Biblical People

Biblical People: Judas (1) Iscariot

Last on our list of twelve disciples is the notorious one. His name is Judas, often called Judas Iscariot. His father is Simon (7) Iscariot. 

We know Judas for his betrayal of Jesus. Some passages in the Bible call him a traitor. That’s a more fitting term. He agrees to turn on Jesus and help the religious authorities arrest him. He does this for thirty pieces of silver. Money matters more to him than loyalty.

Judas also serves as treasurer for Team Jesus. And he is a dishonest one, often skimming funds from the community purse for his personal use. Though he sometimes pretends to care about the needs of the poor, his motives are selfish.

This is because each time they give money to the poor, the balance in their fund drops, making it harder for Judas to steal from what is left.

Later, when Jesus eats the Passover meal with his disciples, he says that one of them will turn him in. When they wonder who, Jesus says it’s the one he’ll give the bread to. He dips the bread into something and hands it to Judas.

Then Jesus tells Judas to “go do it quickly.” The disciples miss this and assume Jesus is telling Judas to give money to the poor. Instead Judas leaves to lead the mob to arrest Jesus.

After Jesus is executed, grief overcomes Judas from the results of his actions. He hangs himself in remorse.

Had Judas not killed himself, might Jesus have offered mercy and restored him into right relationship with the group just like he did for Peter?

We serve a God who offers second chances, but do we forget that? Do we ever take God’s second chances for granted?

[Discover more about Judas in Matthew 10:2–4, Matthew 27:1–10, John 12:4–6, and John 13:18–30.]

Read more about other biblical characters in The Friends and Foes of Jesus, now available in e-book, paperback, and hardcover.

A lifelong student of the Bible, Peter DeHaan, PhD, wrote the 1,000-page website to encourage people to explore the Bible. His main blog and many books urge Christians to push past the status quo and reconsider how they practice their faith in every area of their lives.

By Peter DeHaan

Peter writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and make a faith that matters. Learn more at