The scriptures show that Judas betrayed Jesus, but did he positively know what the outcome was to be? Even the apostles did not understand fully what Jesus was trying to teach them.

References: Luke 22:3,4 | Acts 1:6,7

  • I feel like this is a very good question. The Hermenetutics SE has the same Q&A - though the one answer I don't believe is necessarily sound. Here is it for your reference, should you find it acceptable: bit.ly/1DzrLEt
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    Apr 2 '15 at 13:53
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    I often wondered if Judas, having seen the miracles of Jesus, and believing he was the messiah, was attempting to make Jesus 'play his hand' and rise up against the Romans, this would explain why he was so quick to off himself when his plan failed. Apr 2 '15 at 15:22

It is difficult to believe that Judas Iscariot would not have known the priests intended to have Jesus killed. After all, their willingness to pay thirty silver coins, a small fortune at a time when peasants generally only used the lesser bronze coins, was clear evidence of foul intent.

However, Matthew's Gospel portrays Judas as suffering considerable remorse after the death of Jesus, suggesting that he might not have known that this would be the outcome of his betrayal:

Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see thou to that. And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself.
Matthew 27:3-5

On the other hand, Acts of the Apostles shows Judas as well pleased with himself, using the blood money to buy a farm, although by misadventure he was unable to enjoy the fruits of his betrayal. Since he displays complete unconcern that Jesus had been crucified, we could say that in this account, Judas was also unconcerned at the time of the betrayal whether this would be the outcome, whether or not he knew:

Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out.
Acts 1:18


The betrayal by Judas appears in chapter 26 of the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 14 of Mark, and chapter 22 of Luke. In all three the decision of Judas is portrayed rather suddenly. Matthew and Mark move straight from the story of Jesus' anointing at Bethany to the story of the betrayal:

"Amen, I say to you, wherever this gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be spoken of, in memory of her." Then one of the Twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests...
Matthew 26:13–14 (NABRE)

"Amen, I say to you, wherever the gospel is proclaimed to the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her." Then Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve, went off to the chief priests to hand him over to them. Mark 14:9–10 (NABRE)

Matthew does add avarice to the possible list of Judas' motives when he reports him saying, "What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?" But neither he nor Mark go into detail about what Judas knew or supposed would happen after the "handing over".

Luke does add a detail in his recounting of the events:

Then Satan entered into Judas, the one surnamed Iscariot, who was counted among the Twelve ...
Luke 22:3 (NABRE)

This perhaps gives some clue to Luke's idea of Judas' motivations. I don't believe this could be counted as possession per sé (though it would be interesting to see the Biblical Hermeneutics take on what exactly the verb behind "entered into" meant), but it certainly does imply a much greater active cooperation with evil than the other two gospels do.

In addition, Mark and Matthew treat the betrayal as a relatively simple transaction: Judas goes to the chief priests (and in Matthew specifically asks for money), they in turn agree to give him money, and then he comes up with a plan himself (both Mark and Matthew have "he looked for an opportunity to hand him over"). In Luke, on the other hand, Judas

went to the chief priests and temple guards to discuss a plan for handing him over to them.
(Luke 22:4)

It is difficult to believe that a discussion would have left Judas with no clue whatsoever of the intentions of the high priests towards Jesus.

It appears unclear, then, whether or not Judas was aware of what would happen to Jesus upon his betrayal; but the gospel that gives us the most detail of what did in fact happen appears to suggest that it's likely he was.


It appears to me that Judas has no knowledge Jesus was going to be condemned to death. Otherwise, he wouldn't have repented afterwards.

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