Judas Iscariot (1st-century CE) was the New Testament Apostle who betrayed Jesus Christ for thirty pieces of silver. Judas singled Jesus out before the High Priest Caiaphas’ soldiers by kissing his cheek in the garden of Gethsemene (Mark 14.43-6).
Otherwise, the Priest’s guards wouldn’t have known who to arrest among Jesus and his disciples, who’d been sleeping and praying at Gethsemene during the night. Caiaphas had been appointed High Priest by the Romans, and his soldiers duly turned Jesus over to Pontius Pilate’s guards.
Before the betrayal, Judas looked after the mission’s finances (John 13:29). Some writers assume that all he ever cared for was money, even though most religious organizations necessarily have a business aspect. Shortly after Jesus’ arrest, Judas’ greedy mood turned bitter and self-recriminating. He returned the ‘blood money’ and hung himself on a Yew tree.¹
“Poor old Judas” goes the refrain, at this point, in Andrew LLoyd Webber’s rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar.
Matthias was chosen to replace Judas as an apostle, keeping the number of apostles at twelve, which is an important Biblical number (e.g. the twelve tribes of Israel).
The tale of Judas is, perhaps, the best-known story illustrating the old adage, “all that glitters is not gold”—or in this case, silver.
¹ There are actually several canonical and non-canonical variants concerning the death of Judas: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judas_Iscariot#Death
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