Sunday, May 20, 2012

In defence of Judas

Judas' name has gone down in history as the betrayer of Jesus. A man with no redeeming features whatsoever.

But when we consider the story of the last days before the Crucifixion we can't help but wonder. Did Judas have a choice?

Was Judas actually following God's plan in betraying Jesus? Was Christ's death dependant on there being a betrayal?

In John 17:12 Jesus prays for His disciples. He says: "While I was with them, I kept them safe by the power of your name, the name you gave me. I protected them, and not one of them was lost, except the man who was bound to be lost—so that the scripture might come true."

What does Jesus mean here? Does He imply that Judas was following the will of God and it was his destiny to betray Christ?

We know how the story ends. Judas hangs himself.

Was this an act of desperation? Or was there remorse involved too?

Did he seek God's forgiveness for what he had done? And was he forgiven I wonder?

These, and many other questions may still surround the name of Judas. But more pertinant. Here's a question for us all to ponder.

How about us? How many times have we betrayed Jesus by what we have done and said; or omitted to do or say?

There are more ways of betraying the Son of God than through a kiss.


  1. So many things come to mind with respect to the choice of Judas. We all make choices, both good ones and bad ones. And, from reading scripture (in my simple fashion, not scholarly) it appears to me that someone would betray Christ.

    The weakness of our human nature is clear here to me.

    But it was what Judas did afterward that was his condemnation in my understanding. His morose despair, his personal disgrace should we say, blinded him from believing that he could be forgiven by the Lord for this act. He didn't believe he could be forgiven, nor did seek forgiveness, ...and thus condemned himself.

    I always think of the difference of the two thieves on Calvary, each one next to the Jesus in those final moments. One is remorseful for his actions, and Jesus tells him that truly he will be with him in paradise. The other one shows no remorse, no need for Jesus forgiveness and so none was given him.

    I have so many thoughts on this subject.

    I have always found this debate on Judas to be rather fascinating and cannot wait to read others thoughts as well.

    Good one Victor.

  2. I've always thought that pride was behind the suicide of Judas. Jesus tells us that he was lost. His story makes me realize that I have to keep working on my relationship with God and never to take grace for granted. If the apostles could still ask at the time of the Ascension if Jesus was coming back to establish an earthly kingdom with Israel the ruling people, then Judas's darkness must have been ever so much deeper. It is that darkness I pray to be delivered from.

  3. Good points Daily Grace and Barbara.

    The thing is ... we don't know that Judas did not show remorse. He did return the payment he received; that at least shows that he knew he did wrong. He may not have believed he would be forgiven, (we don't really know that), but his despair was such that he probably thought his sin was unforgiveable. Is that (his private belief) in itself an unforgivable sin?

    But the mystery to me is, as you say DG, someone had to betray Jesus. So ... was betrayal part of God's plan? If so, then someone, Judas or someone else, would have betrayed Jesus. And it follows therefore that that person was himself destined to do such a thing so that God's will be done.

    This raises the question: How guilty is that man? Did he really have a choice? If not, should he not be forgiven for his actions; whether he sought forgiveness or not?

    God bless.

  4. I guess you could say "someone had to do it" for the scriptures to be fulfilled. I pray that since he was just an integral part of the Passion of Jesus, that he did feel remorse and repented and received God's mercy.

  5. That's what I'm wondering Noreen. Did someone HAVE to do it? Was it necessary that Jesus would be betrayed? Could He have been arrested by the Jews/Romans without the aid of Judas or anyone else?

    Or was Judas an example to us? How often do WE betray Jesus by our actions?

    God bless.

  6. Exactly Victor. I think Judas is a shining example of what not to do. We may not turn Him over to our local authorities but we do betray Him when we sin against Him.

  7. Since we do not believe in predestination, then I have to say, No, Judas was not destined to betray Jesus.
    I do think Judas problem was not asking for forgiveness. Did he feel remorse or did he just feel despair?
    We don't really know. Maybe at the time of death he asked for forgiveness.

  8. I agree Colleen. We don't believe in predestination.

    I don't understand however what Jesus meant by "except the man who was bound to be lost—so that the scripture might come true." This implies the Judas, or another, was destined through scripture to betray Jesus. It's as if someone was marked from the moment he was born to carry out the betrayal.

    When I asked a priest he disagreed with me and said that Judas had a choice NOT to betray Jesus. But he didn't explain the quotation of Jesus.

    I wonder what others think.

    God bless.

  9. This may not go over well but I've always felt a bit bad for Judas. We've all betrayed Jesus, we all crucified him. Since there is no time in heaven, all is eternally present to God and He already knew what Judas would do. He didn't take away Judas' choices by this knowledge. The difference between Judas and Peter was that Judas despaired of God's mercy while Peter accepted it. Still, we don't know for sure what happened in Judas' last moments.

    Jesus loved Judas despite knowing what he was going to betray him. Maybe Judas repented at the last second? I've always wondered what happened to Judas.

    I think something was lost in the wording of this passage. God cannot will anything but good so no one is bound to be lost but since everything is eternally present to Him He knew the choices Judas would make. Wouldn't that make sense?

  10. I think it does make sense, Mary.

    Maybe this passage was not well translated from the original version.

    God bless.