The Judas Story

You ask four people to write an account of the same incident, you’re bound to get differences in the final narrative. The Judas betrayal is just one example:

  • Matthew – Judas goes to the priests and asks what they’ll give him in return for turning over Jesus. He gets paid 30 pieces of silver on the spot. The betrayal, itself, is done with the kiss.
  • Mark – Again, Judas proactively goes to the priests, but is only “promised” money. The kiss is repeated.
  • Luke – In this account, Satan enters into Judas and gets him to go to the priests who, this time, “agree to” give him money. This is the only gospel with Jesus’ quote, “Judas, do you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?” (22:48)
  • John – Satan enters Judas’s heart during the Last Supper. There’s no mention of going to the priests beforehand; Judas just appears with a detachment of soldiers and officers. There’s no mention of a kiss or of any money changing hands.

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2 Responses to “The Judas Story”

  1. Marc Tumeinski says:

    Thank you for that interesting point and example. It made me think that there is even more to it than just different eyewitness reports, though that is part of it. For Christianity, Scripture has two authors: God and the inspired human author. God intends to communicate through Scripture some aspect of truth necessary for salvation. The human author is communicating a particular truth to a particular audience in a particular place at a particular time. This authorship and these truths are unitary in a sense.

    Of course, Scripture does not just have authors but hearers and readers. That seems part of the point of your book: helping people to hear the Gospels directly. In line with that, I think that a hearer/reader benefits from reading the different Gospel accounts.

  2. JEL says:

    Terrific point, Marc. I’m new to all this and am fascinated by the different voices and the influencing “hands” on these voices.

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