Christian Beliefs And Culture

Judas Iscariot Good Guy or Bad Guy – Bad guy

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To say that Judas Iscariot is a bad guy is an understatement. Dante confined him to the lowest level in Hell in his Inferno. The question to be answered is whether Judas was worse than any other man. The Biblical view of mankind in general is that he is as bad as he can be, because he is alienated from God by sin. All men are under the judgment of God, separated, and in need of salvation. But Judas Iscariot might well have been the worst of the worst. To answer this question we need to consider what the Scriptures have to say about Judas to see what indications we can find of his character.

The first indication of Judas' personality can probably be found in his name. Without exception, each time he is mentioned he always has two names, Judas Iscariot. The first is a name and the second, Iscariot, is a location. The village of Cariot was south of Jerusalem, composed of the purest blood Jews, and they were known to be the most prejudiced in the entire kingdom. Judas was the only purebred Jew in the group of the disciples, and may well have joined the band of disciples for that reason. He was looking for a kingdom, and no doubt, felt that as a right hand man of the Messiah he would be in a good position to exert power.

It did not take long for Judas to realize that while he was looking for a kingdom, he had no desire to have a king. Instead of starting a revolution, Jesus talked about self denial and offering himself as a sacrifice for sin. That was really not what Judas had bargained for.

The Gospel of John says something further about Judas. He became upset when the woman broke a very expensive alabaster box and anointed the head of Jesus. This is a unique story. An alabaster box usually contained a very precious ointment, sealed inside a container. To utilize the ointment, you had to break the box and the aroma of the precious ointment would fill the room. To put it another way, the ointment was no good to anyone else until it became no good to its owner. Her act was one of devotion and selflessness, denoting the fact that to be of service to Christ one must be broken to self.

Judas became enraged at her act. "Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor? This he said that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein." Somewhere along the way Judas got disgruntled with the Lord's call for self sacrifice and "denying yourself" to follow him. As treasurer of the group, he began to pilfer or steal money from the disciples, planning to buy his own kingdom.

He ends up selling Christ out to the High Priest for twenty pieces of silver. Good deal? Not really, twenty pieces of silver was the price for the most broken down slave in the marketplace. This shows the exasperation Judas was feeling for the teachings of Christ. He sells out cheap.

Was Judas ever a believer? No, Jesus says repeatedly that one of the twelve was a devil from the beginning. Judas then goes out to the land he has purchased with the money he has stolen and hangs himself and the Scriptures say that "he went to his own place." Acts 1 calls Judas the "son of perdition."

The Scripture declares that his epitaph should read, "It would have been better if he had never been born." And thus Judas earns his reputation as the perpetrator of history's greatest crime, to betray the Son of God into the hands of his executors. No one in history was ever more notorious that Judas Iscariot.

More about this author: Dr. Michael Smith

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