Judas Iscariot

INTRODUCTION: The Lord Jesus chose twelve men to follow him during his public ministry, and he also sent them out to preach with authority to heal sickness and cast out demons. We know that not all twelve tribes of Israel were represented since there were pairs of brothers among the twelve apostles. They were identified only with names of parents or their region of residence, and not by tribe. These men were not part of any established religious leadership group, and they were not respected by those leaders. One of the chosen apostles became a traitor in fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies; and Jesus spoke about the traitor, without revealing his identity. This study is a brief overview about Judas Iscariot, who was with the other apostles until he finally betrayed Jesus to the chief priests.

NOTE: Bible verses are from the World English Bible.


A - THE CALLING OF THE TWELVE APOSTLES

Matthew 10 "1 He called to himself his twelve disciples, and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every sickness. 2 Now the names of the twelve apostles are these. The first, Simon, who is called Peter; Andrew, his brother; James the son of Zebedee; John, his brother; 3 Philip; Bartholomew; Thomas; Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus; Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus; 4 Simon the Canaanite; and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him."

Mark 3 "13 He went up into the mountain, and called to himself those whom he wanted, and they went to him. 14 He appointed twelve, that they might be with him, and that he might send them out to preach, 15 and to have authority to heal sicknesses and to cast out demons: 16 Simon, to whom he gave the name Peter; 17 James the son of Zebedee; John, the brother of James, and he surnamed them Boanerges, which means, Sons of Thunder; 18 Andrew; Philip; Bartholomew; Matthew; Thomas; James, the son of Alphaeus; Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot; 19 and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him. He came into a house."

Luke 6 "12 It happened in these days, that he went out to the mountain to pray, and he continued all night in prayer to God. 13 When it was day, he called his disciples, and from them he chose twelve, whom he also named apostles: 14 Simon, whom he also named Peter; Andrew, his brother; James; John; Philip; Bartholomew; 15 Matthew; Thomas; James, the son of Alphaeus; Simon, who was called the Zealot; 16 Judas the son of James; and Judas Iscariot, who also became a traitor."

COMMENTS: Each of the three "synoptic" gospel accounts have some exclusive detail about the appointing of the twelve apostles by the Lord. Only Luke tells us that Jesus continued all night in the mountain in prayer to God. When it was day, he called his disciples, and from them he chose twelve, whom he also named apostles. Mark mentions the mountain and says Jesus called whom he wanted and when they went to him, he appointed twelve, that they might be with him. Matthew and Mark both stated that Jesus would send them out to preach, and to have authority to heal sickness and to cast out demons. But in all three gospels Judas Iscariot was named last and it was said of him "who also betrayed him" or "who also became a traitor." Matthew, Mark, and Luke all provide much information about Jesus and some of the apostles prior to these passages, but the fact that Judas Iscariot would be the traitor was not known by the other eleven until that very night after the betrayal.


B - THE TWELVE WERE SENT OUT TO PREACH ABOUT THE KINGDOM OF GOD

Matthew 10 "5 Jesus sent these twelve out, and commanded them, saying, "Don't go among the Gentiles, and don't enter into any city of the Samaritans. 6 Rather, go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7 As you go, preach, saying, 'The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!' 8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, and cast out demons. Freely you received, so freely give. 9 Don't take any gold, nor silver, nor brass in your money belts. 10 Take no bag for your journey, neither two coats, nor shoes, nor staff: for the labourer is worthy of his food. 11 Into whatever city or village you enter, find out who in it is worthy; and stay there until you go on. 12 As you enter into the household, greet it. 13 If the household is worthy, let your peace come on it, but if it isn't worthy, let your peace return to you. 14 Whoever doesn't receive you, nor hear your words, as you go out of that house or that city, shake off the dust from your feet. 15 Most certainly I tell you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city."

Mark 6 "7 He called to himself the twelve, and began to send them out two by two; and he gave them authority over the unclean spirits. 8 He commanded them that they should take nothing for their journey, except a staff only: no bread, no wallet, no money in their purse, 9 but to wear sandals, and not put on two tunics. 10 He said to them, "Wherever you enter into a house, stay there until you depart from there. 11 Whoever will not receive you nor hear you, as you depart from there, shake off the dust that is under your feet for a testimony against them. Assuredly, I tell you, it will be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city!" 12 They went out and preached that people should repent. 13 They cast out many demons, and anointed many with oil who were sick, and healed them."

