This story of Judas is crammed full of symbols, objects, and motivations to bounce off. From the silly to the deep and reflective there is a real mix of ideas here that can be used to springboard your group into one aspect of the story for discussion. One thing the games don’t do is vilify Judas.
The coin hunt – Explain to the children that Judas has lost the 30 pieces of silver and needs to find them all before he can go and give them back! Hide the coins round the room and have the children find them. If you don’t want to use real coins then pictures of circles wrapped in silver foil work well.
No not me – Have all the children sit in a circle, close their eyes and place their hands behind their backs. Walk around the outside of the circle and gently place a token (a sweet works well) in the hands of one child. Go round the circle and allow each child to ask one other child a question – either ‘do you have it?’ or ‘does your neighbour have it?’ the child then needs to either reveal their hands or reach to feel their neighbours hands. Linking into the ideas who would betray Jesus wasn’t obvious to the rest of the group and that Jesus had to be identified by a kiss.
This worksheet for Judas is a mixture between very physical and tangible things, and ideology. We count and examine physical money, discuss motivations behind it, and show how being misguided is not a trait exclusive to Judas in the apostles crowd. There is quite a lot of discussion questions on this sheet so it’s probably best completed in small groups, though it could be done as independent work if needed.
To complete the worksheet you will need a coin, a crayon or pencil, and something to write with.
The PDF can can be downloaded by clicking on the image.
This make post for Judas is a lovely and rather substantial craft. It illustrates how different Jesus’ approach to being radical was to those who looked to stop his message. It ties in with this lessons approach to Judas, that he was misguided and unable to fully grasp the alternatives that Jesus was offering
Kids love to play fight, and with this craft they will probably give it a go. However, the reveal is also a white flag attached to the blade which hampers the battle somewhat. Be sure to remind the kids what a white flag in battle means!
If you want the teachers page then please click on the image for the pdf.
Today’s hero is Judas Iscariot because he show us the gift of betrayal
Essential Teachers notes:
Some paint Judas as bad, others idealistic, it’s been argued he was a pawn moved about as much by Jesus’ plan as the powers that be, and that the blame he attributes himself is not his to own. This lesson takes a middle road, it paints Judas as someone misguided, mis-sold the truth and unable to fully grasp the alternatives that Jesus was offering. Although Judas comes to a grisly end (not included here) it’s important to note that most disciples misread Jesus’ message and his power, even the closest James and John spoke of having his right and left seats when he came into his kingdom!
Main Passage : Matthew 26
Additional passages : Luke 22, + other parallel passages
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Here are the images you need for the hero’s attributes linked to Judas Iscariot (Matthew 26).
Each hero set contains a high quality graphic of the character, a take home bible card and a colouring page.
The images are displayed small here, click on the image you wish to have, then save the image that loads.
(Please note : these images have no watermark but are not copyright free, they are only intended for classroom use.)
The 12 were ordinary men, all would have learnt scripture in school but none had been selected by a rabbi as an exceptional student to carry on their studies.
There were no volunteers, Jesus chose these 12, which suggests there was more.
The number 12 is so key in Jewish symbolism that after Judas died the apostles felt compelled to replace him.
While most would have been seen as poor in their Jewish devotions, others were noticeably devote.
Many had strong social, political, and religious views and expectations when they came to Jesus.
It’s believed many were teenagers, young and impulsive, malleable to new ideas but headstrong and stubborn in accepting them.
Names you need to know
Peter (Simon) – Probably the most vocal, impulsive, emotional and well known disciples, Simon is renamed Peter (the rock) by Jesus and goes onto be the sort of leader of the pack.
James & John – These brothers are called the sons of thunder by Jesus, over excitable and fiery they form the inner circle with Peter and seem glued to Jesus’s side.
Andrew – Leaving John the Baptist, Andrew seeks greater truth in Jesus, while brother to Simon-Peter, Andrew is much less impulsive and outspoken than his fellow Galilean fishermen.
Philip – Is clearly a seeker and will pull people into the discussion, inviting Nathaniel into the crowd. Not to be confused with Philip the deacon who met the eunuch.
Thomas – Is a man of declarations, be they boldly supportive, deeply theological, or famously doubtful, he’s the first to grasp that Jesus is fully God.
Nathaniel – Is a devout Israelite, a true Jew whose faith is very much alive and makes him able to see Jesus for who is really is, the messiah, right from the beginning.
Matthew – Longs to be accepted and loved, something he would never get being a tax collector, he sees an opportunity in Jesus’ invitation and doesn’t hesitate to leave it all behind.
Little James – James the less or the little is probably the most obscure of all the disciples, but Jesus did not always choose the dramatic and some stories are untold.
Simon – Another man of strong convictions, a Zealot defending tradition and Jewishness, to be in a crowd with the tax collector Matthew shows how Jesus would include all in his kingdom.
Jude – Sometimes called Judas or Thaddeus, he wasn’t very outspoken but may have shared some of Simons strong beliefs. Some people believe he wrote the epistle Jude.
Judas – The money keeper and betrayer, it’s the 30 pieces of silver and kiss Judas will always be remembered for, the only disciple not to see Jesus resurrected.
These 12 brash, uncouth, foolish, brave, but importantly ordinary men were chosen by Jesus himself as his top team. The number 12 was hugely significant, signalling completeness in scriptures. The 12 tribes of Israel represented the whole of God’s chosen people, and so for Jesus to chose only 12 of his crowd was to symbolically show he was there for the whole of the Jewish nation. In acts Judas is replaced with Matthias to continue this idea.
Unlike some other biblical heroes, the Apostles stories are usually a bi-product, a means to illustrating a greater lesson, and for some their presence in the list is the greatest fact we can verify about them. For evangelicals the titbits of information can’t be bumped out with church tradition, though whatever your perspective on the validity of the non-biblical accounts it’s usually worth taking a look at.
These 12 men were chosen, there were no volunteers and their status as chosen lead to persecution for many. They accepted a role with no security, no pay, and often involving abandoning family. While the risks were great, and the sacrifice total, in return these 12 had an intensive discipleship course, at times having hidden meaning revealed to them while the rest of the crowd were left to ponder. As well as being sent out as part of the 70, and commissioned by the resurrected Christ, they were witness to countless miracles and the arrival of Pentecost. Many were martyred and some went on to write scripture.
Taking a closer look at the list reveals that they were neither all Galilean, nor all fishermen as they are often portrayed. Rather than gormless teens looking for something to do, most had careers they abandoned and were actively searching for a deeper truth. Many came to Jesus with a strong faith and firm opinions. The world they lived in was in turmoil, the religious groups torn between appeasing the empire that detested their religion, and fighting against it. Some were part of these groups, some on opposite sides. While elements of the Roman world shaped the early church, they met Jesus as an oppressed people dreaming of a ‘Messiah’, a great warrior who would rescue his people from it’s clutches. Jesus turned their dreams on their heads and seemed to spend significant time confusing their preconceived ideas.
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