Judas Iscariot Characteristics
Characteristics of Judas Iscariot through time always made people have mixed feelings about Judas. Some experience a sense of hatred toward him, others feel pity, and some have even considered him a hero.
No matter how you react to Judas, one thing is sure; believers can benefit greatly by taking a serious look at his life.
During Jesus’ public ministry, Judas traveled everywhere with Him and lived in close proximity to Him but never seemed to share His spirit.
Some have suggested that Jesus got His directions wrong in choosing Judas to be one of His disciples.
Following the characteristics of the 12 apostles, this cannot possibly be so; however, one of Christ’s divine qualities was His ability to know what was in every man (see John 2:25).
Whatever was His reason for choosing Judas, we can be sure it was not because of a mistake.
Judas Iscariot Characteristics
Having chosen Judas to be one of the disciples, Jesus gives him a trust position as keeper of the common purse. However, he proved to be unworthy of that trust, taking for himself the money that had been donated to support Jesus and the disciples.
Judas’ greed and hypocrisy were also shown by his willingness to betray the Son of God for the price of a slave (Exodus 21:32) and in his pretended concern for the welfare of the poor when he criticized Mary of Bethany for anointing Jesus’ feet with costly ointment.
His continued presence in the apostolic band must have daily involved him in hypocrisy as his heart became increasingly turned away from Jesus.
The Gospel writers, on almost every occasion, when Judas’ name is mentioned, refer to him as the betrayer of Jesus. The betrayal of Christ was indeed a heinous crime, and there can be no doubt that Judas acted as the instrument of Satan in perpetrating it.
In fact, in one place, Jesus describes Judas as a devil (John 6:70), and it appears that Satan entered into him following his rejection of Jesus’ final gesture of love at the Last Supper (John 13:27). Jesus also describes him as “the son of perdition” (John 12:17, RSV), and nothing good is ever said about him except, perhaps, that he was capable of feeling remorse after seeing the result of his evil crime.
Jesus, being the person He was the divine Son of God, knew both the strengths and weaknesses of every one of His disciples. He took steps also to alert them to the evil possibilities that lay deep in their hearts.
When Peter insisted that he would never deny Him, Jesus tried to prepare him for the next hours by telling him that he would deny Him, not just once or twice, but three times.
He does something similar with Judas Iscariot on the eve of His betrayal as if He wants to allow him to repent of his evil intentions. As we know, however, Judas is so bent on evil that he remains unmoved even when treated as an honored guest at the Last Supper.
Iscariot is understood to be equivalent to ish-Kerioth, that is, “man of Kerioth.” Kerioth was a town in South Judea. The other disciples were all from Galilee. The southern Jews regarded the northerners with a certain superiority.
Is it possible that some of this spirit of superiority alienated Judas from his fellow disciples? If it did, it is psychologically probable that Judas would attribute the lack of sympathy to them. They would appear reserved and withdrawn, and in his view, he would seem the injured one. Such blindness is almost invariably characteristic of the pride which causes estrangement.
Following the raising of Lazarus from the dead, the high priest and the Jewish leaders were deeply concerned that Jesus might recruit more followers to His cause and determined to put Him to death. Jesus’ high level of popularity at this time, however, meant that they must go about their plans with great care and caution. Judas’ offer of betrayal was an opportunity that was too good to miss.
His knowledge of Jesus’ movements would enable him to lead the soldiers to a place where they could arrest Him without too much of the populace is aware of it. In the Garden of Gethsemane, Judas greets Jesus with the word “Master!” followed by a spurious show of affection, which results in Christ’s arrest.
Once Christ has been condemned, and it becomes obvious that He is to die on a cross, the full weight of what he has done bursts in upon Judas’ conscience. Returning to the temple, he pleads with the priests to take back the money, confessing,
“I have betrayed innocent blood” (v. 4, NIV).
They coldly reply that his problems are his affair and that it means nothing to them.
Judas then throws the thirty pieces of silver at their feet and, overcome by remorse, goes out and hangs himself. He has served the priests’ unholy enterprise, and, having no further use for him, they abandon him to the inferno which his rejection of Christ has made inevitable.
As a result of Judas’ suicide, the number of disciples is reduced to eleven. Peter quotes prophecies from the Scripture, which, under the Holy Spirit’s inspiration, applies to Judas. These Scriptures (Psalm 69:25 & 109:8) show that a suitable person should fill the vacant office the qualifications being that he should have accompanied the apostles during the time of Jesus’ public ministry and that he was a witness of the Resurrection.
Two candidates are selected and, after prayer, lots are cast. The one on whom the lot falls is Saint Matthias, who then becomes the twelfth apostle. Nothing more is said of Matthias as an individual, only corporately as one of the twelve.
Summary Characteristics of Judas Iscariot
Judas Iscariot is always the last disciple placed on the list of twelve. Judas Iscariot is often referred to as Judas the Betrayer, and he is known and will forever be known for the one act of betrayal of the Lord.
Judas was the disciple who did not truly believe in the love of Jesus, and when the chief priests were looking for a way to arrest Jesus, Judas provided them with that way by identifying Jesus with a kiss in return for thirty pieces of silver. Judas is frequently referred to as the only disciple who was separated from God in his death as he never had salvation due to his betrayal, thievery, and lies.
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