Luke 9 "1 He called the twelve together, and gave them power and authority over all demons, and to cure diseases. 2 He sent them forth to preach the Kingdom of God, and to heal the sick. 3 He said to them, "Take nothing for your journeyŚneither staffs, nor wallet, nor bread, nor money; neither have two coats apiece. 4 Into whatever house you enter, stay there, and depart from there. 5 As many as don't receive you, when you depart from that city, shake off even the dust from your feet for a testimony against them." 6 They departed, and went throughout the villages, preaching the Good News, and healing everywhere."

COMMENTS: All three of these gospels clearly state that Jesus gave to the twelve apostles great authority over demons, and power to heal many sicknesses. The gospel of Mark provides the extra detail that they were sent out in pairs, so none of them served Jesus in this particular assignment independently. Matthew records that they were clearly directed to go only to the house of Israel, and not to go to Samaritans or Gentiles. They were very successful in the work they had been given by the Lord. We cannot know whether the apostles personally considered application to themselves what Jesus had said, that it would be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah in the judgment than for those who would not receive them or hear them. The message they shared is critical for every person. The only way for anyone to receive the gift of eternal life is through the righteousness of Christ by grace through faith. Among other passages, we know from Romans 3 "10 As it is written, "There is no one righteous; no, not one."" And in that passage, Paul was affirming the truth from Old Testament scripture when he said, "it is written."


C - MOST JEWS WANTED A KING TO FREE THEM FROM ROME

John 6 "11 Jesus took the loaves; and having given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to those who were sitting down; likewise also of the fish as much as they desired. 12 When they were filled, he said to his disciples, "Gather up the broken pieces which are left over, that nothing be lost." 13 So they gathered them up, and filled twelve baskets with broken pieces from the five barley loaves, which were left over by those who had eaten. 14 When therefore the people saw the sign which Jesus did, they said, "This is truly the prophet who comes into the world." 15 Jesus therefore, perceiving that they were about to come and take him by force, to make him king, withdrew again to the mountain by himself."

John 6 "25 When they found him on the other side of the sea, they asked him, "Rabbi, when did you come here?" 26 Jesus answered them, "Most certainly I tell you, you seek me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves, and were filled. 27 Don't work for the food which perishes, but for the food which remains to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For God the Father has sealed him." 28 They said therefore to him, "What must we do, that we may work the works of God?" 29 Jesus answered them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.""

John 6 "41 The Jews therefore murmured concerning him, because he said, "I am the bread which came down out of heaven." 42 They said, "Isn't this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How then does he say, 'I have come down out of heaven?'" 43 Therefore Jesus answered them, "Don't murmur among yourselves. 44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up in the last day. 45 It is written in the prophets, 'They will all be taught by God.' Therefore everyone who hears from the Father, and has learned, comes to me. 46 Not that anyone has seen the Father, except he who is from God. He has seen the Father. 47 Most certainly, I tell you, he who believes in me has eternal life.""

COMMENTS: Many of the Jews knew that Moses and the prophets had written about a Messiah who would come, but their expectations were mixed with a desire common to all for a society of comfort and security in this life. In the passage above beginning at verse 25, there seemed to be little understanding of Messiah as the true Son of God who would offer eternal life to those who put their faith in him. When Jesus was the teacher, the message was coming directly from Immanuel, "God with us." .

Beginning in verse 41 The Jews were murmuring and muttering, asking each other how Jesus could claim to have come down from heaven when they said his parents were Joseph and Mary. Jesus knew they were raising such objections, but he went even further and told them no one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up in the last day. Jesus clearly said he was the one they must be drawn to by God, and that he had the power of resurrection to eternal life. As he was teaching them, he also made the statement that it was written in the prophets that "they will all be taught by God." When he said he came from the Father, he was saying he was God teaching them; and when they were drawn to him, they were drawn to God. No one has seen the Father except Jesus who is from God, and Jesus said whoever believes in me has eternal life. The promise that Jesus offered was for eternal life, not for an earthly kingdom.

