Hi, I'm Tim Coombs, co-pastor of Trinity Presbyterian Church in Scotia, NY and a member of the network of biblical storytellers. To learn more about its mission, go to nbsint.org.
Judas is perhaps the most intriguing character in the story of Jesus because of how little we know about him. It is thought by some that his last name, Iscariot, actually signifies Kerioth, a town in Judea, the southern portion of the land. Where as all the other disciples come from Galilea so he would be sort of the oddball. We don't know this for certain. Judas, we're told in one gospel, kept the purse and would sometimes steal from it. But in the other gospels, we're not told this information at all. What we do know is that Judas, at some point, just got frustrated with Jesus. In Mark's gospel, is when a woman anointed Jesus with expensive perfume that, that was too much for Judas. He went to the Pharisees and the Chief Priest and offered to betray him. In other gospels, it's other reasons. The important point was that Judas betrayed Jesus' location, where he would stay on the night of the Passover, near the garden of the Gethsemane. In one version he's paid 30 pieces of silver for this. In other gospels, we're just told he receives money. It's in Matthew's gospel that he goes to return the money, and 'cause it's just blood money, and they say, ""Well that's the payment, we don't want it back."" And Judas throws the money on the ground and runs out and hangs himself because of the guilt he feels. And that's it. That's the end of the story of Judas. It's such a central part in what happens to Jesus and it's surprising how little we know. Is it fate? Is this what Judas is meant to do? Or is it a decision on his own? It's hard to tell from the stories when you really look at them. He's a most intriguing figure, this Judas Iscariot.