Jesus & Judas Iscariot

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MATTHEW 26:47-50


1.        The Disciple

a.        Judas Iscariot

Judas was one of the twelve disciples: “then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot…” [26:14].

§         εἷς τῶν δώδεκα - “twelve” [26:14], “when he had called unto him his twelve disciples…” [10:1];

§         Ἰούδας Ἰσκαριώτης - “Judas Iscariot” [26:14], ‘praise God’; ‘name was probably derived from Kerioth, a town in the country of Judah’;

b.        The Calling

Judas was called by Jesus: “when he had called unto him his twelve disciples…Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him” [10:4].

§         προσκαλεσάμενος - “called” [10:4], aorist middle participle, from prós, ‘to’, and kaléō, ‘to call’; ‘to call to oneself, bid to come’;

§         Jesus’ foreknowledge: “Have I not chosen you twelve, and one of you is s devil?” [Joh.6:70]; “I speak not of you all: I know whom I have chosen…” [Joh.13:18].

2.        The Personal Life

a.        Ambition

Judas was drawn to Jesus as the Jewish Messiah:

i.        The Expectation

The disciples expected Jesus to contest the authority of Rome: “Lord, will you at this time restore again the kingdom unto Israel” [Acts 1:6].

§         They were willing to die with him: “though I should die with you…” [26:35].

ii.      The Ambition

Competition for position: “grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on the right hand…in thy kingdom” [20:20-24].

§         They were jealous: “when the ten heard it, they were moved with indignation against…” [20:24].

§         They quarrelled: “there was also a strife among them which of them should be accounted the greatest” [Luk.22:24-26].

b.        Position of Treasurer/Administrator

Judas’s position: “he had the bag, and bare what was put therein” [Joh.12:6].

§         ἔχων – “had” [12:6], present active participle, ‘to have, own, possess’;

§         γλωσσόκομον - “bag” [12:6], ‘money bag, purse’; ‘common purse, fund’;

§         ἐβάσταζεν - “bare” [12:6], imperfect active, ‘to carry from place to place’;

§         He was recognised by the disciples in this office: “some of them thought, because Judas had the bag, that Jesus had said unto him, Buy such things…” [Joh.13:29].

The present active participle of ‘to have’ and the imperfect active of ‘to carry’ points to the fact that Judas was appointed to this position because of his particular gifts.

c.        Dishonesty

Judas’s love of personal gain led him to become a thief: “but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein” [Joh.12:6].

§         κλέπτης - “thief” [12:6], ‘one who steals by fraud and in secret’;

§         ἦν - “was” [12:6], imperfect active, ‘to be, exist’;


During Jesus’ public ministry he managed the treasury of the company (Jn 13:29), from which he was known to pilfer money (Jn 12:4

3.        The Social Context

a.        Simon’s House 

Jesus and the disciples came to the “house of Simon the leper” [26:6].

i.        The Occasion

The occasion: “there they made a supper…” [Joh.12:2].

§         δεῖπνον - “supper” [12:2], ‘last main meal of the day’; ‘banquet’;

§         ἀνακειμένου - “sat” [26:7], ‘to recline for a meal’;

§         Mary: “having an alabaster flask of perfume…” [26:7].

ii.      The Guests

The guests included: “Martha served at the supper…” [Joh.12:2].

§         Lazarus: “Lazarus, who had been raised from the dead…” [12:2].

§         Mary the sister of Martha: “Mary and her sister Martha…” [Joh.11:1-2].

§         The disciples: “when the disciples saw it…” [26:8].

b.        The Passover

The Passover: “where wilt thou that we prepare to eat the passover” [26:17].

§         τὸ πάσχα - “passover” [26:17], ‘passover meal, lamb’; ‘to keep or celebrate the passover’;

§         Jesus and the disciples: “when the evening was come, he sat down with the twelve” [26:20].

i.        The Table Order

Traditionally, the host, or the most important person, reclined in the centre of the chief couch, a couch for three, placed at the junction of the two arms of the u-shaped table.

