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April 06, 2006



How do you know he repented? He commited suicide. It also said Satan entered him. If he truly repented he wouldn't have commited suicide. I agree that OUR sin put him on the cross but to say that Judas repented I cannot adhere to.


"When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty silver coins to the chief priests and the elders."

Matthew 27:3

You're right. We don't want Judas to repent. We want to demonise. We want Satan to have filled him. In a way that Satan couldn't fill us... But I don't think Judas was any more than human. Why was he seized with remorse when he saw Jesus condemned? If he'd wanted him dead, why be so cut up about it? We need to ask why he did what he did... And his quoted remorse suggests to me that whatever he foresaw, it failed. And I can quite imagine the overwhelming grief leading to suicide. It's not an uncommon response to a tragedy of such magnitude.


I'm not wanting to demonize the Bible states that satan entered him. Satan can influence Christians but satan cannot enter the believer in light of what Jesus says regarding light and darkness. Many people are seized with remorse but to conclude repentence is another thing.

I don't want satan to enter Judas, I don't want to demonize, etc. It only is based on what the Bible says. People all of the time are convicted of sin and some repent and turn away entering into the peace and others in their own pride do not repent (however remorseful) and respond differently. Remorse doesn't imply repentence.

As an example how about the rich young ruler? He went away remorseful even after knowing that Jesus was the Christ and he never repented.

All I want is to be true to what the Bible says I agree he was remorseful but remorseful doesn't imply repentence. Even throwing the money back doesn't imply repentence. Having a change of heart that is repentence and for me commiting suicide doesn't show a change of heart.

Many alcoholics have grief from what they do but does that show they have repented?

I'm not being difficult but I want to be consistent and accurate with the Bible. If the Bible says he repented or gives strong indications of repentence then by all means I would agree but other than saying remorse and throwing the money back there are no solid indications of repentence (turning from evil ways.)

Peter, he repented and turned away as evident by telling Jesus "You are the Christ the Son of the Living God." That is what God wants us to do. I don't see any indication from God's Word regarding Judas (other than throwing the money back and showing remorse both of which don't necisarily indicate repentance) of any change.


Judas is by far the most interesting character in Jesus Christ Superstar. It was watching this that first opened my eyes to the human Judas rather than the demonized Judas who had been handed down to me through my pentecostal upbringing.


i think it is wildly unwarranted to claim that Judas thought he was doing Jesus a favor, that it pleased Him to be turned over to authorities by His own disciple. scripture shows that Judas betrayed Jesus by turning Him into authorites for payment. how is this not a plain betrayal for the sake of greed? im appalled that some are so misinterpreting the text. lets believe in the Bible, not a single gnostic text, and Bible says Judas betrayed Jesus.

Judas did love Jesus (shown by his remorse in killing himself) but he loved money more. but yes, i like how you say we are all Judas, because we all at times betray our Lord and Friend.


I blogged a similar line of thinking a few days ago... but you expressed it much better.


so someone please tell what jesus mean when he asks "you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?" it seems that Jesus is making a contrast between betrayal, which is not an element of love, with a kiss, which is considered a symbol of love. you don't betray your friend and kiss him as you do it. that is bizarre, and that is why Jesus asks Judas this. if Judas really loved Jesus, as the his kiss generally indicates, he would not betray Him.

Jesus used the word "betrayal" How then could that be equivalent to Judas confusing Jesus' true spiritual mission with a political mission. that would be a "misunderstanding", not a betrayal. so if this alternative version was true, Jesus would have said something like "you misunderstood my mission after being with me so long?", not "you betray me with a kiss?" They are totally different scenarioes and would result in totally different responses by Jesus.

Furthermoe, after Judas realized Jesus would be crucified, he says "i have sinned, since I have betrayed innocent blood" There you have it! Judas admits his betrayal, which he calls sin. Judas did not say, "I thought I was doing Him a favor. How could I be so stupid!" So Jesus and Judas both refer to the situation as a betrayal, not a miscommunication of Jesus' ultimate purpose in Israel.

