kids encyclopedia robot

Judas Iscariot facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Brooklyn Museum - Judas Iscariot (Judas Iscariote) - James Tissot
Judas Iscariot

Judas Iscariot was, according to the New Testament, one of the twelve original Apostles of Jesus. Among the twelve, he was apparently designated to keep account of the "money bag", but he is most traditionally known for his role in Jesus' betrayal into the hands of Roman authorities.

His name is also associated with a Gnostic gospel, the Gospel of Judas, that exists in an early fourth century Coptic text.

The term Judas has entered many languages as an expression for betrayer, and Judas has become known as the original betrayer in Western art and literature. Judas is given some role in virtually all literature telling the Passion story, and appears in a number of modern novels and movies.

Betrayal of Jesus

Le baiser de Judas Heures Charles d'Angoulême XVe
The Kiss of Judas Iscariot, coloured engraving, 15th century.

There are several explanations as to why Judas betrayed Jesus. In the earliest account, in the Gospel of Mark, when he goes to the chief priests to betray Jesus, he is offered money as a reward, but it is not clear that money is his motivation. In the Gospel of Matthew account, on the other hand, he asks what they will pay him for handing Jesus over. In the Gospel of Luke and the Gospel of John, the devil enters into Judas, causing him to offer to betray Jesus. The Gospel of John account has Judas complaining that money has been spent on expensive perfumes to anoint Jesus which could have been spent on the poor, but adds that he was the keeper of the apostles' purse and used to steal from it.

One suggestion has been that Judas expected Jesus to overthrow Roman rule of Judea. In this view, Judas is a disillusioned disciple betraying Jesus not so much because he loved money, but because he loved his country and thought Jesus had failed it. Another is that Jesus was causing unrest likely to increase tensions with the Roman authorities and they thought he should be restrained until after the Passover, when everyone had gone back home and the commotion had died down.

Kuss des judas
Kiss of Judas Iscariot

In April 2006, a Coptic papyrus manuscript titled the Gospel of Judas dating back to 200 AD, was translated into modern language, it added to the possibility that according to early Christian writings, Jesus may have asked Judas to betray him to fulfill the prophecies.


Outside of Jerusalem. Aceldama, or Field of Blood, 47.Holy land photographed. Daniel B. Shepp. 1894
Aceldama, or Field of Blood, photographed 1894

There are two different canonical references to the remainder of Judas' life:

  • The Gospel of Matthew says that, after Jesus' arrest by the Roman authorities (but before his execution), the guilt-ridden Judas returned the bribe to the priests and committed suicide by hanging. The priests, forbidden by Jewish law from returning the money to the treasury, used it to buy the potter's field in order to bury strangers. The Gospel account presents this as a fulfilment of prophecy.
  • The Acts of the Apostles says that Judas used the bribe to buy a field, but fell down headfirst, and burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out. This field is called Akeldama or Field Of Blood.

Other pages

The following people were the other apostles of Jesus:

Synaxis of the Twelve Apostles by Constantinople master (early 14th c., Pushkin museum)
The Twelve Apostles

Images for kids

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Judas Iscariote para niños

kids search engine
Judas Iscariot Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.