§         The usual arrangement at such a meal was to have a series of couches, each accommodating three people, arranged in a U around the table.

§         The guests reclined on either side of the host, leaning on their left elbow and eating with their right hand.

§         The place of honour was to the left and, therefore, in a sense, behind the host.

§         The second place was to the right, and the guest in that position would have his back to the host, “leaning on the bosom” [13:23]. This was the position of special friendship: “the disciple whom Jesus loved” [13:23].


At this last occasion of table fellowship before his crucifixion, Jesus continued to practice the forgiveness which had characterized his earlier table praxis. Mark stresses that Jesus and his betrayer dipped their bread in the common bowl together; Judas Iscariot, not Jesus, withdrew his hand from the table.


1.        The Failed Expectations

a.        The Entrance Into Jerusalem

The turning point was the Triumphal Entry, which would have provided the perfect opportunity to seize power and be proclaimed king. But what did our would-be Messiah do instead? He cried over Jerusalem[1]!

i.        The Disappointments

Step by step, the disappointments had come:

§         John was beheaded, and not avenged; on the contrary, Jesus withdrew Himself [Luk.9:7-10].

§         This constant withdrawing, whether from enemies or from success—almost amounting to flight—even when they would have made Him a King;

§         this refusal to show Himself openly, either at Jerusalem, as His own brethren had taunted Him, or, indeed, anywhere else; this uniform preaching of discouragement to them, when they came to Him elated and hopeful at some success; this gathering enmity of Israel’s leaders, and His marked avoidance of, or, as some might have put it, His failure in taking up the repeated public challenge of the Pharisees to show a sign from heaven;

§         Last, and chief of all, this constant and growing reference to shame, disaster, and death—what did it all mean, if not disappointment of all those hopes and expectations which had made Judas at the first a disciple of Jesus?

ii.      The Entrance into Jerusalem

Jesus had failed Judas; He was not going to bring down the Roman Empire;

§         The plan of the multitudes: “come and take him by force to make him a king…” [Joh.6:15].

§         The occasion: “when he was come into the city…” [21:10].

§         The coming of the King: “Behold, your King is coming unto you…” [21:5-9]. 

b.        The House of Simon

The house of Simon: “woman with an alabaster flask of perfume…” [26:6].

§         General objection: “to what purpose was this waste made?” [26:8].

§         Judas’ objection: “Judas…Why was this ointment not sold…” [Jn.12:5].

§         Judas’s motivation: “this he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief…” [12:6].

i.        The Rebuke

Judas is rebuked by Jesus: “Let her alone…” [Jn.12:7].

§         Afej – “let” [12:7], from apo, from, and iemi, to put in motion, send; ‘to release from a legal bond’; ‘to divorce’.

§         Rebuke and response to rebuke: “it yields the peaceable fruits of righteousness unto them which are exercised (trained) thereby” [Heb.12:11].

ii.      The Activity of Satan 1

This was the first trigger: “And (then) Judas Iscariot…went unto the chief priests…” [14:10].

§         First mention of Satan’s activity, following the feast in Bethany: “then Satan entered into Judas, surnamed Iscariot…” [Lk.22:3-6].

§         Eivsh/lqen - “entered into” [Lk.22:3-6], ‘to enter into in the sense of taking possession of’: “I charge thee, come out of the man, and enter no more into him” [Mk.9:25].

iii.  The Preparation

Judas was moving towards this: “devil now having put in the heart…” [13:2].

§         βεβληκότος - “put” [13:2], perfect active participle, ‘to throw, cast, place something somewhere’;

§         καρδίαν - “heart” [13:2], ‘the inner self’; ‘the seat of mind, will, and affections’;

§         παραδοῖ - “betray” [13:2], aorist active, ‘to hand over’; ‘to deliver up’;

c.        The Change of Allegiance  

i.        The Meeting

Judas meets with Jesus’ enemies: “went unto the chief priests” [26:14].

