Judas was a false
disciple of Jesus Christ.
Judas in the words of J.
C. Ryle gives a perfect example "to what lengths a
man may go in a false profession of religion."
"It is impossible to
conceive a more striking proof of this painful
truth, than the history of Judas Iscariot. If ever
there was a man who at one time looked like a true
disciple of Christ, and bade fair to reach heaven,
that man was Judas. He was chosen by the Lord Jesus
Himself to be an apostle. He was privileged to be a
companion of the Messiah, and an eye-witness of His
mighty works, throughout His earthly ministry. He
was an associate of Peter, James and John. He was
sent forth to preach the kingdom of God, and to work
miracles in Christ's name. He was regarded by all
the eleven apostles as one of themselves. He was so
like his fellow disciples, that they did not suspect
him of being a traitor. And yet this very man turns
out at last a false-hearted child of the devil
departs entirely from the faith assists our Lord's
deadliest enemies, and leaves the world with a worse
reputation than any one since the days of Cain.
Never was there such a fall, such an apostasy, such
a miserable end to a fair beginning such a total
eclipse of a soul!" (Expository Thoughts on the
Gospels, St. Mark, p. 302).
How do you account for
someone like Judas?
observed, "No one could live near Him for three
years without coming to hate Him if he did not love
Judas sold Jesus for
thirty pieces of silver (Matt. 26:14-16).
"Then one of the twelve,
named Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and
said, 'What are you willing to give me to betray Him
to you?' And they weighed out thirty pieces of
silver to him. From then on he began looking for a
good opportunity to betray Jesus" (Matthew 26:14-16
14; cf. Mark 14:10-11; Luke 22:3-6). Luke tells us
"Satan entered into Judas who was called Iscariot"
(Luke 22:3-6). At the Passover Supper, John tells us
when Jesus dipped the morsel and gave it to Judas,
"Satan then entered into him" (John 13:27).
"What are you willing to
give me?" For how much are you willing to sell your
soul? Evidently many people are willing to sell very
cheaply. Judas emphatically responds "I will deliver
Him." If they are willing to pay enough he will
"deliver" Jesus to them. Only Matthew tells us the
price was "thirty pieces of silver." Coins had been
in use since time of Simon the Maccabee (B.C. 140);
but it may have been still not uncommon to weight
the coins. John Broadus reminds us, "A traitor is
seldom trusted with his entire reward in advance."
Thus the thirty pieces of silver may have been the
down payment with more to come later. Exodus 21:32
tells us the thirty sheckels was the amount of
damages for the killing of a slave by an ox.
Zechariah 11:12-13 is
fulfilled in the betrayal of Jesus. "I said to them,
'If it is good in your sight, give me my wages; but
if not, never mind!' So they weighed out thirty
shekels of silver as my wages. Then the Lord said to
me, 'Throw it to the potter, that magnificent price
at which I was valued by them.' So I took the thirty
shekels of silver and threw them to the potter in
the house of the Lord."
Judas sought the
opportunity to betray Jesus, and when the
opportunity came, he sold Him.
Judas at the Last
Supper (Matt. 26:20-25)
"Now when evening came,
Jesus was reclining at the table with the twelve
disciples. As they were eating, He said, 'Truly I
say to you that one of you will betray Me.' Being
deeply grieved, they each one began to say to Him,
'Surely not I, Lord?' And He answered, 'He who
dipped his hand with Me in the bowl is the one who
will betray Me. The Son of Man is to go, just as it
is written of Him; but woe to that man by whom the
Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for
that man if he had not been born.' And Judas, who
was betraying Him, said, 'Surely it is not I,
Rabbi?' Jesus said to him, 'You have said it
yourself'" (Matthew 26:20-25; cf. Mark 14:18-21;
Luke 22:21-23; John 13:21-30).
The kiss of
betrayal (Matt. 26:47-50)
"While He was still
speaking, behold, Judas, one of the twelve, came up
accompanied by a large crowd with swords and clubs,
who came from the chief priests and elders of the
people. Now he who was betraying Him gave them a
sign, saying, 'Whomever I kiss, He is the one; seize
Him.' Immediately Judas went to Jesus and said,
'Hail, Rabbi!' and kissed Him. And Jesus said to
him, 'Friend, do what you have come for.' Then they
came and laid hands on Jesus and seized Him"
"Judas did what he wanted
(he sold Jesus). Yet he was an unwitting tool of
Satan (13:2, 27). Even people's volitionally free
acts fit into God's sovereign plan (cf. Acts 2:23;
4:28)" (The Bible Knowledge Commentary). John
The suicide of
Judas (Matt. 27:3-10
"Then when Judas, who had
betrayed Him, saw that He had been condemned, he
felt remorse and returned the thirty pieces of
silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, 'I
have sinned by betraying innocent blood.' But they
said, 'What is that to us? See to that yourself!'