Jesus did not specifically state that his conception within Mary was by the Holy Spirit, not by Joseph. That conception was one of the many prophecies of the Christ, and all were fulfilled by his appearing. But the failure of religious leaders to recognize Jesus as the Christ of God had previously been evidenced in their conversation with him at a feast time in Jerusalem as prophecy was continuing to be fulfilled before them. John 5 "37 The Father himself, who sent me, has testified about me. You have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his form. 38 You don't have his word living in you; because you don't believe him whom he sent. 39 You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and these are they which testify about me. 40 Yet you will not come to me, that you may have life."


D - THE CHOSEN TWELVE STAYED, BUT ONE OF THEM WOULD BE A TRAITOR

John 6 "58 This is the bread which came down out of heaven - not as our fathers ate the manna, and died. He who eats this bread will live forever." 59 He said these things in the synagogue, as he taught in Capernaum. 60 Therefore many of his disciples, when they heard this, said, "This is a hard saying! Who can listen to it?" 61 But Jesus knowing in himself that his disciples murmured at this, said to them, "Does this cause you to stumble? 62 Then what if you would see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? 63 It is the spirit who gives life. The flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and are life. 64 But there are some of you who don't believe." For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who didn't believe, and who it was who would betray him. 65 He said, "For this cause have I said to you that no one can come to me, unless it is given to him by my Father." 66 At this, many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. 67 Jesus said therefore to the twelve, "You don't also want to go away, do you?" 68 Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 We have come to believe and know that you are the Christ, the Son of the living God." 70 Jesus answered them, "Didn't I choose you, the twelve, and one of you is a devil?" 71 Now he spoke of Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, for it was he who would betray him, being one of the twelve."

COMMENTS: There was an element of faith for the children of Israel to rely on the supply of manna from heaven to keep them well fed in the wilderness after they left Egypt. That was not a natural food source, but something supplied directly by God in a specifically designed manner. When Jesus said "I am the true bread from heaven," that metaphor was very difficult to apply. They had to first believe that Jesus had come from God in heaven, and that saying "unless you eat this bread" would be similar to saying "you must "swallow what I say" as truth. The spirit is the animating force within the physical body, and ignoring the prime importance of that fact will make all efforts to enjoy and preserve our existence in the physical body to be completely worthless. The gift of eternal life by belief in the truth of the Word of God, fully expressed in the Son of God, is for the spirit within us by God's grace, not just for our brief time in the physical body.

In verse 64 the reader is told that Jesus knew from the beginning who would believe his words of spirit and life, and who was to betray him. Jesus told the crowd that no one could come to him except it be given by God the Father. The overall impact of these statements caused many of the disciples of Jesus to stop following him.

When Jesus asked the twelve if they would also leave, Simon Peter addressed Jesus as Lord with the response that there was no other person to follow because Jesus had the words of eternal life. Peter went on to say that they firmly believed Jesus to be the Christ, the Son of the living God. Jesus had a very surprising response when he said he had chosen the twelve, and one of them was a devil. There is no indication that anyone asked at that time, but the written word tells us he spoke of Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, for it was he who would betray him, being one of the twelve.

In another passage, Peter responded to a question, and Jesus said his answer was not from within the capacity of man to know, but was revealed to Peter by the Holy Spirit. Matthew 16 "13 Now when Jesus came into the parts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, "Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?" 14 They said, "Some say John the Baptizer, some, Elijah, and others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets." 15 He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" 16 Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." 17 Jesus answered him, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.""


E - A VERY SPECIAL ANOINTING WITH EXPENSIVE OINTMENT

Matthew 26 "6 Now when Jesus was in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper, 7 a woman came to him having an alabaster jar of very expensive ointment, and she poured it on his head as he sat at the table. 8 But when his disciples saw this, they were indignant, saying, "Why this waste? 9 For this ointment might have been sold for much, and given to the poor." 10 However, knowing this, Jesus said to them, "Why do you trouble the woman? Because she has done a good work for me. 11 For you always have the poor with you; but you don't always have me. 12 For in pouring this ointment on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. 13 Most certainly I tell you, wherever this Good News is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be spoken of as a memorial of her." 14 Then one of the twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests, 15 and said, "What are you willing to give me, that I should deliver him to you?" They weighed out for him thirty pieces of silver. 16 From that time he sought opportunity to betray him."