I'm open to new ideas, but lets rely on scripture, not speculation and 4th century gnostic texts rejected by early church fathers, who probably knew more about the source than us.


I find Judas confusing. I mean, did Jesus send him from the supper because of some great yin-yang evil-must-always-exist theory... or did Jeebus see it prophetically and had to go all Predestinated on our arses! Ah, I give up. God is good, we is all not so good.


“But Judas has traditionally been totally off limits. He is unredeemable. He betrayed Jesus. He is to be rubbished, spat on, despised, forgotten.”

Such an attitude towards Judas is in my view clearly wrong and not in accordance with scripture. What is wonderful about scripture is the way it portrays human characters. We see people not as black and white and two dimensional but as complex characters, we see both good and bad. So we see King David as a spiritual giant – yet someone who committed murder and adultery. We see Peter as the rock on whom Jesus would build his church, yet someone who denied Jesus three times. We see King Ahab as probably the worst king of Israel yet as someone who was capable of responding to God’s word and humbling himself as a result – see 1 Kings 21:25-29.

Scripture does not demonise people, it simply tells it as it is. Yes we can see good in Judas, yes we should recognize the capacity within ourselves to act as Judas did. Could Judas have been forgiven by Jesus in the way Peter was? I believe he could. John 21 could have recorded how Judas was filled with remorse and how he met with Jesus and received forgiveness and reinstatement. But it doesn’t. Instead it records Judas committing suicide.

In times gone by, suicides were buried at crossroads with a stake through their heart. No one who committed suicide could possibly be received into heaven. These days we understand depression etc better and have more compassionate attitudes. Yes I believe someone can commit suicide and still be “saved” and accepted by Christ. He understands a cry for help. Even spiritual giants like Elijah can feel so oppressed by man (or woman) that they become weary of life and long to be called home by God. 1 Kings 19:4.

It is not for us to determine where anyone else stands with Christ. We cannot know for sure about anyone other than ourselves. We can have an impression and such impressions are usually helpful so long as they are not fixed in stone. My impression from scripture is that Judas in his despair turned his back on God and I do not believe he repented or was “saved” but I may be wrong.

We do need to be very careful how we use scripture. 2 Timothy 2:15. In a related post on this topic:


Jason Clark comments on “Jesus calling Peter the devil too” – I don’t believe any reputable commentators suggest Jesus was calling Peter himself the devil in Matthew 16:23. Rather, he was discerning the enemy speaking through Peter. Matthew Henry’s commentary is very helpful in this regard: “Even the kindnesses of our friends are often abused by Satan, and made use of as temptations to us. We should learn to know the devil’s voice when he speaks to us in a saint as well when he speaks in a serpent.”

Which brings me back to my main point. We need to seek to understand and accept the depth of scripture and not rely on black and white, two dimensional simplifications and caricatures. This is what true leaders help us to do.


"John 21 could have recorded ..."

Sorry - this should have read "Like the account relating to Peter in John 21, scripture could have recorded how Judas was filled with remorse and how he met with Jesus and received forgiveness and reinstatement. Such an account would have been entirely consistent with scripture in my view. But sadly no such account exists. Instead scripture records Judas committing suicide."


I never thought that saying a fact based on text "unrepentant" would be considered domonizing. The fact is David repented, Peter repented, Ahab humbled himself initially and then murdered someone with Naboth's vineyard and hardened his heart therafter showing a lack of initial repentence. The fact is Judas showed remorse but didn't repent as compared with Peter who showed remorse and repented. In fact Jesus referred to Judas as a devil and Peter like JG said through Peter and not being a devil.


"We need to seek to understand and accept the depth of scripture and not rely on black and white, two dimensional simplifications and caricatures. This is what true leaders help us to do."

I think this is what we as disciplers of one another should do.