And he threw the pieces of silver into the temple
sanctuary and departed; and he went away and hanged
himself. The chief priests took the pieces of silver
and said, 'It is not lawful to put them into the
temple treasury, since it is the price of blood.'
And they conferred together and with the money
bought the Potter's Field as a burial place for
strangers. For this reason that field has been
called the Field of Blood to this day. Then that
which was spoken through Jeremiah the prophet was
fulfilled: 'And they took the thirty pieces of
silver, the price of the one whose price had been
set by the sons of Israel; and they gave them for
the Potter's Field, as the Lord directed me'"
(Matthew 27:3-10). (All Scriptures are from New
American Standard Bible unless otherwise stated).
Judas concentrates on the
one great act of sin, "I betrayed innocent blood."
In his remorse, Judas turned to the wrong people.
Instead of turning to God he looked to the Jewish
leader who had only one goal, the death of Jesus.
Judas' guilty conscience is a problem for him alone,
not them. They had accomplished their evil goal.
Jesus was now "condemned" by the Sanhedrin, and His
destiny lay in the hands of the Roman governor.
In his own words Judas
declared, "I have sinned by betraying innocent
blood." G. Campbell Morgan observes, "Not, I have
blundered, or have been mistaken, or foolish, or
wrong; not, I have attempted to hurry this Messiah
to declare Himself, but 'I have sinned.' As we look
at Judas in that terrible picture, we see a man
filled with terror, the terror of a lost sol; the
sense of sin, and the dread of its issue. Not
regret, nor the sense of sin with desire to escape
it, but the sense of sin with desire to escape the
issue of it. This is not the repentance that brings
man to God. If is a man simply repents of sin, by
attempting to escape its issue, he knows nothing of
repentance in the true sense of the word. Repentance
which would be glad to bear the fire of hell if it
would purge from sin, is the repentance that works
salvation" (The Gospel According to Matthew,
"The traitor in the inner
circle of Christ's Kingdom, became his own
executioner," says Morgan.
Judas threw the money
down into the temple" (NRSV). Leon Morris writes:
"The language seems to point an irrational act of
throwing the coins with some force into some holy
place nearby . . . There is nothing to indicate an
exercise of piety, only wreckless desire to
repudiate his evil act. Then he went off and
committed suicide by hanging. . . Judas was
remorseful rather than repentant. We might contrast
him with Peter. That apostle had likewise sinned
grievously, but he was moved to a genuine repentance
that led to amendment of life rather than to further
sin of suicide" (Matthew, p. 695).
There is no real
discrepancy between Acts and Matthew's account of
the suicide. Matthew says Judas hanged himself and
Acts says he fell headlong and burst asunder. If
Judas hanged himself from a tree on a high cliff in
the potter's field and the rope broke or a limb
broke and he fell on rocky ground it could have
resulted in the description in Acts 1:18. Judas went
out and hanged himself and either his corpse rotted
and fell, or the rope broke and he fell and hit
sharp rocks and he burst open.
All that Judas acquired
from his treacherous money was a burial plot. The
priests purchased the field in Judas' name with the
money that was still his. The priests refused to put
the blood money back into the temple treasury. The
money in the treasury was holy and this certainly
was not. It was money to purchase the death of a
John Calvin wrote, "If
blood money may not be deposited in the sacred
treasury, how could they draw it in the first place,
for their only wealth came from the temple offerings
and what they are now hesitant to put back in
polluted could have been taken from no other source?
Is not the pollution from their own hands?" How
strange that they had no problem taking the money
from the treasury to bring about the death of Jesus,
but how sensitive is their conscience about putting
it back in the treasury.
Jesus was derisively
valued by the religious leaders of Israel at thirty
shekels, and the money was used to purchase the
H. C. Lenski says, "In
Zechariah the payment of thirty pieces of silver was
made in order to get rid of Israel's Shepherd. That
same price was paid to get rid of Jesus who is
Israel's Shepherd. At such a miserable price the
Jews valued Jesus and gladly paid t to get rid of
him" (Matthew, p. 1083).
In verse nine Matthew
uses the Old Testament to demonstrate that this
treachery of Judas was a fulfillment of Scripture.
He gives credit to Jeremiah, however in reality he
combines two prophecies, one each from Zechariah and
from Jeremiah. He gives his source of credit to the
major prophet, not the minor one. This is not
uncommon in Matthew and Mark. "The background of the
passage is actually both Jeremiah and Zechariah, and
that the first part of the quotation resembles a
passage from Zechariah even more strongly than any
from Jeremiah. . . . The main point to bear in mind,
however, is that also in the suicide of the traitor
and the purchase of a field with his blood money
prophecy is again being fulfilled, and God's plan is
being carried out" (William Hendriksen, N. T.
