Judas Betrays Jesus: Parallel Gospels, Differences, and Analysis

Using BibleHub's Parallel Gospels. Here's the one for these texts. I'll try to integrate them, group parts of the story together, and order them sensibly where possible.

The Verses

"Now Judas also, who was betraying Him, knew the place, for Jesus had often met there with His disciples." (John 18:2)


"Judas then, having received the Roman cohort and officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, came there with lanterns and torches and weapons." (John 18:3)

"While He was still speaking, behold, Judas, one of the twelve, came up accompanied by a large crowd with swords and clubs, who came from the chief priests and elders of the people." (Matt 26:47)

"Immediately while He was still speaking, Judas, one of the twelve, came up accompanied by a crowd with swords and clubs, who were from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders." (Mark 14:43)

"While He was still speaking, behold, a crowd came, and the one called Judas, one of the twelve, was preceding them..."(Luke 22:47)


"Now he who was betraying Him gave them a sign, saying, “Whomever I kiss, He is the one; seize Him.” (Matt. 26:48)

"Now he who was betraying Him had given them a signal, saying, “Whomever I kiss, He is the one; seize Him and lead Him away under guard.” (Mark 14:44)


"...and he approached Jesus to kiss Him." (Luke 22:47)

"Immediately Judas went to Jesus and said, 'Hail, Rabbi!'' and kissed Him." (Matt. 26:49)

"After coming, Judas immediately went to Him, saying, “Rabbi!” and kissed Him." (Mark 14:45)

"But Jesus said to him, 'Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?'"(Luke 22:48)


"When those who were around Him saw what was going to happen, they said, 'Lord, shall we strike with the sword?'" (Luke 22:49)


"And Jesus said to him, 'Friend, do what you have come for.' Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and seized Him." (Matt. 26:50)

"They laid hands on Him and seized Him." (Mark 14:46)


"And behold, one of those who were with Jesus reached and drew out his sword, and struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his ear." (Matt. 26:51)

"But one of those who stood by drew his sword, and struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his ear." (Mark 14:47)

"And one of them struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his right ear." (Luke 22:50)

"Simon Peter then, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s slave, and cut off his right ear; and the slave’s name was Malchus." (John 18:10)

Note: Before John 18:10, John 18:4-9 happens which aren't in other accounts. I'll show them later.


"But Jesus answered and said, “Stop! No more of this.” And He touched his ear and healed him. " (Luke 22:51)

"Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place; for all those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword." (Matt. 26:52)

"So Jesus said to Peter, 'Put the sword into the sheath; the cup which the Father has given Me, shall I not drink it?'" (John 18:11)

"'Or do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels? How then will the Scriptures be fulfilled, which say that it must happen this way?'" (Matt. 26:53-54)


"At that time Jesus said to the crowds, 'Have you come out with swords and clubs to arrest Me as you would against a robber? Every day I used to sit in the temple teaching and you did not seize Me. But all this has taken place to fulfill the Scriptures of the prophets.'" (Matt. 26:55-56)

"And Jesus said to them, 'Have you come out with swords and clubs to arrest Me, as you would against a robber? Every day I was with you in the temple teaching, and you did not seize Me; but this has taken place to fulfill the Scriptures.'" (Mark 14:48-49)

"Then Jesus said to the chief priests and officers of the temple and elders who had come against Him, 'Have you come out with swords and clubs as you would against a robber? While I was with you daily in the temple, you did not lay hands on Me; but this hour and the power of darkness are yours.'" (Luke 22:52-53)


"So the Roman cohort and the commander and the officers of the Jews, arrested Jesus and bound Him" (John 18:12)


"A young man was following Him, wearing nothing but a linen sheet over his naked body; and they seized him. But he pulled free of the linen sheet and escaped naked." (Mark 14:51-52)


"...Then all the disciples left Him and fled." (Matt. 26:56)

"And they all left Him and fled." (Mark 14:50)


The part in John, 18:4-9, where they question Jesus follows. I don't know where to fit it in.

"So Jesus, knowing all the things that were coming upon Him, went forth and said to them, 'Whom do you seek?' They answered Him, 'Jesus the Nazarene.' He said to them, 'I am He.' And Judas also, who was betraying Him, was standing with them. So when He said to them, 'I am He,' they drew back and fell to the ground. Therefore He again asked them, 'Whom do you seek?' And they said, 'Jesus the Nazarene.' Jesus answered, 'I told you that I am He; so if you seek Me, let these go their way,' to fulfill the word which He spoke, 'Of those whom You have given Me I lost not one.'"

My Analysis

I put John 18:2 first since Judas knowing where they meet is the logical start. Then, John since Judas just received the Roman cohort. Jesus is there speaking to disciples when they're interrupted by Judas and the cohort. Then, the all agree a crowd shows up with Judas. Three, Matt, Mark, and John, say who they're from. Matthew and Mark mention the weapons while the detail-oriented Luke just says they're a crowd. That Judas shows up with a crowd to interrupt them is the first thing they all agree on. The first, fully-corroborated facts.

Matthew and Mark say Judas told them he'd kiss the target.

