28 Jan The Symbolism of Judas Iscariot
In the Bible we all know Judas Iscariot as the traitor of Jesus Christ (Mark 3:19). However Judas symbolizes something more deeper than a disciple who betrays Jesus Christ. He symbolizes the corrupted Jewish leaders. The name Judas is the past tense for Judah in Hebrew, which means praise. Judah is the tribe the Jewish people belong to, including Jesus Christ. It is not a coincident that the man who betrays Jesus Christ has same name as Judah.
Even though he was a disciple and was able to cast out demons, he was a thief (John 12:6). Judas did not become a disciple to serve Jesus but for selfish reasons. This type of lifestyle parallels with the Pharisees Jesus confronted. Even though the Pharisees were religious leaders, they defrauded widows out of their property and were selfish (Mark 12:38-40, Matthew 6:5, Luke 18:11). Jesus called both the Pharisees and Judas devils (John 6:70, John 8:44).
Thirty Pieces of Silver
Judas betrayed Jesus Christ for thirty pieces of silver. This is the same amount Zechariah told the shepherds to pay him for his wages before God told him to throw it to the potter (Zechariah 11:12-13). Thirty pieces of silver is equal to 17 shekels, the money Jeremiah paid for a field in which he placed the deed in a pot according to God’s instructions (Jeremiah 32:6-14).
After Judas hung himself, the priests bought the potter’s field as a burial place for foreigners. This is to fulfill prophecy is both Jeremiah and Zechariah. The world potter is important because God is referred to as a potter. Just like a potter mold clay into vessels, God molded us to be his vessels (Genesis 2:7, Isaiah 64:8, Romans 9:21).
Field of Blood
The field symbolizes Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus Christ told several parables comparing the Kingdom of Heaven to a field (Matthew 13:44, Matthew 13:24, Matthew 13:31, Matthew 21:33). When Judas threw the money at the temple stating that he betrayed the innocent blood (Matthew 27:4). The priest talked among themselves that they couldn’t use the money in the treasury because it was the price of blood (Matthew 27:6). So they decided to buy the same field that Judas’ dead body landed when it snapped from a tree and named it Field of Blood (Matthew 27:7, Acts 1:18-19).
Crucifixion of Jesus Christ Imagery
This imagery symbolizes the Jews’ responsibility of shedding innocent blood when they demand for the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. When Pilate washed his hands of innocent blood, the Jewish people told him, His blood be on us, and on our children. – Matthew 27:25. Judas being hung from a tree is an image of Jesus Christ on the cross (Galatians 3:13, Acts 10:39, Deuteronomy 21:23). Judas’ blood and guts on the field symbolizes the emphasis on Jesus Christ sacrificing his body and blood for our salvation. Jesus was labeled on the cross, The King of the Jews (Mark 15:26).
Salvation is From the Jews
It is not a coincidence that the priests made it the field a burial place for foreigners. Foreigners represents us, people who did not initially had covenant with God through Abraham. Jesus Christ was right when he told the Samaritan woman that salvation is from the Jews (John 4:22). Jesus Christ also warned the Jewish people saying this, Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. – Matthew 21:43. The word ethnos in Greek for a nation can also mean Gentiles. By the Jewish people demanding for the crucifixion of Jesus was crucial for us as Gentiles.
God uses everyone to fulfill his purpose. His ways are not our ways. He looks at the bigger picture. Even though Judas Iscariot was not saved, he played an important role to paint a picture that God is in control of every little detail. We serve and worship a mighty God. Let us reflect on that daily.