7 Lessons from the Life of Judas Iscariot

Judas Iscariot was one of Christ’s disciples whose life story must strike a sober cord in our hearts as believers and give us reasons for personal reflection. Judas Iscariot lived a life that ended on a poor note and that is why many believers keep asking questions as to whether or not we can learn any lessons from his life. The truth is that lessons can be either positive or negative and so it is necessary to learn from the life of Judas so that the mistakes he made are not repeated by any believer.

7 Lessons from the Life of Judas Iscariot - 30 pieces of silver

Judas Iscariot was one of the twelve (12) disciples of Jesus Christ. In fact, he was one of the most popular disciples of Jesus Christ. This popularity was however not because of his good character, but because of how he betrayed his Master. While the name, Judas is a beautiful name and means the praise of the Lord, a good check around will make you discover that almost nobody bears the name Judas because literally, no reasonable parent would want to name their children after a man who betrayed trust and sold out Jesus.The name Judas is the Greek version of the Hebrew name Judah, which  Hebrew dictionaries define as ''praise'' or ''let God be praised''. Judas Iscariot is believed to be from a town in the tribe of southern Judah, as his name ''Iscariot'' suggests. ''ISH KERIOTH'' which means ''man of kerioth'', is widely believed to be the suggesting factor which indicates the origin of Judas Iscariot. His fathers name was mentioned as Simon in John 6:71, but there were no details about his identity.

Judas Iscariot is well known for the act of betraying Jesus Christ, hence believers and people of the world associate his name with treachery and betrayal. It is also very interesting to note that the name ''Judas'' was quite common during the period while Jesus Christ was on earth, as there were several mentions of the name in the New Testament. In the books of Mathew 13:55, Mark 6:3, Luke 3:30, the Bible made reference to a man called Judas, who was one of the ancestors of Jesus Christ, while also in the books of Acts 5:37, another Judas (Judas of Galilee) was also referenced as a man who led a revolution and perished in the process. Moreover, in the books of Acts 9:10, the Lord appeared to Ananias in a vision, and in verse 11, he was given direction to proceed to the house of a man called Judas, where Saul was said to be praying after his encounter while travelling to Damascus.

There are several schools of thought which suggests that Judas Iscariot was foreordained to betray Jesus Christ, which invariably means that God created him (Judas Iscariot) to betray Jesus Christ. This school of thought is erroneous and cannot be backed up with scripture. It also suggests that God is partial, and an originator of sin, which is also not true.

However, looking at scriptures, I would like to point out some salient points which were defining factors of the dangerous life lived by Judas Iscariot, and also to point out possible lessons which would deter us from living dangerously.

In the process of studying the lives of Christ’s apostles, it would be a good idea not just to look at the good, but also at the bad. In this case, though Judas’ life was tragic, we need to study more about his life so we won’t be able to repeat the same mistakes. So, in this article, here are seven (7) lessons to learn from the life of Judas Iscariot. 

1. You can’t serve God and Mammon

Judas was the official treasurer of the disciples. In John 12:4-6, we read that one of Jesus' disciples who happened to be Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son and who would later betray Jesus, asked why an expensive, sweet smelling fragrant oil was not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor. According to John, Judas' statement was made not because he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had the money box (treasury) and he used to take what was put in it. This is also confirmed in John 13:29:

For some thought, because Judas had the money box, that Jesus had said to him, “Buy those things we need for the feast,” or that he should give something to the poor.

Without doubt, Judas was a brilliant man. There is something in him that made him rise in such a position that he was given the money box. Also, money is not bad. However, the LOVE of money is. In 1st Timothy 6:10, we see that the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness...” So, the problem with Judas was in the fact that he let the love of money to take root in his heart. As a result, he became a thief.

Judas' love for money even exceeded his love of Christ. In the end, he betrayed Jesus Christ for 30 pieces of silver. The Bible is clear in Matthew 6:24. No one can serve two masters. He either hates one and loves the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. So, in the case of Judas, he hated Christ and loved money. That’s the danger of serving mammon and prioritizing the accumulation of wealth rather than obeying God and doing His commandments. Judas should have taken seriously these words of Christ in Mark 8:36 where Jesus asked what profit it would be for a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?”