§         πορευθεὶς πρὸς - “went” [26:14], ‘travel’ plus ‘motion up to boundary of’;

§         ἀρχιερεῖς - “chief priests” [26:14], ‘principle priest’;

§         “Then assembled together the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders of the people, unto the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas, and consulted that they might take Jesus…” [26:3-4].

ii.      The Consultation

Judas enters into discussion with them: “what will you give me, and I will deliver him to you…” [26:15].

§         τί - “what” [26:15],

§         θέλετέ – present active, ‘to be willing’;

§         δοῦναι - “give me” [26:15], ‘to deposit’;

§         παραδώσω - “deliver” [26:15], ‘hand over to authority’;

iii.    The Agreement

Judas comes to an agreement with them: “they covenanted with him…” [26:15].

§         ἔστησαν - “covenanted” [26:15], ‘to cause to stand’; ‘to set, place’;

§         τριάκοντα ἀργύρια - “thirty pieces” [26:15], ‘silver’; ‘by extension, pieces of silver’;

§         The price of a slave: “if the ox shall push a manservant or maidservant, he shall give unto their master thirty shekels of silver…” [Exo.21:32].


When the Messianic faith of Judas gave place to utter disappointment, the moral and spiritual character of Christ’s Teaching would affect him, not sympathetically but antipathetically.

§         Thus, that which should have opened the door of his heart, only closed and double-barred it.

§         His attachment to the Person of Jesus would give place to actual hatred, though only of a temporary character; and the wild intenseness of his Eastern nature would set it all in flame.

§         The question was how to implement the resolution already passed [26:3-4].

§         An unexpected visitor brought what they hoped for: Judas Iscariot (see Judas Iscariot), one of Jesus’ disciples, agreed to collaborate for a sum of money.

§         In turn he would look for an opportunity to hand Jesus over to them without drawing a crowd.


2.        The Announcement of Jesus

a.        The Announcement  

The announcement: “one of you shall betray me” [26:21].

§         παραδώσει - “betray” [26:21], from pará, ‘to the side of, over to’, and dídōmi, ‘to give’; ‘to deliver over or up to the power of someone’;

§         ἐσθιόντων - “eating” [26:21], ‘consuming food’;

i.        The Close Fellowship

The participation in the fellowship: “he that dips his hand with me in the dish…” [26:23].

§         ἐμβάψας - “dips” [26:23], aorist active participle, ‘to dip into anything’; embaptw, ‘to baptise’;

§         μετʼ ἐμοῦ - “with me” [26:23],

§         τρυβλίῳ - “dish” [26:23], ‘dish or bowl in which food is borught to the table’;

b.        The Disciples Response

i.        The Sorrow

The disciples’ response: “they were exceeding sorrowful…” [26:22].

§         λυπούμενοι - “sorrowful” [26:22], present passive participle, to cause grief’; ‘to be distressed’;

§         σφόδρα - “exceeding” [26:22], ‘greatly, very much’;

§         Jesus “took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy” [26:37].

§         ἤρξαντο – “began” [26:22], aorist middle indicative, ‘to rule’; ‘to initiate a process or state’;

ii.      The Disciples Question

The disciples’ fears: “Lord, is it me?” [26:22].

§         κύριε - “Lord” [26:22], ‘Lord’; Jesus is “Lord” [Php.2]; ‘owner’;

§         μήτι ἐγώ εἰμι – “is it me” [26:22], mhti used when expecting a negative answer;

iii.    Judas’s Question

Judas’s hypocrisy: “then Judas…Master, Is it me?” [26:25].

§         ῥαββί - “Master” [26:25], ‘one who is of higher rank than the speaker’; ‘teacher’; “be not ye called Rabbi[2]: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren” [23:8];

§         μήτι ἐγώ εἰμι – “is it me” [26:25], mhti used when expecting a negative answer;

c.        The Identity    

The identification of the betrayer: “he it is to whom I give a sop…” [Joh.13:26].

§         δώσω - “give” [13:26], ‘to hand over’; ‘to pass on to’;

§         ψωμίον - “sop” [13:26], ‘fragment or morsel’; ‘piece of bread’;

§         βάψω - “dipped” [13:26], future active, ‘to dip in or under’;

i.      The Sop & Friendship

The host at a feast might well dip into the common bowl and pull out a particularly tasty bit and pass it to a guest as a mark of honour and friendship.

