Friday, February 3, 2017

Block 48 Judas Iscariot

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Truly I say to you that one of you will betray Me.’Matthew 26:21
Arguably, one of the most despised characters in the Bible, Judas Iscariot, son of Simon Iscariot, was one of Jesus’ friends and disciples.  His birth defines one of the differences between Judas and the other disciples who were all Galileans.  The Bible tells us very little of Judas Iscariot’s call to ministry or share of ministry and miracles.  In fact, every time he is mentioned in the Bible, his betrayal is also referenced.
During the last supper, Jesus predicted that one of the twelve disciples would betray him. We can only imagine what they were thinking as they looked around trying to guess who the betrayer would be.  According to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, Judas Iscariot agreed to betray Jesus by handing him over to the chief priests for 30 pieces of silver.  Judas identified Jesus by giving him a kiss on the cheek.  After Jesus died, Judas repented, returned the coins by throwing them on the temple floor and committed suicide by hanging himself in shame.

Why did Judas betray Jesus?  Matthew (26:15) implies that greed was the driving force behind the betrayal.  John (13:27) suggests that Satan caused Judas to betray Jesus.  Regardless of WHY he betrayed Jesus, Judas Iscariot will forever by brandished with the moniker “the betrayer.”  In fact, the word “Judas” is frequently used to describe anyone who betrays another. 

There are two sides to every coin, however.  In the early 70’s, the “Gospel of Judas” was discovered near a cave in El Minya, Egypt.  The document, a Gnostic text, was translated and presented to the public in April 2006.  The document claims that Jesus asked his friend Judas to hand him over in fulfillment of prophecy, allowing Jesus to shed his earthly body and ascend to heaven.  The document also states that the planned betrayal would set Judas apart from the other disciples and assure him a special place in heaven.  The document has been determined to be authentic, but not accepted as divine revelation, so don’t expect an addition to the New Testament any time soon.

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