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Who were the men by the name Judas in the New Testament?

In the New Testament, there are several men by the name of Judas. These are:

1-Judas Iscariot

He is one of the disciples of Jesus who followed Him for three and a half years (Mark 3:19). Although, he witnessed Jesus’ ministry, His teaching, and His many miracles, he “betrayed him” (Mark 3:19) for 30 pieces of silver because of his love of money (Matthew 26:13-15). This amount of money was the traditional price of a slave (Exodus 21:32)

Driven by remorse for the horrible act of unfaithfulness, “he went away and hanged himself” (Matthew 27:5). This he must have done immediately, for those taking Jesus to Calvary found his mangled body by the roadside as they left the city (Acts 1:18).

2-Judas “Not Iscariot”

He is mentioned in the gospel of John chapter 14:22. He was generally identified as Lebbaeus (Matthew 10:3) or Thaddaeus (Mark 3:18), though the identification is not certain (Mark 3:18).

3-Judas of Galilee

The apostle Luke mentioned him in the book of Acts, “After him, Judas the Galilean appeared in the days of the census and led a band of people in revolt. He too was killed, and all his followers were scattered” (ch. 5:37). He was a rebel, whom Josephus (Antiquities xviii. 1. 1) calls a Gaulonite, of the country east of Galilee whereas Luke calls him a Galilean.

The insurrection of Judas, tried to achieve a complete independence of Israel from Rome. The movement forbade any payment of taxes to Caesar and allowed for the use of weapons. It was a religious war. Judas and his followers were affiliated with the Pharisees. Although the attempt was defeated with the death of its leader, it was the starting point to the sect of the Zealots.

4-Judas of Damascus

He is mentioned also in the book of Acts: “The Lord told him, “Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying” (ch. 9:11). The record gives no information concerning this Judas, or why Saul had been led to his house.

5-Judas Surnamed Barsabas

This person is mentioned in the book of Acts: “Then the apostles and elders, with the whole church, decided to choose some of their own men and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They chose Judas (called Barsabbas) and Silas, men who were leaders among the believers” (Acts 15:22).

The name Barsabas was also carried by Joseph, “who was surnamed Justus” (Acts 1:23). If Barsabas is accepted as a family name, this Judas and Joseph were perhaps brothers. Joseph at least had been one of the close followers of Jesus. In Acts 15:32 Judas is named a prophet.

6- Juda or Judas (Brother of Jesus)

Matthew recorded, “Is not this the carpenter’s son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas?” (Matthew 13:55). This Jude could be the one that wrote the epistle of Jude. Therefore, he may well have been the brother of this James, and thus a brother of the Lord Jesus.

This relationship would tend to make him a leader figure in the early church and to give him the degree of importance that is shown in his epistle. He did not publicly claim his family relationship to the Lord. But he called himself “the servant of Jesus Christ” (Jude 1). This could be seen as an expression of modesty, that prevented him from declaring his kinship to Jesus Christ.

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In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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