Commentary Matthew, p. 948).
Is Zechariah 11:12-13
that he to quoting and probably includes ideas from
Jeremiah 18:2; 19:2, 11; 32:6-9. Hengstenberg says
the later prophets often reproduce earlier
predictions, so Zechariah is reproducing Jeremiah
18:2 and 19:2 and Matthew intentionally refers to
the original source though adapting the later form (Christology
of the Old Testament).
Was Judas ever
saved or did he fall from grace?
John 17:12 provides the
key to our understanding of this question. Jesus
said, "While I was with them, I was keeping them in
Your name which You have given Me; and I guarded
them and not one of them perished but the son of
perdition, so that the Scripture would be
In the context of his
passage and many others including John 10:26-30 why
did Jesus not keep Judas safe? Jesus always keeps
those whom the Father has given to Him.
Newman and Nida write in
their translation helps, "Was lost is the same verb
rendered die in 3.16 and 10.28; in 12.25 it is used
with the same meaning it has here. Because of the
continuing relationship of Judas Iscariot to the
developments described in Chapter 18, it may be
necessary in some languages to use the perfect tense
here, for example, 'not one of them has been lost.'"
"The man who was bound to
be lost (NAB 'him who was destined to be lost'; NEB
'the man who must be lost'; JB 'the one who chose to
be lost'; Gdsp 'the one who was destined to be
lost') has been traditionally rendered 'the son of
perdition.' The word rendered 'perdition' in many
translations is a noun made from the same stem as
the verb translated was lost in TEV and most other
translations. This word is frequently used in the
New Testament of the final fate of those who are
without God (see Matt 7.13; Acts 8.20; Rom 9.22;
Phil 1.28; 3.19; 1 Tim 6.9; Heb 10.39; 2 Peter 2.1;
3.7; Rev 17.8, 11). The phrase 'son of (literally
'man of') perdition' means 'one who is going to be
lost (eternally).' The same expression appears in2
Thessalonians 2.3 and is rendered theâ€¦ Oneâ€¦ who
is destined to hell in TEV" (Newman, B. M., & Nida,
E. A. A Handbook on the Gospel of John).
"Son of perdition" is
used in 2 Thessalonians 2:3. The name is a strong
Hebraism meaning "a person worthy of perdition, or
only fit to be lost and cast away, by reason of his
wickedness. J. C. Ryle said, "It is a tremendously
strong expression to come from the lips of our
merciful and loving Savior. It shows the desperate
helplessness of anyone who, living in great light
and privileges like Judas, misuses his
opportunities, and deliberately follows the bent of
his own sinful inclinations. He becomes the 'child
of hell' (Matt. 23:15)" (Ryle, John, p. 190). A. T.
Robertson said, "It means the son marked by final
loss, not annihilation, but meeting oneâ€™s destiny
(Acts 2:25). A sad and terrible exception (Mark
14:21)" (Word Pictures of N.T., John).
Was Judas one of those
whom the Father "gave to Him"? Was Judas a true
believer? Was he one who was genuinely saved and
fell from saving grace? There are teachers who say
that at one time Judas was a true believer like
Peter, James and John. They would say that grace may
be lost. They would say a person can be converted,
have the baptism of the Holy Spirit and finally fall
away and perish in Hell. How does this view
reconcile with other Scriptures?
James Boice writes,
"Judas' repentance was utterly unlike Peter's.
Peter's was true repentance. Peter was crushed and
wept shameful bitter tears. Judas did not weep. He
knew that he had done wrong and regretted his
mistake, but his remorse did not drive him to
repentance. Repentance would have turned him to
Jesus. . . . Judas confessed he was a sinner, 'I
have sinned' . . . . But many have confessed
themselves sinners without their confession making
the slightest difference in their lives. True
repentance involves a full 180-degree turn, half of
it away from sin and half of it to Jesus. That is
the only sure path to salvation" (An Expositional
Commentary on Matthew, p. 598).
The only conclusion I can
come to as I examine all the Scriptures in their
context is that Judas was never one of Christ's own.
Jesus faithfully kept all that the Father gave to
Him. Judas was never given to the Father. He was
never among the chosen (John 6:64-65; 13:18;
Judas is not an example
of a believer who has fallen from grace, or lost his
salvation. He was nothing more than a pretender who
was finally exposed for what he really was. Judas
was never a sheep and his true character was
revealed. The apostle John wrote in 1 John 2:19,
"They went out from us, but they were not really of
us; for if they had been of us, they would have
remained with us; but they went out, so that it
would be shown that they all are not of us."