§         The evangelist may well be thinking of an early point in the paschal meal when bitter herbs were dipped into a bowl of fruit puree, the haroset sauce of dates, raisins and sour wine.

§         Boaz gives Ruth the place of privilege: “Boaz said to her, At mealtime come thou thither, and eat of the bread, and dip thy morsel in the vinegar…” [Rut.2:14].

ii.    Judas Iscariot  

The last outgoing of the pitiful love of Christ Jesus: “when he had dipped…he gave it to Judas” [13:26].

§         δίδωσιν – “gave” [13:26], present active, ‘to hand over’; ‘to pass on to’;

iii.  The Activity of Satan 2

Second mention of Satan’s activity, during the Passover celebration: “Now after the (sop) piece of bread, Satan entered into him…” [Jn.13:26-27].

§         σατανᾶς - “Satan” [13:27], ‘the adversary’; ‘the devil’;

§         εἰσῆλθεν -  “entered” [13:27], aorist active, ‘to move into’; ‘to begin with the focus on the initial stages of activity’;

§         Jesus’ words: “the said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly” [Jn.13:27].

§         Judas’ action: “he then having received the sop went out immediately: and it was night” [Jn.13:30].

d.        The Decision

Jesus puts Judas in the place of decision; he must make up his mind either to respond to Jesus’ good will, and so repent of his plan to betray him, or to spurn it and carry out his intention: “that thou doest, do quickly” [13:27].

§         ποιεῖς - “do” [13:27], singular present active, ‘do a work’; ‘perform an action’;

§         τάχιον - “do quickly” [13:27], ‘promptly’; ‘without delay’;.


Everything that until now has awaited fulfilment becomes real; the bread prophecy of Psalm 41, the Satan-inspired plan to betray Jesus [13:2], Satan himself moving into action.

§         The soul of Jesus yearned in pity for Judas at the ‘abyss that now opened before him’: “woe unto that man…” [26:24].

§         Transition: “he then having received the sop went immediately out: and it was night” [Jn.13:30].

§         He cut himself off from “the light of the world” [Joh.8:12].

§         He was in darkness: “he went out and it was night” [Joh.13:30].


1.        The Garden of Gethsemane

Jesus proceeded with the disciples to the Garden of Gethsemane:

§         Testing of Jesus: “O my Father, if it be possible…” [26:39].

§         Failure of the disciples: “Sleep on now…” [26:45].

§         Jesus’ resolve: “Rise, let us be going…” [26:46].

§         Familiar place: “Jesus oftentimes resorted thither with his disciples” [Joh.18:2].

2.        The Public Betrayal

a.        The Identification

The pre-arranged signal: “whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he…” [26:48].

§         σημεῖον - “sign” [26:48], ‘something by which another thing is designated and known’;

§         φιλήσω - “kiss” [26:48], from phílos, ‘loved, dear, friend’; ‘to love’; ‘to kiss’ possibly as a sing of familial-like affection’;

§         κρατήσατε - “hold fast” [26:48], aorist active imperative, ‘to be strong’; ‘to seize, arrest’;

b.        The Confrontation

The confrontation: “Hail, Master, and kissed him” [26:49].

§         χαῖρε - “hail” [26:49], ‘to rejoice, be glad’; ‘greetings’; “the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured…” [Luk.1:28];

§         ῥαββί - “Master”[3] [26:49], ‘one who is of higher rank than the speaker’; ‘teacher’; “be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren” [23:8];

§         κατεφίλησεν - “kissed” [26:49], ‘to kiss fervently’; from katá, an intensive, and philéō, ‘to love, kiss’; ‘to kiss eagerly, affectionately, or repeatedly’;


‘In any group of teacher and disciples the disciple was never permitted to greet his teacher first, since this implied equality. Judas’ sign, therefore, was not only a final repudiation of his relationship with Jesus and a signal to the mob, but also a studied insult.