John 12 "1 Then six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, who had been dead, whom he raised from the dead. 2 So they made him a supper there. Martha served, but Lazarus was one of those who sat at the table with him. 3 Mary, therefore, took a pound of ointment of pure nard, very precious, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the ointment. 4 Then Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, one of his disciples, who would betray him, said, 5 "Why wasn't this ointment sold for three hundred denarii, and given to the poor?" 6 Now he said this, not because he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and having the money box, used to steal what was put into it. 7 But Jesus said, "Leave her alone. She has kept this for the day of my burial. 8 For you always have the poor with you, but you don't always have me.""

COMMENTS: The account in Matthew indicates that more than one disciple complained about the use of this very expensive ointment which could have helped poor people financially. Jesus gave his answer to their complaints, but there is no indication that even the most dedicated of his followers understood how this anointing could be in preparation for his burial. It also must have been surprising to hear Jesus say they would always have the poor with them, but not always have him. Judas Iscariot apparently decided these things were prompting him to go to the chief priests to make a bargain for betrayal of Jesus. The reward they promised was thirty pieces of silver, which fulfilled yet another Old Testament prophecy. John's gospel gives additional facts about the inner motivation of Judas, stating he did not care about the needs of the poor. He also had charge of the money box, and had stolen money from it.


F - THE BETRAYAL WAS SET INTO MOTION

John 13 "1 Now before the feast of the Passover, Jesus, knowing that his time had come that he would depart from this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. 2 During supper, the devil having already put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray him, 3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he came forth from God, and was going to God, 4 arose from supper, and laid aside his outer garments. He took a towel, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5 Then he poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him."

John 13 "18 I don't speak concerning all of you. I know whom I have chosen. But that the Scripture may be fulfilled, 'He who eats bread with me has lifted up his heel against me.' 19 From now on, I tell you before it happens, that when it happens, you may believe that I am he. 20 Most certainly I tell you, he who receives whomever I send, receives me; and he who receives me, receives him who sent me." 21 When Jesus had said this, he was troubled in spirit, and testified, "Most certainly I tell you that one of you will betray me." 22 The disciples looked at one another, perplexed about whom he spoke. 23 One of his disciples, whom Jesus loved, was at the table, leaning against Jesus' breast. 24 Simon Peter therefore beckoned to him, and said to him, "Tell us who it is of whom he speaks." 25 He, leaning back, as he was, on Jesus' breast, asked him, "Lord, who is it?" 26 Jesus therefore answered, "It is he to whom I will give this piece of bread when I have dipped it." So when he had dipped the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. 27 After the piece of bread, then Satan entered into him. Then Jesus said to him, "What you do, do quickly." 28 Now no man at the table knew why he said this to him. 29 For some thought, because Judas had the money box, that Jesus said to him, "Buy what things we need for the feast," or that he should give something to the poor. 30 Therefore, having received that morsel, he went out immediately. It was night."

COMMENTS: Judas Iscariot was among the twelve when Jesus ate with them the last time, and even when he washed their feet as a symbol of complete humility in serving through love. Then the emotion Jesus displayed as the son of man, was demonstrated as he knew the hour had come for him to be betrayed, and for him to return to the Father in heaven. Without revealing the identity, Jesus told all of them that one of the twelve would betray him. Judas Iscariot was that traitor who was not able to keep from falling away even though he had been a chosen apostle for over three years. But the other eleven did not remain loyal to Jesus through their own merit. They were confused, disappointed, and dispersed when Jesus was taken prisoner and crucified. But they had the grace gift of faith from God to see the resurrected Christ, and to be empowered by the Holy Spirit to begin the spread of the gospel in various ways despite all opposition and danger to themselves.


G - JESUS LOST NOT EVEN ONE GIVEN TO HIM BY THE FATHER

John 17 "11 I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them through your name which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are. 12 While I was with them in the world, I kept them in your name. Those whom you have given me I have kept. None of them is lost, except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. 13 But now I come to you, and I say these things in the world, that they may have my joy made full in themselves. 14 I have given them your word. The world hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 15 I pray not that you would take them from the world, but that you would keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world even as I am not of the world."

