Judas: The Betrayer

John 6:70-71

Jesus answered them, "Did I not choose you, the twelve, and one of you is a devil?" 71 He spoke of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, for it was he who would betray Him, being one of the twelve.


If you are looking for a mysterious verse, this will do. If Jesus knew that Judas would betray Him, they why choose him? And then you ask how did Jesus know that Judas would betray Him? Was it something that was destined to happen because Judas just could not help himself? And how could Judas never have been a believer those three years and the others have never known it?

What is so strange is that many of the popular books and movies about Judas and Jesus often put Judas in a very good light. It is as though we need to psychoanalyze him rather than admit he was just evil.

1.         What was his potential?

            a.         Judas not doubt had potential, at least as much as the rest of them.

            b.         We do not know what he did before he was chosen to be one of the twelve.

            c.         He was made the treasurer of the group even though Matthew was no doubt more suited to deal with money.

                        i.         But this only got him into more trouble.

                        ii.        For he was then tempted to take money that belonged to the group and use it for his own purposes.

                        iii.       Do you ever wonder if Jesus spoke directly to Judas concerning concering his greed.

            d.         He no doubt had a lot of potential.

            e.         Judas might have become a great apostle.

            f.         No one suspected Judas, he seems to be a very trusted disciple.

            g.         He no doubt had done miracles like the others.

2.         Why did he go wrong?

            a.         There are any number of ideas about that.

                        i.         Jesus says that He had chosen him even though He knew that he would betray Him.

                        ii.        He is referred to as the son of perdition.

                        iii.       One idea is that he was a zealot and when he found out the Jesus was not going to do what the zealots wanted he turned Him in.

                        iv.       Another is that he believed that Jesus was the messiah and that if Jesus was forced to act, He would have to manifest His Messianic powers.

                        v.         Another is that he was a thief and that he was all along only in it for the money that he could siphon off the top. And when he saw that that was going to run out that he betrayed Jesus in order to get more money. One of the problems with this is that 30 pieces of silver was not very much money, the price of a slave.

                        vi.       Some think that because he was predestined to betray Jesus, that he was only a robot, in the scheme of things. This of course removes human accountability. We know that that cannot be true.

            b.         The best case is that Judas was just like us before we were converted.

                        i.         He was lost and did not appreciate spiritual things.

                        ii.        No doubt he understood and coveted the miracles. Things that could bring fame and fortune.

                        iii.       Without being born-again he was bound to rebel and leave Jesus at the very least.

                        iv.       James 1:12-15 Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. 13 Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. 14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. 15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death . NKJV

                        v.         Enduring the temptation was what Judas could not do.

                        vi.       He no doubt resisted for some time and at least never gave in to temptations that could reveal his true character.

                        vii.      We notice in verse 13 that James tells us that God never tempts anyone with evil.

                        viii.     So that means that even though Judas will surely betray Jesus, it is all of his own choosing.

                        ix.       Judas did not have to betray Jesus, if he had only submitted to Him.

                        x.         Very few plan to sin all they can, they just fail to determine not to sin at all.

                        xi.       Somehow in Judas, according to James, it was his desires taht took hold of him one day.

                        xii.      He determined to have what it was that he wanted, even at the cost of betraying Jesus.

3.         How did this all unfold?

            a.         We see from several passage that Judas was never converted and is always listed as the one who would betray Jesus.

                        i.         Matt 10:4; Mark 3:19; Luke 6:16

            b.         The first rift we see is in reference to greed.

                        i.         John 12:4-6 4 But one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, who would betray Him, said, 5 "Why was this fragrant oil not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?" 6 This he said, not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had the money box; and he used to take what was put in it. NKJV

                        ii.        The other gospel writers do not list Judas as the instigator of this, but he was.

                        iii.       He no doubt led the others to his way of thinking, even corrupting them.

                        iv.       I think Jesus had often spoken to Judas as he spoke to the multitudes. Matt 6:21 "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. NKJV

            c.         Judas supplied what the Jewish leaders could not get, a secluded place to arrest Jesus and have Him condemned before the multitudes could react.

                        i.         Matt 26:14-16 Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests 15 and said,"What are you willing to give me if I deliver Him to you?" And they counted out to him thirty pieces of silver. 16 So from that time he sought opportunity to betray Him. NKJV

            d.         The difference between Judas and the other apostles was that his heart had never been changed.

                        i.         John 13:10-11 Jesus said to him, "He who is bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you." 11 For He knew who would betray Him; therefore He said, "You are not all clean." NKJV

            e.         Whatever Judas was he was not a disciple of Jesus, a follower.

            f.         God knew what Judas would do and allowed him to be wicked and to betray Jesus to fulfill His plans and purposes, but God did not compel or lead him into sin.

                        i.         There were a number of prophecies that were fulfilled in the betrayal.

4.         We also see that Judas gave Satan control over his life.

            a.         John 13:26-28 26 Jesus answered, "It is he to whom I shall give a piece of bread when I have dipped it." And having dipped the bread, He gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. 27 Now after the piece of bread, Satan entered him. Then Jesus said to him, "What you do, do quickly." NKJV

5.         When are we like Judas?

            a.         We are like Judas whenever we follow Jesus as long as He fills some need we have and we stop when He does not.

            b.         We are like Judas when we would deny Jesus if monetary gain is the outcome.

6.         If we do these things:

            a.         We will never find peace.

            b.         We will never find satisfaction.

            c.         We will end up remorseful and despondent.

            d.         We will always be living in the face of what we wish we had not done.

            e.         We will be angry at others for helping us in our rebellion but that will not change anything.

            f.         We will like Judas go to our own place.


We can never be sure on many of these. But there is some possibility in each one.

There were a number of prophecies that were fulfilled in the betrayal.