It is interesting, like you say, that Judas wasn't a "happy ending" disciple. All the rest of Jeebus' motley bunch, if tradition is to be believed, were flailed alive, tortured, beheaded... suffered for the Gospel thus ensuring (traditionally) their eternal life. Happy endings, allbeit with grusome prologues.

So it's easier to suppose Judas went bad and is burning with Hitler and Doris Day than to suggest his suicide was part of a complex and very human response to having betrayed God. But like you say, we are not black and white (except those of us who are genetic hybrids with Zebras) and so how less so is God.

The question of whether Judas repented is possibly moot, didn't Jesus forgive and thn in turn ask God to forgive those who murdered him... even though they were unrepentant? Worse still, while they were still enacting their evil plans and actions....


Thanks for demonstrating my point so well! We do indeed need to avoid indulging in black and white, two dimensional simplifications and caricatures.


I always wondered if *demonstrating* had something to do with *demons* and *castrating*. You know it's gonna hurt.


JG said, "We need to seek to understand and accept the depth of scripture and not rely on black and white, two dimensional simplifications and caricatures."

Perhaps there is wisdom in remembering scripture was written many years after these events unfolded and realize the authors probably were unable to precisely get inside of Judas' head. I can barely remember what I was thinking a week ago, let alone speculate on what someone else was thinking years after the fact. My point is the bible is full of so many mysteries that are subject to personal interpretation. Instead of fighting against this, why not open to it and realize God must have intended the mystery to be there? If he hadn't intended it, then it wouldn't be so?

The point was also made earlier that suicides used to be viewed as a one-way ticket to hell, but now that we know more about depression and brain chemistry, compassionate understanding has entered into our spiritual assessment of it. People are all both "good" and "bad". We are all victims of inaccurate perceptions. Maybe this depiction of Judas which has been handed down through the centuries falls into this category of misguided perception? I realize this is very hard for those who take the bible as perfectly accurate ~

Nick wrote: "I'm open to new ideas, but lets rely on scripture, not speculation and 4th century gnostic texts rejected by early church fathers, who probably knew more about the source than us."

How do we know the early church fathers knew more than we do now? They certainly did not understand suicide perfectly well. We have learned so much over these last 2000 years. Why not apply our knowledge to the wisdom in the bible and see it with clearer vision?

For me, and I do understand respectfully that many christians will disagree with me, the bible is much more powerfully interpreted through the lens of metaphor. The people who faithfully recorded these events did so through a 1st century understanding of the world. They wrote from their hearts about what it means to have a spiritual experience, which is undeniably true and meaningful. I think people get caught up in the surface details of these stories and in doing so, only scratch the surface of their deeper, truer metaphorical meaning. In this case, I understand Judas to be a devoted spiritual man. He was a true follower of Christ, who, like Peter, denied his lord. We all miss the mark. Perhaps Peter suffered less from depression, otherwise his denial could have also led to suicide and where would we be now? None of us is perfect. Even with Jesus standing right beside them in the flesh these two disciples fell short. Maybe the men who wrote these scriptures also made a simple miscalculation.

Asking questions like this should not be seen as an attack on faith, rather it should be seen as a healthy challenge. What is true can take a test like this. What is true always remains.

Mike R

As Visual Voice has so eloquently stated, I think a lot of this comes down to your concept of inerrancy in scripture, which isn't really a conversation about Judas.

Personally, I believe the Bible to be the inspired word of God, but I have absolutely no time for the doctrine of the inerrancy of scripture, which I see as two seperate things. (although I am very familiar with inerrancy as it was something I was taught and believed for many years).

I appreciate that for many, this means any conversation with me will be formally over, but I would hope that some dialogue would exist in an effort to better understand different viewpoints, and maybe even accomodate a conversation about Judas.


