Judas Iscariot is one character in the Bible that has always depicted greed and deceit among believers. To date, many condemn the decisions that the scriptures imply he made. His betrayal was the highlight of Jesus’ end times on earth, and many Christians still wonder, ‘how did Jesus meet Judas Iscariot?’
According to religious scholars and spiritual leaders, Judas Iscariot was introduced to Jesus by other disciples. Not much is mentioned in the scriptures about how they met, but other spiritual books suggest that he was a follower of John the Baptist and followed Jesus when John died.
Why did Jesus choose Judas Iscariot? What did Judas do before he met Jesus? And if Jesus is truly the Son of God, why didn’t he stop Judas from betraying him, yet he knew about the betrayal? Let’s see biblical evidence and responses from religious scholars about the answers to these and other related questions.
Where in the Bible is Judas Iscariot first mentioned?
Judas Iscariot is a character introduced in the Gospel of Matthew 10:4, where Jesus sent out his 12 disciples with instructions to save the lost sheep of Israel. Mark 3:19 also mentions his name among the other disciples appointed by Jesus to preach to sinners and bring them to him. Later, the Gospel of John reveals that Judas was the Son of Simon Iscariot.
What was Jesus’ relationship with Judas Iscariot?
Although Judas Iscariot is not mentioned as much in the Bible as the rest is, the scriptures imply that when Jesus sent out his twelve disciples to drive out impure spirits and perform teachings, they did so and healed many sick people. Mark 6:12-13 says, They went out and preached that people should repent. They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them. At no point is Judas Iscariot highlighted for failing to follow Jesus’ instructions.
However, religious scholars assert that Judas might never have believed Jesus was the Messiah (John 6:64). They back this with biblical evidence that suggests all other disciples would call Jesus ‘Lord.’ Still, Judas only called him ‘Rabbi’ to mean teacher. It suggests that he saw him as nothing more than a teacher. Other disciples also professed their loyalty and faith to Jesus (John 6:68, 11:16). However, Judas was always quiet. His actions imply that he did not take Jesus as seriously as the rest did.
Yet John 12:6 suggests that Judas Iscariot was the keeper of the apostles’ moneybag. This position needed a trustworthy man with integrity. However, the scriptures still imply that he struggled with greed and helped himself to what was in the moneybag. This must have been the sin that most disturbed him since it is also what the Bible implies led to him betraying Jesus.
Religious scholars believe that his relationship with Jesus was, therefore, weak. They argue that he not only failed to believe in Jesus but also failed to associate with Jesus at a closer level. The gospels mention the 12 apostles in the same order, with minimal changes throughout the Bible. Interestingly, this list usually starts with the most loved, Peter, James, and John, who were close to Jesus, and ends with Judas Iscariot. For this reason, many imply that Judas had no personal relationship with Jesus.
Judas is only mentioned engaging with Jesus when he made a greed-motivated remark to Mary, who was washing Jesus’ feet, and thus Jesus told him off (John 12:1-7). We also see him denying Jesus’ prediction that he would betray Jesus (Matthew 26:25) and finally betraying Jesus to the soldiers (Luke 22:48).
What did Judas Iscariot do before he met Jesus?
The Word does not mention how Jesus approached Judas Iscariot and asked that he follows him as he did with other disciples. Instead, we see and hear very few things about Judas throughout the scriptures. John 6:71 only suggests that Judas was the Son of Simon Iscariot. Religious scholars imply that the name Iscariot is a Greek word meaning ‘the man from Kerioth.’ According to Joshua 15:25, Kerioth was a town in the South of Judah. So many religious scholars argue that Judas was the lone disciple who did not come from Galilee but from the Jews.
Yet the Urantia, a religious book, implies that Judas came from wealthy Jewish parents living in Jericho. It suggests that he was a follower of John the Baptist, and after John’s death, while he was looking for employment, Jesus’ apostles found him. The book further insinuates that at the time, his parents had disowned him for following John, hence was struggling to get finances. The Urantia further insinuates he had been working in his father’s enterprises and was spoiled and pampered. So, since he was good in financial matters, he was finally given the role of the disciples’ moneybag keeper.
If Jesus knew Judas would betray him, why did he choose him as a disciple?
Believers forget that the role of Jesus, according to the Bible, was to come into the world and save everyone from sin. John 3:16 explains this context further. It implies, For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. While giving controversial teaching to his disciples, the Bible implies that many deserted him that day, and he remained with his twelve. Peter told him they would not leave him, but Jesus mentioned that one of them would betray him and called this person a devil (John 6:71).
According to John 6:64, Judas was an unbeliever, a thief (John 12:6), and spiritually unclean (John 13:10). Yet Jesus still chose him and even allowed him to hold a high position in the group. Judas did not fool Jesus because he knew what would happen from the beginning.
He chose Judah to fulfill the prophecies made about his betrayal. Psalm 41:9 implies, Even my close friend, someone I trusted, one who shared my bread, has turned against me.
He also chose Judah so that God’s sovereign plan is accomplished. During a sermon by Peter, he suggests in Acts 2:23, This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. This just shows that Jesus’ betrayal was known beforehand, and it had to happen for God to be glorified. Believers further insinuate that through Jesus’ death, God forgave their sins, and they gained eternal life. If Jesus’ betrayal had not occurred, Jesus would not have died and risen again, and God’s plan would not have been fulfilled. So Judas is seen as an essential character in the Bible, as he had to make everything fall into place. Through his evil deed, good came out of it.
Did Jesus pray before choosing Judas Iscariot?
According to the Bible, Jesus went up to the mountain to pray and came down the next day and selected his twelve disciples. Luke 6:12-13 implies that one of those days, Jesus went to a mountainside to pray and spent the night praying to God. When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles. This implies that Jesus prayed before choosing all his disciples, including Judas Iscariot. He needed to communicate with God so that he can get guidance on the task ahead.
- Judas Iscariot
- Peter and Judas: A Tale of Two Betrayals
- Why did Judas betray Jesus?
- After Prayer, Jesus Selects the Twelve Apostles
- WHAT WAS JESUS DOING PRAYING
- If God knows everything, and Jesus is God, why did He choose Judas as one of His disciples if He knew he would betray Him?
- Why did Jesus choose Judas?
- Who Was Judas Iscariot? His Selection and Duties As An Apostle
- Judas Iscariot
They say that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, right? Being raised by Christians significantly impacted my life since I started professing Christ from a young age. My passion for the Christian faith made me pursue a degree in Religious studies and a Masters in Theology. I am a believer and pastor dedicated to spreading the word of God. I have been in the Christian ministry for over a decade and am currently ministering in Life Christian Church. I have also been privileged to teach 4 Christian courses in a college and university. Please check the About Us Page for more details.