Material wealth is good, but only if we use them to achieve the greater purpose that God has given us. We must not make wealth as the end of itself, but rather only a means to the end. Judas made the mistake of putting more importance on money – money that does not offer lasting happiness. If we are to follow God, we must be willing to let go of everything and forsake them just to follow God’s will in our lives. 

2. There is a Room for Repentance

Everyday, God is calling sinners to repentance. Judas was like every other man. The only difference is that we sin in different ways. Jesus Christ, who is the discerner of the heart, knows very well the character of Judas. However, He still called Judas to be part of His inner circle. And so, like any of us, we are all sinners. Yet, God has called us to be part of His Family. Now, whether we answer that call or not, it is up to us. Whether we act upon what we learn or not, it is up to us.

For several years that Judas was with Christ, he had the golden opportunity to recognize his evil desires and get rid of them. The problem was, he never did. He wasn’t able to overcome his human nature to the point that he has become a traitor. The Bible tells us that it is the goodness of God that leads us to repentance (Romans 2:4).

If God were not merciful or good there will be instant death immediately when a sin is committed. But instead, God gives us many opportunities to repent. We need to take action. Accepting Christ in our lives isn’t enough. We must do our best to overcome our sins and become children of God.Let us not be like Judas who didn’t see the need to change until it was too late.

3. Salvation is an Experience

Being born in the church or attending services does not guarantee your salvation. It does not automatically mean that you will be saved. There are many people who warm the seats in church and go back to their old ways after service. They are only Christians during the Sabbath, but the rest of the day, they are part of the world. and Judas was just like that. He was given the awesome opportunity to be part of Yahshua’s group and yes, he was one of the disciples. Can you imagine being part of the very group Yahshua himself is training? That would be a rare opportunity for anyone, yet, Judas failed.

Whether you are the pastor, deacon, leader, or simply a member of your church, there’s no guarantee for you to be saved. There are those who left the church and yet they came back and there are those who stayed and yet, their heart was never with God. So, do your best. Take advantage of the opportunity that is given to you. Not all are given the chance to be part of a nurturing church. Study and show yourself approved.

4. Don’t give Satan a foothold

The Bible in Ephesians 4:26-27 says you may be angry, but do not sin. The instruction is that you do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil.  In the same way as believers, we must not give place to the devil. In other words, we must not give Satan a foothold.

We give the devil a chance when we constantly stay away from God. And there are just two options. It is whether you stay with God or stay with the devil. In this case, Judas stayed with the devil through his evil intent. Instead of getting rid of them, he succumbed into greed. In the culmination of his evil desires, Satan entered Judas, surnamed Iscariot, who was numbered among the twelve” (Luke 22:3). John 13:2 aptly describes that after supper, the devil put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray Jesus”.

You see, the devil or any demon does not have the power to enter or possess us IF we don’t let them. However, because of our constant disconnection with God and our willingness to harbor evil intent, the devil can use us to do unspeakable things.

It is not because Judas didn’t have a choice, but rather, his natural disposition made it easier for Satan to get a hold of him. This is one reason why we must stay close to God. Don’t entertain evil thoughts and fill our mind with pure thoughts.

Here’s a list of things that we must fill our minds with:

“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.”

7. Our Sorrow should lead us to repentance

After betraying Jesus Christ, Judas realised the magnitude of the evil he has done. Perhaps, at first, he just thought that the Jews and Romans would take it easy on Yahshua. But later, he recognized that there is a bigger problem with what he did. In Matthew 27:3-5, we see that when Judas the betrayer, saw that Jesus was been condemned, was remorseful and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.”

And they said, “What is that to us? You see to it!”

Then he threw down the pieces of silver in the temple and departed, and went and hanged himself.

At some point, Judas regretted what he did but instead of repenting, he even committed another sin – he took away his own life.

Do you know that it was not only Judas who betrayed Christ? If you think about it, Peter also betrayed Jesus. He promised that he will stick with Jesus Christ through thick and thin. But instead, he left Christ in the time when He needed him the most!

Judas and Peter betrayed their master. Both of them regretted what they did. Both of them cried. However, only one of them repented and that’s Peter. For Judas, it wasn’t too late for him. He could still reform himself, ask for forgiveness, and change his ways. However, he didn’t. Instead, he hung himself and died a tragic death.

