The story of how Jesus met Judas Iscariot has fascinated Christians for centuries. Judas is infamous for his betrayal of Jesus, yet he was still chosen as one of the original twelve disciples. So how did Jesus come to meet the man who would ultimately betray him?
If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: According to the Bible, Jesus met Judas Iscariot after Jesus had begun his public ministry. Jesus personally chose Judas to be one of his twelve disciples.
Jesus Met Judas After Starting His Ministry
After being baptized by John the Baptist and spending 40 days fasting in the Judean desert, Jesus began his public ministry around the year 27 AD. He traveled around Galilee, teaching in the synagogues, preaching the gospel, and performing miracles.
As he went from town to town, his revolutionary message began to attract large crowds of people eager to hear his words and be healed.
Jesus Began Preaching and Gathering Followers
In his stirring sermons, Jesus urged people to repent of their sins and prepare for the coming Kingdom of God. He assured them that this kingdom was at hand if they would embrace his radical call to love God and neighbor.
Many were amazed by his authority and wisdom despite having no formal religious training. Soon Jesus was followed by great multitudes from Galilee, Jerusalem, Judea and beyond the Jordan river. The enthralled crowds marveled at his ability to heal the sick, cast out demons and forgive sins.
His popularity with common people and criticism of religious hypocrisy threatened those in power.
Jesus Chose 12 Disciples, Including Judas
After several months, Jesus had gathered so many eager disciples that he chose 12 to be his closest followers. This special group included fishermen like Peter and John, a tax collector named Matthew, a revolutionary named Simon the Zealot, and his inner circle James, John and Judas Iscariot.
Though from very different backgrounds, these 12 disciples left everything behind to learn from Jesus as he traveled teaching about God’s kingdom. They witnessed his miracles and helped meet the needs of the growing crowds seeking Jesus.
Little is known about Judas Iscariot’s background except that he came from Kerioth village. As keeper of the money bag, he was in charge of their funds and provisions. Judas seemed as devoted as the others, but the gospel writers indicate tensions emerged between Judas and other disciples.
After Jesus’ arrest, Judas greatly regretted betraying him and committed suicide. Sadly his life is now most remembered for this fateful betrayal of Jesus after over 2 years of traveling together in ministry.
Judas Was Specifically Chosen by Jesus
According to the Bible, Jesus had divine foresight and intentionally chose each of his 12 disciples, including Judas Iscariot, knowing the potential flaws in each person but also seeing their potential for good.
As the Son of God, Jesus could see into the hearts of men and discern their character and future choices.
Jesus Had Divine Foresight in Choosing Disciples
Though Jesus likely knew Judas would ultimately betray him, he saw positive qualities and potential in Judas as well. Perhaps Jesus chose Judas hoping he would resist temptation and remain loyal. Some theologians believe Jesus specifically chose one who he knew would betray him to fulfill the prophecy that the Messiah would be “numbered with the transgressors” (Isaiah 53:12).
Jesus Saw Potential in Judas Despite His Flaws
The Bible depicts Jesus having special insight into people’s character and future actions (John 2:24-25). Yet he chose Judas despite foreseeing his betrayal. Jesus was known for seeing the potential in flawed people – like tax collectors and prostitutes – and calling them to himself.
Judas likely demonstrated positive qualities originally, like zeal for God or administrative skills, that led Jesus to select him.
Judas Was From Judea and Came From Humble Origins
Judas Was the Son of Simon Iscariot
The Bible provides some background information about Judas Iscariot, one of Jesus’ twelve disciples who would later betray him. Judas was the son of Simon Iscariot, indicating that he came from the region of Judea. The name Iscariot may refer to the town of Kerioth, located in southern Judea.
This suggests that Judas likely grew up in Judea like Jesus, though from a more humble background. As one of Jesus’ disciples, Judas would have left his home region to follow Jesus in his ministry travels across Israel.
He Was From the Region of Judea Like Jesus
Though Jesus grew up in the northern region of Galilee, he was born in Bethlehem of Judea. This means that both Jesus and Judas came from the larger region of Judea, giving them some shared cultural context.
Judas’ origins in Kerioth reflect a more rural, working class background compared to Jesus’ upbringing. But as neighboring towns, Kerioth and Bethlehem may have had economic and social connections. This could help explain how Judas became familiar with Jesus’ ministry and joined his group of disciples, who were mainly fellow Galileans like Peter, Andrew, and John.