Well for me when I read what Nick wrote I totally agree. The issue is the Epistles indirectly referred to Gnosticism as heretical teaching. When I see people looking stronger at heretical teaching that Paul wrote concerns about over the True Word of God I have major problems with that. I guess the point I have to those Emergents, post-modern,etc. whatever you call it. Why make challenge to what God says? I know we needto search the Scriptures but when the Scriptures are clear and are written in ablack and white way the majority of the time why take it out of context and apply the metaphor to the entire Scripture where it was originally unintended? Innerancy? One must define the term. There are 1st, 2nd and 3rd definitions of the term and many who don't believe in innerancy wrongly place the first definition of the term to those who believe in innerancy when those who believe in innerancy actually don't adhere to that particular defintion of the term.


From my perspective, much of the criticism of the concept of inerrancy results not so much from the Bible itself but from the way it has sometimes been used and interpretated.

So if someone insists that the Bible teaches us that: “Judas [is]totally off limits. He is unredeemable. He betrayed Jesus. He is to be rubbished, spat on, despised, forgotten” then the problem is not with the Bible but with the person interpretating the Bible in that way.

But if the Bible states that "Satan entered Jesus" then believing that to be true is not demonising Judas or writing him off, it is simply accepting the Bible as truth. What that means is open to interpretation.

Taking the Bible as a whole I must say I am very wary of this current interest in Judas. Like DH, I do not believe that feeling remorse is the same thing as repentance.

Aststaed previously, I do not believe it is for us to judge what happens to anyone else. See John 21:22. We are simply to seek the best for all we have contact with.

People can choose to make fun of concepts of eternal life etc but for me, it is simply a question of God not forcing anyone to be with him who chooses not to. We have free will and God will not force himself on anyone. But anyone who chooses to turn to God can be with him no matter what they have done in the past. That is the "offence" of the gospel.

If someone chooses to reject God, that is a matter of sadness not of glee.

I accept the truth of the Bible but understand why people struggle with it and there are things in it I don't understand. Believing in the Bible as truth is not arrogant as some have suggested. Instead it is accepting that God's wisdom is greater than ours so we don't reject things simply because we don't fully understand them. I don't fully understand electricity but I know that when I plug my kettle it, it will (usually) work. I don't fully undestand the Bible but I know that it works!

But arrogance can creep in when we insist our interpretation of the Bible is the only correct one and it is that which in my view has caused problems in the past rather than the Bible itself.


Just a couple of clarifications.

1) The ideas contained in the post were not concerned with material in the 'gospel of Judas', simply inspired by the news coverage of it.

2) I didn't say the bible *taught* that Judas was off limits etc., rather that this has been the traditional view of many parts of the church.

3) JG writes "From my perspective, much of the criticism of the concept of inerrancy results not so much from the Bible itself but from the way it has sometimes been used and interpretated."

This is interesting. 'From my perspective' is obviously a phrase that suggest relativity. And clearly, the major problem with inerrancy is to do with interpretation and meaning. Is there one 'true' meaning that is the only single one? And if so, who is the one who can claim that absolute truth?

Believing the bible, having a simple faith in it, is commendable. But I'm worried that what that often means is a simple faith in the person who is preaching it/interpreting it. Which leaves one open to being swayed by their own perspective. It is precisely because the bible has to be interpreted that we have to have a robust view of it, and ask difficult of it. Not out of doubt, but out of a concern for the greater truth to shine through.


Kester, thanks for your comments. We both appear to agree that it is in the interpretation of the Bible that problems arise and this was the point I was seeking to make.

For me, if there is something in the Bible that doesn't make sense or appears wrong, I don't reject the Bible. Rather I conclude it is my faulty interpretation that is causing the problem.


if jesus died for our sins, i.e. was crucified and died, how could he have done so if judas HAD NOT turned him over to the authorities?
judas played THE MOST CRITICAL ROLE in the passion...more so than peter and the rest of that cowardly lot combined.
a friend is someone you call to move.
a REAL friend is someone you call to move a body.
judas was a real friend.

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