For many Christians today, no matter what sin you have committed, you still have the chance to ask for forgiveness. If you genuinely repent of your sin and accompany it the willingness to change, then God will forgive you. Instead of running away from God, you need to run toward Him and say sorry. He is merciful and is more than willing to forgive even the worse of our sins.

Evidences that Judas started well

The Bible is replete with indications that Judas Iscariot started well.

When Jesus called him, he responded to the call. He wasn’t only a disciple, he was called an apostle (Luke 6:12-16). He was endued with power to heal the sick, preach the gospel (Mark 6:7) and cast out devils (Matthew 10:1-5).

Judas held a significant ministerial office too. Being in charge of the ‘church’ money wasn’t a minor task. You don’t make a stranger your treasurer; such roles are reserved for people of trust.
Evidences of Judas’s fall and sin

How did a leader with such high office fall from grace to grass? How did Judas completely miss the mark? We learn from scriptures the inner battles in the life of Judas. Unfortunately, he left it too late.

Judas had a ‘love-of-money’ issue (John 12:4-6, 1 Tim 6:10), out of which the devil built a stronghold. He kept his sins hidden from his friends and ministry partners (John 13:27-30).

    “Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy” — Proverbs 28:13.

I’ve often been asked why Judas Iscariot should be blamed since it was prophesied before time that ‘he’ would betray Jesus. Let’s be clear, the Bible NEVER said Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, would be the one to fulfil that prophecy. Instead, he qualified himself.

On realisation of his fall and sin, Judas failed to remember the word of Jesus:

“But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins…” — Matthew 9:6

Rather than turn to Christ, he turned to the very people with whom he covenanted to betray his Master. He felt remorse (Matthew 27:3-5) but not genuine repentance (Acts 20:21).

Be Careful how you Live

 Anointing without grace and the fruit of the Spirit can destroy your life. Nobody will get to heaven merely because they performed signs and wonders or received one — Mat 7:21-23. As such, you must be careful how you live and what prophesy your life fulfils. Some say; “God can use anybody!” But to what purpose are you being ‘used’? Remember, God used Pharaoh (to show His power) and he perished!

 Jesus is looking for fruits (of holiness), not leaves (of legalism)! — Matt 21:17-20.

Confess your faults one to another

Confessing your sins to one another especially when our struggles involve or affect others) – James 5:16. Jesus led a transparent life with his disciples and before all. Judas didn’t. We must.

    You cannot serve two masters. You’re either with Jesus or not. There’s no middle ground — John 6:70-71.

        “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” — Hebrews 10:31.

    Your heart is ultimately shaped by where you lay your treasures. Where’s the treasure of your soul heart right now? What do you value above God? — Matthew 6:19-21.



Some have asked, why would Jesus Christ make a man of questionable character a disciple? Or even have anything to do with a thief, while others have also argued that Jesus Christ allowed him into the fold of disciples because he was foreordained to fulfill the prophecy by betraying Christ.

''I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance'' ~Luke 5:32 (KJV).

The ministry of Jesus Christ was very clear from the beginning, He came to reconcile men unto the Father (God), by calling them out from their wicked ways.
Jesus Christ preached to a large number of people from various works of life, and His disciples were privileged to be in those meetings. He did not just teach the multitude of people who usually gather to hear Him, but also His disciples. Judas Iscariot was never deprived from the word of God, as he heard frequently from Jesus, but what did he do with the word of God, and why did we not see a change in the nature of Judas Iscariot? This takes me to the parable of the sower. Jesus Christ made mention of a particular case in the parable, which was a spiritual diagnosis of the personality of Judas Iscariot.

''And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprung up, and choked them'' ~ Mathew 13:7 (KJV).

Jesus Christ explained this particular parable (Mathew 13:7),as thus;

''He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful'' ~Mathew 13:22 (KJV).

Judas Iscariot received the word of God as others did, but something in his life choked the word of God that he received, hence it was of no effect in his life.
But someone might also say, but prophesy had to be fulfilled... Yes prophesy had to be fulfilled, but it could have been someone else, if Judas had accepted the word of God.

''The Son of man goeth as it is written of him: but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! It had been good for that man if he had not been born'' ~ Mathew 26:24 (KJV).