John 17 "24 Father, I desire that they also whom you have given me be with me where I am, that they may see my glory, which you have given me, for you loved me before the foundation of the world. 25 Righteous Father, the world hasn't known you, but I knew you; and these knew that you sent me. 26 I made known to them your name, and will make it known; that the love with which you loved me may be in them, and I in them."
[Chapter 18 begins immediately after the above verse 26.]

John 18 "1 When Jesus had spoken these words, he went out with his disciples over the brook Kidron, where there was a garden, into which he and his disciples entered. 2 Now Judas, who betrayed him, also knew the place, for Jesus often met there with his disciples. 3 Judas then, having taken a detachment of soldiers and officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, came there with lanterns, torches, and weapons. 4 Jesus therefore, knowing all the things that were happening to him, went forth, and said to them, "Who are you looking for?" 5 They answered him, "Jesus of Nazareth." Jesus said to them, "I am he." Judas also, who betrayed him, was standing with them. 6 When therefore he said to them, "I am he," they went backward, and fell to the ground. 7 Again therefore he asked them, "Who are you looking for?" They said, "Jesus of Nazareth." 8 Jesus answered, "I told you that I am he. If therefore you seek me, let these go their way," 9 that the word might be fulfilled which he spoke, "Of those whom you have given me, I have lost none." 10 Simon Peter therefore, having a sword, drew it, and struck the high priest's servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant's name was Malchus. 11 Jesus therefore said to Peter, "Put the sword into its sheath. The cup which the Father has given me, shall I not surely drink it?" 12 So the detachment, the commanding officer, and the officers of the Jews, seized Jesus and bound him, 13 and led him to Annas first, for he was father-in-law to Caiaphas, who was high priest that year."

COMMENTS: In the closing passages from John chapter 17, Judas Iscariot had already left to betray Jesus into the hands of those who hated him. Jesus showed how much he loved the eleven as he prays to the Father in thanksgiving knowing that the eleven would join him in his glory with the Father. Jesus was not of this world, but only in the world, for a certain period of time. He said this was true also of the eleven apostles because they had been set apart through their faith. Then chapter 18 provides such a powerful description of the way Jesus protected the eleven apostles from being taken prisoner along with him. All the while however, Judas Iscariot was with the opponents of Christ, not with his apostles.

Though the eleven apostles were scattered after the arrest of Christ, this was another part of prophecy thereby ordained by God long before it happened. Mark 14 "26 When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. 27 Jesus said to them, "All of you will be made to stumble because of me tonight, for it is written, 'I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.' 28 However, after I am raised up, I will go before you into Galilee.""

Judas Iscariot did not see Jesus after the resurrection because he took his own life. Matthew 27 "3 Then Judas, who betrayed him, when he saw that Jesus was condemned, felt remorse, and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, 4 saying, "I have sinned in that I betrayed innocent blood." But they said, "What is that to us? You see to it." 5 He threw down the pieces of silver in the sanctuary, and departed. He went away and hanged himself." Judas seemed to have concern about punishment he might suffer from other men since he expressed "innocent blood," with no reference to a great sin against the Son of God. The remorse that Judas Iscariot expressed may be similar to the position of Esau after he had despised his birthright. Hebrews 12 "16 lest there be any sexually immoral person, or profane person, like Esau, who sold his birthright for one meal. 17 For you know that even when he afterward desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for a change of mind though he sought it diligently with tears."

Only Matthew recorded that Jesus had told of the final condition in store for his betrayer, and he responded to the question from Judas Iscariot that followed that statement. . Matthew 26 "24 The Son of Man goes, even as it is written of him, but woe to that man through whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would be better for that man if he had not been born." 25 Judas, who betrayed him, answered, "It isn't me, is it, Rabbi?" He said to him, "You said it."" Judas stayed on his course despite this reply to him from Jesus.


H - THE LORD GOD has no counselor

Isaiah 29 "15 Woe to those who deeply hide their counsel from Yahweh, and whose works are in the dark, and who say, "Who sees us?" and "Who knows us?" 16 You turn things upside down! Should the potter be thought to be like clay; that the thing made should say about him who made it, "He didn't make me;" or the thing formed say of him who formed it, "He has no understanding?""

