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Judas Iscariot: Contradictions in Gospel Accounts of Judas' Betrayal of Jesus

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Judas Takes Money from the Temple Priests to Betray Jesus

Judas Takes Money from the Temple Priests to Betray Jesus

Why did Judas Betray Jesus?:


There was no option for Jesus not to be executed because without his crucifixion, he could not rise again in three days and thus save humanity. To be executed, though, he had to be betrayed to the Jewish authorities — if Judas hadn’t done it, someone else would have. In Mark, the motive of greed is ascribed to Judas. Matthew agrees with Mark but Luke claims that Judas was led astray by Satan. John, on the other hand, attributes the motivation to both Satan and a penchant for theft.

Prophecy of Judas’ Destiny:


It would be fair to think that Judas’ betrayal of Jesus would send him to hell, but since Judas couldn’t have had a choice, shouldn’t he be praised? According to Jesus in Matthew 19:28, all 12 disciples would sit on thrones to judge the 12 tribes of Israel. Judas was obviously one of the 12 at this point. When Paul writes that Jesus appeared “to the twelve” after his resurrection, whom could he have had in mind if not Judas? It doesn’t sound like he was punished in this life or the next.

Judas and Satan:


Christian tradition has it that Satan helped lead Judas to betray Jesus, but when?

Luke 22:3-6 - Satan enters and affects Judas before the Last Supper
John 13:27 - Satan enters and affects Judas during the supper
Mark, Matthew - There is no mention of Satan entering or affecting Judas

Judas Bargains with the Priests to Betray Jesus:


Judas betrayed Jesus to the high priests of the temple, but when exactly did he strike his bargain?

Mark 14:10-11, Matthew 26:14-16, Luke 22:3-6 - Judas bargains with the priests before the Last Supper
John 13:21-30 - Judas bargains with the priests after the Last Supper

Thirty Pieces of Silver:


A popular aspect of the Christian traditions about Judas was his payment in “thirty pieces of silver.” There are problems with this, however. First, minted coins were used at this time — people didn’t “weigh out” payments. Second, “pieces of silver” had stopped being used a couple of centuries before.

Matthew 27:5 - Judas throws down the silver and walks away from the priests
Acts 1:18 - Judas uses the silver to buy some property
Mark, Luke, John - There is no mention of 30 pieces of silver

Field of Blood:


Tradition associates Judas with a “Field of Blood,” but the New Testament has varying accounts on why.

Matthew 27:6-8 - The priests buy the field and it gets its name because they used Judas’ blood money
Acts 1:18 - Judas buys the field and it gets the name because his guts burst open there (though how and why this happened isn't explained)
Mark, Luke, John - The Field of Blood is not mentioned

Judas’ Death:


How did Judas die? The New Testament accounts disagree on what happened.

Matthew 27:5 - Judas kills himself by hanging
Acts 1:18 - Judas falls to the ground, bursts open, and his guts spill out (again, how and why this happened isn't explained)
Mark, Luke, John - No mention of Judas killing himself is included

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