However, it will be scripturally wrong to say that Judas Iscariot was foreordained to betray Jesus Christ.

2. Judas placed money over his calling as a disciple

It is a great privilege to be called, and a more prestigious privilege to be chosen. Judas Iscariot had the privilege of making the list of the twelve (12) disciples of Christ irrespective of his treacherous nature. This has a lot to say about the ministry of Jesus, and the love of the Father (God) for sinners or the lost sheep's. This is as seen in Luke 5:32 (KJV) where scriptures say “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance”

God had a plan for Judas Iscariot, as being called to be one of the disciples of Christ, but his cares for the things of this world led him into stealing that choked the word of God he received. He was more concerned about what he could get out of the purse (as he was the treasurer), than focussing on the call of God for his life. Judas Iscariot was ready to make money out of everything, hence of all the disciples of Christ, he was the only one that suggested that the expensive perfume be sold to carter for the poor (John 12:4 -5). The bible tells in John 12:6, that he cared not for the poor, but was more concerned of the money in the bag, because he was a thief, as he regularly helps himself with the content of the bag.

Several people say '' It is the devils handwork'' , when shame and disgrace has set in, consequent from the results of an unchecked sinful character, but let us be clear about this, an unchecked sinful nature or character is a key that opens the door of a persons life to the devil.
The promotion of a sinful nature or character is an invitation card for the devil.
satan was able to penetrate the life of Judas Iscariot, because he had already built a foundation for him (Satan) to operate. Judas knew fully well that the chief priest and scribes sought how they might kill Jesus Christ (Luke 22:2), and being who he is, the devil consolidated on the foundation that Judas Iscariot had already built for him (Satan) to finish the job (Luke 22:3).
Judas Iscariot eventually betrayed Jesus Christ for thirty (30) pieces of silver (Mathew 26:15).


''He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all, For he knew who should betray him; therefore said he, Ye are not all clean'' ~ Mathew 13:10-11 (KJV).

The washing of the disciples feet by Jesus Christ was more than just a lesson of service and humility, but a spiritual sanctification and an introduction into the body of Christ. Peter saith unto him, thou shalt never wash my feet, then Jesus answered, if I wash thee not, thou has no part with me - John 13:8. Then Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord not my feet only, but also my hands and my head - John 13:9, then Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needed not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit, and ye are clean, but not all - John 13:10.

In Mathew 23:25, Jesus Christ accused the Pharisees of hypocrisy, because they were only concerned about making the exterior of the vessel clean, while they neglected the interior of the vessel.

''Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess'' ~ Mathew 23:25 (KJV).

Salvation is a message preached to all without exception, that all may experience the love of God through Jesus Christ, by accepting Him (Jesus Christ) into our lives, that the inner contents of our vessels be transformed from darkness to light.
.....But what happens if we refuse to accept the message of Christ (Salvation), or we just listen to the message and not act upon it, can we be cleansed? The answer is No! We may be washed but not cleansed. Every believer and unbeliever should take a minute to ponder on this statement....''we may be washed but not cleansed''.
Judas Iscariot did not accept the message of Jesus Christ, because if he did, he would have changed his old ways, but he continued in his old path, which eventually led him to betray Jesus Christ.

Though Judas Iscariot's feet was washed by Jesus Christ, he was not cleansed like the other disciples, hence had no part with Jesus Christ or the body of Christ. The washing of his feet by Jesus Christ was a mere ceremonial action than spiritual.

''For he knew who should betray him, therefore said he, Ye are not all clean'' ~ John 13:10 (KJV).


The story of Judas, how he betrayed Christ and how he ended his life, was recorded in the Bible for us to learn its lessons. Taking these lessons to heart will help us avoid the mistakes that Judas committed. From there, let’s strive what it needs to be like Jesus. When we do, God will be pleased with us and we will live a more blessed life

Also, note that the lessons from the life of Judas Iscariot which are mentioned in this article are be restricted to these seven. Many more lessons can be drawn from the life of Judas Iscariot. However, from these few mentioned above, it is necessary that we evaluate and re-evaluate our lives with respect to our walk with God, in order to prevent us from building a foundation for the devil to take advantage of our lives like Judas Iscariot.

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