Isaiah 40 "13 Who has directed the Spirit of Yahweh, or has taught him as his counsellor? 14 Who did he take counsel with, and who instructed him, and taught him in the path of justice, and taught him knowledge, and showed him the way of understanding? 15 Behold, the nations are like a drop in a bucket, and are regarded as a speck of dust on a balance. Behold, he lifts up the islands like a very little thing."

Romans 9 "11 For being not yet born, neither having done anything good or bad, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him who calls, 12 it was said to her, "The elder will serve the younger." 13 Even as it is written, "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated." 14 What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? May it never be! 15 For he said to Moses, "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion." 16 So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who has mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, "For this very purpose I caused you to be raised up, that I might show in you my power, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth." 18 So then, he has mercy on whom he desires, and he hardens whom he desires. 19 You will say then to me, "Why does he still find fault? For who withstands his will?" 20 But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed ask him who formed it, "Why did you make me like this?" 21 Or hasn't the potter a right over the clay, from the same lump to make one part a vessel for honour, and another for dishonour? 22 What if God, willing to show his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath made for destruction, 23 and that he might make known the riches of his glory on vessels of mercy, which he prepared beforehand for glory, 24 us, whom he also called, not from the Jews only, but also from the Gentiles?"

Romans 11 "33 Oh the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past tracing out! 34 "For who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counsellor?" 35 "Or who has first given to him, and it will be repaid to him again?" 36 For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things. To him be the glory for ever! Amen."

COMMENTS: There are many prophecies about the Christ and about those who interacted with him during his earthly ministry. Other resource materials can be found for extensive examination of the unmistakable accuracy of the many Old Testament prophecies about the Christ, and the New Testament record of fulfillment in the Son of God and the son of man. But I chose to conclude this overview of Judas Iscariot with the above references from Isaiah and Romans to remind myself that God's ways are past finding out, well beyond the capacity of the minds of those he has created. The Jewish religious leaders had much knowledge of scripture, and many traditions had developed over the centuries, but not many of those leaders accepted God's grace gift by faith when the prophesied Messiah appeared in the flesh. Those who seem to be fully committed in full time service in ministry for God may fall away like Judas Iscariot if their heart is not right. Even the eleven apostles did not know who Jesus spoke of until the actions of Judas culminated in betrayal.

The Apostle John gave us his own testimony about Jesus before he provided many other details in his gospel account. Jesus is the Creator God who came into the world but was not recognized by those in the world. As promised in prophecy, he came to the Jews, but they did not receive him as their Messiah. But Jesus is the source of eternal life. John 1 "10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, and the world didn't recognize him. 11 He came to his own, and those who were his own didn't receive him. 12 But as many as received him, to them he gave the right to become God's children, to those who believe in his name: 13 who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. 14 The Word became flesh, and lived among us. We saw his glory, such glory as of the one and only Son of the Father, full of grace and truth."

--- REFLECTIONS IN PRAYER ---

Lord, it was my intention to prepare this Bible study carefully to allow me to consider your sovereign will especially for Judas Iscariot because he was the traitor. I wanted to try to learn more than just that most commonly remembered fact about him, and about the intricate ways your designed prophecy led to that point in history. The prophecies in scripture will continue to be fulfilled because the will of God cannot be turned aside by the will of man, or even by Satan. Perhaps one of the important lessons learned by the eleven is that the secrets of the heart, as with Judas Iscariot, cannot be hidden from God. For some three years as you taught and served others, these chosen men had direct experience with their God in ways that no others will ever have.

I can rejoice that I have become one of your children purely by your grace, knowing that not even the apostles had any merit in themselves to be chosen by you. Your gift of eternal life is given only to those who believe in the name of Christ Jesus: who are born not of bloodline, nor of the will within themselves, nor of the will of any other man in their behalf, but born of God. Because the eleven, and others you have chosen, were obedient to your command for them to make disciples in all the world through the power of your Holy Spirit, all Christians can know about being ready for your return at the end of the age. Help me Lord to keep my focus on that upward call, while humbly serving others in the manner you have prepared for me. I praise you my Savior for the grace and mercy by which you have granted eternal life to me. Hallelujah, and amen!

Published 11 March 2017, revision 7April2017