Judas being from Judea provides some interesting context for his relationship with Jesus. Their similar regional roots may have drawn them together initially. But their vastly different backgrounds likely also contributed to the betrayer status that Judas took on towards Jesus later.
Jesus as an itinerant preacher drew followers from all walks of life, and Judas represented the humble origins of some of his disciples.
Judas Showed Promise as a Disciple Initially
Judas Was Trusted to Manage the Disciples’ Money
When Jesus called Judas Iscariot to be one of his twelve disciples, Judas likely showed qualities that made him seem like a good choice. Jesus wanted disciples who were diligent, reliable, and detail-oriented.
These virtues may have led Jesus to entrust Judas with keeping track of the disciples’ money and donations.
The Gospel of John indicates that Judas served as the treasurer for Jesus and the twelve disciples. He was in charge of the money bag and would dish out money to buy food and other necessities (John 12:6). This was an important responsibility that demonstrated Jesus’ trust and confidence in Judas.
Handling finances for a group requires honesty, organization, and care. Judas seemed to do this job well for a period of time. If he had shown signs of greed early on, it’s unlikely Jesus would have trusted him in this role.
But at first, Judas fulfilled his duties faithfully, keeping careful accounts.
He Participated in Jesus’ Ministry Work
In addition to managing the money, Judas actively participated in Jesus’ ministry. He likely went with Jesus and the other disciples from town to town in Galilee and Judea. He observed Jesus preaching, teaching, healing, and performing other miracles.
Judas was there when Jesus gave the Sermon on the Mount, delivered parables, calmed the stormy sea, and fed the five thousand. He saw Jesus cast out demons, give sight to the blind, and raise the dead. Judas received first-hand training from Jesus on how to pray, serve, and share the gospel.
For about three years, Judas apparently performed ministry works alongside the other disciples. There is no record of Judas objecting to Jesus’ teachings or methods during this time. He seems to have supported the ministry work in word and deed, just like the other disciples.
If Judas had shown himself to be an unbeliever or opponent early on, Jesus likely would have removed him from the close-knit group. The fact that Judas stayed in the core group of twelve disciples indicates he initially appeared to be a sincere follower of Christ.
Judas Succumbed to Greed and Betrayal
Judas Began Stealing Money from the Disciples’ Funds
As one of Jesus’ twelve disciples, Judas Iscariot was appointed treasurer and given charge over the money bag that funded Jesus’ ministry. However, the Scriptures indicate that Judas began helping himself to the funds he was entrusted with (John 12:6).
This showed a weakness towards greed and dishonest behavior on Judas’ part from early on.
The Gospel writer John reveals Judas’ thievery, stating: “He was a thief, and as he had the money box, he used to take what was put into it. “ Though appointed to faithfully handle finances for Jesus and His disciples, Judas betrayed their trust by secretly embezzling money.
He likely justified it at first in little ways, but his greed grew, showing seriously flawed character.
He Betrayed Jesus for 30 Pieces of Silver
Judas’ greed reared its ugly head in the ultimate betrayal when he agreed to help Jesus’ enemies seize Him. Matthew 26:14-16 tells us that Judas went to the chief priests asking what they would pay him to hand Jesus over.
Shockingly, they offered him just 30 pieces of silver – the price of a slave (Exodus 21:32). Judas happily accepted.
For mere pocket change in comparison to Jesus’ worth, Judas turned on his Teacher and Lord. He led Temple guards and Roman soldiers to arrest Jesus in a secret night-time operation, identifying Jesus with a kiss in Gethsemane Garden.
This despicable betrayal was a tragic, final step of unchecked greed in Judas’ life.
In summary, the Bible indicates that Jesus met Judas Iscariot after he had begun his public ministry in Galilee and Judea. Jesus personally selected Judas to be one of the twelve disciples, seeing potential in him despite his flaws.
Judas came from humble beginnings in Judea and initially showed promise as a disciple. However, he eventually succumbed to greed and betrayed Jesus for money. The story illustrates how even those chosen by Jesus can fall prey to sin and betrayal.
Yet Jesus maintained love for Judas up to the end, a testament to his divine mercy.