Matthew and Mark say Judas "immediately" went to Jesus to kiss him. Luke says he approached to kiss him as if something else happened then. Luke says Jesus asked Judas if he was betraying him with a kiss. Matthew says He told him to do what he came to do. Although it seems obvious, we can't be sure if Jesus said these things just before the kiss or after. I'm defaulting on after with the kiss, the question, and do what you have to do. Possible contradictions: Why did Luke not report an immediate kiss? Did he immediately kiss him or some kind of delay allowing other events to happen?

Luke mentions they asked about what was going to happen. Later on, it did happen. So, I place it before them grabbing him. Then, they grab him.

All Gospels agree that one of Jesus' disciples cut off the ear of a slave of the high priest with a sword. I'll note that is several claims together they all agree on. It's the second set of fully-corroborated facts. John says the disciple was Peter and the target was Malchus. Luke and John say it was his right ear. This is solid testimony.

Jesus then stops the fight, rebukes disciples, and heals an ear. Luke says Jesus yells "Stop!" That probably comes first. He might heal the ear next to stun the soldiers or after He talks to the disciples. Matthew and John says Jesus orders the sword put up followed by three counterpoints. He uses different words in each: taking up the sword, the cup He's supposed to drink, and he could summon angels. This was a high-stress, combat situation He just stopped. He probably said all of this rapid fire to both get His disciples to chill out and let His prior teachings sink in when they were reacting more than thinking. Contradictions? Not really so much as a strange omission where only Luke mentions a miracle healing of the ear. Matthew reports about as many miracles as Luke in other Gospels but not this. Mark doesn't mention this despite getting his testimony from Peter himself. Did Peter leave it out of his preaching? John bias works in favor of his credibility: he's the only one that names Peter, his rival. The claim is consistent with Peter's prior behavior, too.

Matt, Mark, and Luke corroborate Jesus asked if they were arresting Him like a robber. They also corroborate He countered they didn't seize Him in the temple where there were independent witnesses. They corroborate He was there on a daily basis but disagree on how He said that. Matthew and Mark say it's taken place to fulfill the Scriptures. Matthew says He had just said that in the angel reference (consistency). Luke adds "this hour and power of darkness are yours." Contradictions? Matthew, Mark, and Luke disagree on Jesus' words about teaching in the temple.

They grab Jesus, they fail to grab some random guy (Mark), and all the disciples flee (Matthew/Mark). John says Jesus was formally arrested. Mark talks about the guy they tried to grab. John's reporting says he was a witness. Mark's writing comes from Peter's preaching per early church. So, they fleed afterward. That two disciples, including one fighter, said they fleed makes that highly credible. Interpretation of key difference: the naked guy. Peter was personally responsible for most wild stunts in the Gospel. Adds credibility for me that he'd tell Mark about this while others focused on what was more important.

John 18:4-9 is a problem. The other Gospels indicate Judas' plan was to betray Jesus with a kiss, Judas did that immediately, and then they grab Him. John's say they asked who He was, fell down before Him, and then grabbed Him. This looks like a massive contradiction. Potential resolution: it either happened during the potential delay before the kiss implied by Luke or right after Jesus told Judas to do what he came to do. I'm thinking Judas identified Jesus with a kiss, Jesus replied to Judas, Judas stepped back, one or more in the crowd wanted to double-check His identity, the Q&A happened, and then they grabbed Him.

John 18:6. That they drew back and fell to the ground is still confusing given they showed up with a malicious insider, a sign for a setup, and weapons to arrest Jesus. They're not here to worship Him. Doing both is beyond strange to me. Are they believers who are reluctantly doing this under orders from the government? Or are they already mocking Him like they did later before crucifixion? This is a big issue to me since I think a court would consider throwing John's testimony out over verses 4-9.

Let's review the strongest claims together:

1. They all agree Judas betrayed them.
2. Most agree the crowd was armed.
3. 3/4 say who they're from.
4. 3/4, 2/4 directly and 1/4 by implication, say they have weapons.
5. 3/4 say Judas uses a kiss.
6. 4/4 say one disciple cut off an ear of the slave of the high priest.
7. 3/4 says Jesus rebukes His disciples for fighting.
8. 3/4 says Jesus asked why He's treated like a robber despite teaching daily at the temple.
9. Although 1/4 says it, 4/4 imply they arrested Jesus later by describing His trial.

Without inerrancy, we can say this with strong corroboration:

Judas betrayed Jesus. He came with an armed crowd to arrest Him. He signaled the target with a kiss. One disciple defended Jesus by cutting off the ear of a slave of the high priest. Jesus rebuked all of them. Jesus called out the corruption and unnecessary weapons in the arrest. They arrested Him.

Without John's testimony, we can say this with strong corroboration:

Judas betrayed Jesus. A crowd came to arrest Him. Two of His disciples said they were armed. Judas signaled the target with a kiss. One disciple defended Jesus by cutting off the ear of a slave of the high priest. Jesus asks why He's being treated like a robber despite teaching daily in the temple. They arrested Him.

The biggest threats to inerrancy here are John's testimony and disagreements on Jesus' words about teaching in the temple. John's just doesn't fit the story well. Unlike the fight stoppage, the reply about the temple doesn't look like something He'd repeat. Look closely at the three versions of daily teaching. It just looks like one or more of the witnesses mis-remembered what He said.

Unlike inerrancy, there are no threats to infallibility. The witnesses have strong testimony that Jesus was betrayed, didn't resist, was arrested, and his disciples abandoned Him.

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