Ryle gives a good
expanded paraphrase of Jesus' thoughts this way:
"Those whom Thou gave me I have kept, and out of
them not one is lost. But here is one man who is
lost, even Judas, the son of perdition; not one who
was ever give to Me, but one whom I declared long
ago to be a 'devil, a man whose hardened heart
fitted him for destruction" (John, p. 190).
"Our Lord does not mean,
'No one of those given to Me is lost EXCEPT the son
of perdition.' What He does mean is, 'Not one of
those given to Me is lost. On the other hand, and in
contrast, Judas, a man not given to me, a graceless
man, is lost" (Ryle, p. 191).
At the moment of His
arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus said to the
Jewish leaders, "'I told you that I am He; so if you
seek Me, let these go their way,' to fulfill the
word which He spoke, 'Of those whom You have given
Me I lost not one'" (John 18:8-9). Jesus gives no
hint of any exceptions.
Harry Ironside said, "You
may be sure that whenever the Father gives anyone to
Jesus, He gives him for time and eternity. Such a
one will never be lost. 'Being confident of this
very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in
you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.'
People call this the doctrine of the perseverance of
the saints, but I rather like to think of it as the
perseverance of the Savior. He says, 'Those that
Thou gavest me I have kept.' If I had to keep
myself, I would be hopeless of getting through. I
would be sure that something would happen someday
which would cause me to lose my hold on Christ and
be lost. But it is His hold upon me on which I rely.
None can pluck the believer out of His hand. I
receive great comfort from these words. When He
gives His account to the Father, when the last
believer of this dispensation is safely arrived in
heaven, He will be able to say of the entire elect
Church, 'Those that Thou gavest me I have kept, and
none of them is lost.' You may think you know the
exception to this; but it will be made manifest in
that day that these apparent exceptions were like
Judas himself, never really born of God" (Addresses
on Gospel of John, pp. 754-55).
If you are eternally
secure you want to love Him with all your heart and
you grieve deeply when you sin. When we know the
Father is for us we want to guard our heart from all
evil. We want to please Him with all our heart
because He loves us so.
One of the accusations of
those who say you can lose your salvation is that
eternal security of your salvation gives you an
excuse for sinning. Do you want to go out and sin
because you are secure in your salvation? Do you
want to go out and sin because you have been saved
by grace? Do you want to go out and sin because you
are the elect of God? The apostle Paul asked, "What
shall we say then? Are we to continue [as a habitual
practice, to remain] in sin that grace might
increase?" God forbid! was his response (Rom.
6:1-2). My eternal security is my greatest incentive
to please my Lord and Savior. The believer's
security is in God's hands. We are kept by the
Father's loving hand (John 10:28-29).
The case of Judas does
not teach a born again person can be lost. It does
teach us what will happen if person is not
spiritually regenerated by the Holy Spirit and kept
by God's sustaining grace until the day when he
stands in His presence in heaven. Apart from God's
perseverance with the saints we would all be
eternally lost. Jesus said in John 10:26-29 "But you
do not believe because you are not of My sheep. My
sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they
follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they
will never perish; and no one will snatch them out
of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is
greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them
out of the Father's hand."
PRINCIPLES AND PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS
1. Jesus never cast out
or lost any individual that truly comes to Him.
Judas is not exception;
Judas was never saved. Judas professed, but never
2. Judas is an example of
what a miserable end comes when we have great
opportunities and privileges and we do not use them
Judas should cause each
one of us to ask if we have been truly saved by
grace alone, through faith alone in Jesus Christ
alone. In whom or what am I trusting for my eternal
"Test yourselves to see
if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do
you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus
Christ is in you unless indeed you fail the test?"
(2 Cor. 13:5). "Therefore, brethren, be all the more
diligent to make certain about His calling and
choosing you; for as long as you practice these
things, you will never stumble; for in this way the
entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and
Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to
you" (2 Peter 1:10-11).
3. No sin is so great as
sinning against light and knowledge of the LORD God.
Let us take a long hard
look at Judas and beware. Are we trifling with sin?
Let us take a look at Judas and not become shipwreck
in our Christian life.
4. There is no
unpardonable sin except that of refusing the pardon
that covers all our sins by means of the atoning
sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
You blaspheme the Holy
Spirit when you reject His work of regeneration in
the heart of a lost sinner. He pleads for the
unbeliever to put his or her trust in the saving
work of Jesus Christ. He pleads with the guilty
sinner to come and trust in Christ for salvation.
The only remedy for a guilty conscience is the blood
of Jesus Christ.
Title: Matthew 27:3-10
The Suicide of Judas
Series: Life of