jesus’ crucifixion, thus playing a crucial role in the fulfillment of the Messianic prophecy. As a result, his actions become a pivotal point in the narrative.

Satan is often associated with Judas, as described in the Gospel of John, where it is said that Satan entered into Judas at the Last Supper, leading him to betray Jesus (source: John 13:27).

This connection with the Devil highlights the extremity of his actions and the subsequent consequences. Judas’s betrayal of Jesus is seen as the ultimate act of evil against the divine plan.

Symbolism of Judas’s Actions

The act of betrayal performed by Judas carries significant symbolic weight in Christian theology. The willingness to betray Jesus for thirty pieces of silver (source: Matthew 26:14-15) is representative of human greed and treachery.

Judas’s decision to betray Jesus despite being an apostle serves as a reminder of humanity’s innate capacity for betrayal and duplicity.

In the Gospel of Judas, however, Jesus is portrayed as revealing secret knowledge to Judas that is withheld from the other apostles (source: britannica.com).

This perspective positions Judas as the favorite disciple of Jesus and acknowledges the paradox that his actions are necessary for the plan of salvation to be fulfilled.

Judas’s Death and Its Aftermath

Judas's Death and Its Aftermath
Judas’s Death and Its Aftermath

Events Leading to Death

As we know, Judas Iscariot is a significant figure in the Bible, particularly for betraying Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. His remorse and subsequent death are also notable events.

In the Gospel of Matthew, it is stated that Judas felt deep regret and remorse after witnessing Jesus’ condemnation 1.

He tried to return the silver he gained from the betrayal, but the chief priests and elders refused to take it back 2.

Unable to cope with his guilt, Judas ultimately hanged himself 3.

The Field of Blood

The aftermath of Judas’s suicide is further described in the New Testament. The chief priests and elders used the silver coins to purchase a field, which became known as the Field of Blood4. This name is fitting, given its association with Judas’s betrayal and subsequent death.

In the Book of Acts, a different view of Judas’s demise is provided. According to this account, Judas used the 30 silver coins to purchase the field himself 5. However, instead of hanging himself, the text describes Judas falling “headlong” in the field. This resulted in a gruesome death where “all his bowels gushed out” 6.

The variations in these accounts suggest differing perspectives on Judas’s death and its aftermath. While Matthew presents Judas’s suicide as a result of remorse for betraying Jesus, the account in Acts seems to focus on consequences and the inevitable punishment for his actions.


  1. Matthew 27:3
  2. Matthew 27:3-10
  3. Matthew 27:3-8
  4. Matthew 27:7-8
  5. Acts 1:18
  6. Acts 1:18-19

Judas in Scripture and Tradition

who is judas in the bible
Judas in Scripture and Tradition

Gospel Accounts

In the New Testament, Judas Iscariot is one of the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ. He is most notoriously known for betraying Jesus to the Roman authorities. In the Gospel of Matthew, it is mentioned that Judas betrays Jesus for thirty silver coins and later hangs himself filled with guilt. The Gospel of John puts forth the notion that Judas was chosen to be the treasurer among the disciples and that he was also known for being dishonest. The Gospel of Luke also recounts Judas’s role in the betrayal of Jesus.

Some key events in the various gospel accounts include:

  • Judas’s Betrayal: Judas Iscariot agrees to betray Jesus for thirty silver coins, as described in the Gospel of Matthew.
  • The Last Supper: Judas participates in the last supper with Jesus and the other disciples, during which Jesus predicts Judas’s betrayal.
  • Judas’s Remorse and Death: After the arrest of Jesus, Judas regrets his actions and attempts to return the thirty silver coins. Unable to do so, he hangs himself.

Judas in Gnostic Texts

In contrast to the descriptions of Judas in the biblical Gospels, some Gnostic texts present a different perspective on Judas Iscariot. The most remarkable among these texts is the Gospel of Judas, a document discovered in the 1970s and published in 2006. This Gnostic gospel portrays Judas in a more favorable light, suggesting that he was fulfilling a divine plan when he betrayed Jesus. According to this text, Jesus asked Judas to hand him over to the authorities in order to free him from his physical body and allow him to fulfill his spiritual mission.

While Gnostic texts offer alternative perspectives on Judas Iscariot, it’s important to note that these accounts are not considered part of the Christian canon and are therefore not included in the New Testament. The traditional narrative of Judas as the one who betrayed Jesus is predominantly accepted in Christian belief.

Frequently Asked Questions

who is judas in the bible
Frequently Asked Questions

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