3.        Jesus’ Response

a.        The Address

Jesus’ response: “Friend, wherefore art thou come…” [26:50].

§         ἑταῖρε - “friend” [26:50], ‘companion, friend, comrade’;

§         ἐφʼ - “wherefore” [26:50], basic meaning ‘on’;

§         πάρει - “come” [26:50], ‘to be present’; ‘to arrive’;

b.        The Interpretation

There are various ways of interpreting the words ἐφʼ πάρει:

§         Taking the relative as an interrogative: ‘Why have you come’?

§         The words can be understood as a statement with an implied command: ‘What you have come to do, do it!’

§         Another possible understanding is to take the words quite literally as a comment of resigned disappointment: ‘for this you come!’

§         The words reflect at once disappointment in Judas, a further stage of resignation to the will of God that will take him to his death, and a yielding to the final act of the story.

§         In view of Matthew’s portrayal of Jesus as master of the situation it seems more likely that Jesus is telling Judas ‘to get on with the job’.


As Peter represents the community of faith, Judas represents those who reject Jesus’ sacrificial gift and its concomitant demand for service to others.

§         Not to accept Jesus’ death for us is to betray him, to leave the community of faith and embrace the darkness [Joh.3:30].

§         Judas betrayed Jesus in the quietness and seclusion of the Garden: “not on the day of the feast, lest there be an uproar among the people” [26:5].

§         Since the authorities knew Jesus by face the approach with a kiss was more than simple identification; it was calculated to allay suspicion and to point out Jesus in the surrounding darkness.


1.        The Remorse

Although we read that “Satan entered the heart” of Judas, it was only temporary; he still had a conscience working in him.

a.        The Guilty Conscience

The guilty conscience of Judas: “then Judas, which had betrayed him…” [27:3].

§         μεταμεληθεὶς - “repented” [27:3], from metá, denoting change of place or condition, and mélomai, ‘to be concerned’; ‘to regret’; ‘to regret, have remorse’;

§         ἥμαρτον – “sinned” [27:3], ‘to miss the mark’;

§         παραδοὺς - “betrayed” [27:3], aorist active participle, ‘hand over, deliver up’;

§         ἀθῷον - “innocent” [27:2], ‘one without guilt’;

b.        The Desire to Undo

The return: “cast down the pieces of silver…” [27:5].

§         ἔστρεψεν - “brought again” [27:3], ‘to turn’; ‘to change’;

§         ῥίψας - “cast down” [27:5], ‘throw’; ‘hurl with force’;

2.        The Hopelessness

a.        No Peace

The hopelessness of Judas’s position: “departed and went and hanged himself” [27:5].

§         ἀπελθὼν - “went” [27:5], ‘to go away, depart’;

§         ἀπήγξατο - “hanged himself” [27:5], ‘to strangle oneself by hanging’;

b.        The Scripture Fulfilled

The burial place: “bought with them the potter’s field…” [27:7].

§         ἠγόρασαν - “bought” [27:7], ‘buy in the market place’;

§         κεραμέως - “potter’s field” [27:7], ‘one who makes clay vessels’;

§         ξένοις - “strangers” [27:7], ‘foreigner, alien’; ‘one not of one’s family’;

c.        No The Hopelessness

The sad end of Judas: “and falling headlong, he burst open in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out” [Acts 1:18].

§         The solemn impossibility: “it is impossible…to renew them again to repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame” [Heb.6:6].

§         The painful eternity: “how much sorer punishment, suppose you, shall he be thought worthy of, who has trodden under foot the Son of God, and has counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and has done despite to the Spirit of grace” [Heb.10:29].



[1] H L Willmington; Willmington’s Bible Handbook.

[2] In Matthew’s Gospel the only disciple who calls Jesus “rabbi” is Judas Iscariot, and he does so twice: (i) at the supper table, when he responds to Jesus’ announcement of the presence of a traitor in the company [26:25]; and (ii) in Gethsemane, where the “Greetings, rabbi!” which accompanies his kiss is the sign to the temple police that Jesus is the person to arrest [26:49].

[3] See Footnote 1

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