The Tragic End of Judas Iscariot

A brief look at one of the events leading to the cross taken from Matthew 27.

As the religious leaders plot to ensure their unjust condemnation of Jesus can stand the test of the Roman court, Matthew interjects an interlude into his text to allow the reader to follow the life of Judas to its tragic end.

Verse three depicts a realization on the part of Judas. Jesus has been condemned. The word Matthew uses depicts Judas as having literally and physically seen Jesus condemned and abused. He knows he was wrong about Him.

He is remorseful. He is overwhelmed with guilt. His conscience is wearing heavily upon him. But Matthew does not use the word that commonly refers to repentance in the Bible. He simply wishes he could undo what he has done. But he cannot.

Trying to appease his guilty conscience, Judas pleads his case before the religious leaders. They only answer, “It’s your problem, not ours.” (This, by the way, is how religion always responds to the needs of mankind)

Judas throws the thirty pieces of silver into a place where only priests are allowed, then goes out and hangs himself. The religious leaders, knowing they cannot pocket this money, purchase a field to bury strangers with the silver.

Why did Matthew include this segment in his narrative? Possibly, these are some points to consider:

1. To declare that Judas saw Jesus for whom He really was… the suffering servant rather than the political leader he wanted.

2. To show that the conscience can lead men and women to remorse, and still not bring them to true repentance.

3. To show the futility of religion. Judas seeks to answer his dilemma with religion (religious leaders). But religion is ineffective and has no answers. (Do we really want more religion?)

4. To show that even in the most insignificant events of the Gospel account, God is in control (Judas, and even the Field of Blood were prophesied hundreds of years before).

Just as in the teaching by Jesus of the Vine and the Vine-dresser (John 15), the branches attached to the Vine were pruned and produced more fruit; but those not attached were gathered and burned. Judas lived a part of his adult life in close proximity of Jesus, but was never attached.

The futility of religion is this… it cannot remove one single sin. Many today are running to organized religion pleading, “Take this sin off me,” to no avail. Only one can wash us white as snow – – Jesus.


About mtsweat

Seeking the rest that is only promised and found in Christ Jesus, along with my treasured wife of more than twenty-five years, we seek to grow in our relationship with our Heavenly Father, walk with the Holy Spirit as He moves our hearts, loving others always as Jesus loves us, and carry the news of His glory, the wonderful gospel, that gives light and life where there once was only darkness.
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11 Responses to The Tragic End of Judas Iscariot

  1. writinggomer says:

    Few words, much wisdom. Works were made for us to do by God in advance. Show me your faith, I will show you my faith by what I do…

  2. granbee says:

    Let us be branches very, very tenaciously attached to the vine!

  3. ptl2010 says:

    Amen. Nothing but the blood of Jesus. No good intention is sufficient.

  4. MT, this is just plain powerful! I am currently in the midst of a personal struggle concerning religion (the practices and bureaucracy of a church) and living my faith. This was extremely helpful to me.

    I strongly believe that Jesus intended us to be communal… in the body of the church. Butt I also think He would weep at seeing what “organized religion” has become today, no matter the designation of the community.

    Thanks, my friend.

    Shalom, Art

    • mtsweat says:

      I appreciate your comments Art, for it ackowledges something that could be confusing in my post. I agree, Jesus is building His Church, and we are called to faithfully align with the brethren communally. Corporate worship is essential. But the confusion begins when people believe that church activities, good works, or any religious activity creates righteousness and gains a nod from God. As you are very aware, righteousness is found in Jesus alone.
      Thanks for mentioning this though, because my intention would never be to imply we are not to be actively involved with the local church.
      God bless, good friend.

  5. isaiah43123 says:

    Yes, God is in control even in what seems to be trivial. Thanks for bringning this to the forefront.

    Keep the Faith!

  6. Amen and Amen! Love the last quote “The futility of religion is this… it cannot remove one single sin. Many today are running to organized religion pleading, “Take this sin off me,” to no avail. Only one can wash us white as snow – – Jesus.”

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