Activities for individuals or groups
Why did he do it?
Judas is the archetypal villain. Very little is known about him: there is no mention of him during the ministry of Jesus in Galilee, as there is of the other disciples.
Was he simply not there at the time, or was his name excluded later one because of what he had done?
Stand back and look dispassionately at Judas. List all the different motives he might have had for doing what he did.
Rank them in their order of likelihood.
Movies about betrayal
Can you name the films?
Can you see a connection with Judas' story?
Can you think of others?
Standing in another's shoes
Read the gospel passages dealing with the last days of Jesus, prior to his death on the cross. You'll find under 'What the gospels say' at the bottom of each page of A Life of Jesus, under
List the series of events in the lead-up to the crucifixion.
Now write a paragraph on each event, but telling the story from what you imagine might have been Judas' point of view.
Films about betrayal
Stage 1: Make up a list
List some films about betrayal. You can choose recent films or classics. If this is a group activity, choose films most people know.
Stage 2: Glance over your list
1. Have you chosen films that find echoes in your own personal life, or ones that are more about the big picture?
2. Do your favorites have a little of both?
3. What does this say about you and what has meaning for you in a story?
Stage 3: Choose your favorite
4. What are the central themes in this film?
5. Is the betrayal shown in a realistic light, or is it heavily weighted towards 'goodies' and 'baddies'?
6. Do any of the situations remind you of your own life or experiences?
7. Or does the film have universal themes?
Stage 4: Think about your choices
Group activity: discuss these questions, making sure everyone in the group has a chance to talk about their ideas.
Single activity: sit down for a few minutes and focus your mind; make a quick list of your favorites; read through the Stage 3 questions, and think about your responses, perhaps as you do other tasks in your day.
"I have sinned by betraying innocent blood." But they said "What is that to us?" (Matthew 27:4)
"Very truly, I tell you, one of you will betray me". (John 13:21)
The wonderful thing about the gospels is that they can sum up universal problems in just a sentence or two.
Think about these questions:
How much innocent blood has been spilt in the centuries since the words above were written?
How many people have said, in effect, 'What is that to us?'
How many times has each of us betrayed Jesus and what he stood for?
Judas, medieval sculpture by Gislebertus
Judas betrays Jesus, Giotto
The Taking of Christ, Caravaggio
Christ and Judas, Karl Schmitt-Rottluff