Category Archives: Judas

Then Judas Repented Himself

Judas was a thief. The Bible is plain about this (John 12:6). He did not care for the poor and apparently was afflicted with the root of all kinds of evil (I Tim. 6:10). Another flaw in Judas’ character was that he was hypocritical. He appeared to be concerned about the poor, he made a big speech about how the poor might have been served, when in reality he was simply money hungry (John 12:5,6). The facade worked, for some believed the act (cf. John 13:29). But what is more, he exhibited the ultimate in hypocrisy, when he would betray his Master with an apparent act of sincere friendship (Matt. 26:48; Luke 22:47,48).

Jesus’ words concerning him show the underlying fault in his character. Jesus said that there were some with Him at that time who did not believe and then, John added, that Jesus knew who it was that would betray Him (John 6:64). Later, in the same context, Jesus said “Have I not chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?” (John 6:70). Again, John adds “He spake of Judas Iscariot” (John 6:71). Later, Jesus identified Judas as the son of perdition (John 17:12). Peter would identify the character of Judas by observing that Judas would go to his own place (Acts 1:25).

His act of betrayal became notorious, apparently becoming known to all in Jerusalem (Acts 1:19). The field which was purchased with the blood money became popularly known as “the field of blood” (Acts 1:19). The seriousness of this act of betrayal is revealed by the Lord when He said that it would have been better for that man who betrayed Him if he had never been born (Matt. 26:24)!

It seems that Judas went to make arrangements for the betrayal of Jesus immediately after he, along with a few others, protested the use of the oil for the anointing of Jesus (Matt. 26:6-16). It was from this time he sought opportunity to betray the Lord (Matt. 26:16). When Jesus washed the disciples feet, He told them that they were clean, but not all, indicating that one of them would betray Him (John 13:10,11). Jesus then quotes David’s Psalm about Ahithophel, David’s close advisor who turned on him (Psalm 41:9), “He that eateth bread with Me, hath lifted up his heel against Me” (John 13:18).

Jesus said, “I know whom I have chosen” (John 13:18). This act of betrayal did not take Jesus by surprise. He had been warning the apostles that He would be betrayed and delivered to the Jews and crucified, but perhaps they did not know how close it would be to them. When Jesus finally said to them on the night of His betrayal, “One of you shall betray Me,” they all asked, “Lord is it I?” (Matt. 26:21,22). When Judas asked privately, probably to throw off suspicion from himself, “Master, is it I,” Jesus told him “Thou hast said” and “That thou doest, do quickly” (John 13:27). He went out immediately (John 13:30).

One would like to think that Judas had some ulterior motive, some good reason in his own mind, to do what he did. But the Bible does not give us one. Jesus chose Judas even though He knew from the beginning he would betray Him. He gave Judas every opportunity to change. His many teachings on the “deceitfulness of riches” (Matt. 12:22,23; Luke 16:11; Matt. 6:19-34; etc.) should have moved Judas, but his heart became too hardened.

But there must have been some kernel of good in Judas. There was at least enough for him to feel remorse for betraying the Lord, when he saw that He was condemned (Matt. 27:3). While he must have known the intent of the chief priests to do Jesus harm, perhaps he thought Jesus would extricate Himself from this trial as He had at other times (e.g., Luke 4:28-30). In the end, his conscience overwhelmed him and he wanted to somehow remove the guilt he felt for his crime. When he threw back the blood-money into the temple he proclaimed “I have sinned in that I have betrayed innocent blood” (Matt. 27:4), confessing Jesus’ innocence and his own guilt.

The Bible tells us that Judas “repented himself” (Matt. 27:3). The word used here indicates a sorrow, but not for the sin, but for the consequences, of his actions. His sorrow was not of the godly sort (II Cor. 7:8-11). He did not sorrow unto repentance. Perhaps Judas never did fully understand Jesus’ teaching. Perhaps he was just weak and took the easy way out. The harder way would have been Peter’s way, to live with a knowledge of his sin and serve his Lord and acknowledge his forgiveness.

Eric L. Padgett


YOU’RE A JUDAS! What a most loathsome and unwelcome defamation. No matter how egregious the offense of which one might be accused, to bear above that the weight of being a Judas is to bear a weight too heavy to be borne. Down through history others have worn the ugly badge of traitor. Benedict Arnold betrayed Americans. Guy Fawkes committed treason against the British Crown. Brutus betrayed Julius Caesar. Ephialtes betrayed the Spartans. But to wear the name of “Judas” is to wear a name that is particularly associated with the most despicable and personal kind of treachery.

Judas, meaning “Praise,” is the Greek form of the popular Hebrew name Judah (cf. Matt. 1:2) The name of Judas was actually a very popular and common name in the first century. Six people mentioned in the New Testament wear the name Judas (Iscariot; the other apostle named Judas, or Thaddaeus – Luke 6:16; Matt. 10:3; Mark 3:18; the brother of Jesus – Matt. 13:55; the Galilean who led a Jewish rebellion – Acts 5:37; the Damascene, with whom the apostle Paul stayed – Acts 9:11 and Judas Barsabbas – Acts 15:22). In 2016, however, it was number 4,362 on the list of popular boy names in America. Not too many women are in a rush to name their boys Judas.

The meaning of the name Iscariot is still disputed by some. Most Biblical scholars probably associate it as identifying the location from which Judas came, namely, Kerioth in Judah (Josh. 15:25), the man of Kerioth (Ish Kerioth). Since Kerioth was in Judah, Judas was the only one of the twelve apostles to be other than Galilean (Acts 1:11; 2:7). This may have caused some isolation on his part and, consequently, resentment. Others argue that Iscariot refers to a “man of murder” or that he was part of an assassin’s group known as the Sicarii, but this group was probably too late for Judas to have been associated with it.

We are not told how or when Judas became a disciple or whether or not he was first a follower of John. In His second year, after He continued all night in prayer to God, Jesus carefully chose twelve of His disciples to be His apostles (Luke 6:12,13). He also at this time gave them power against unclean spirits and to heal all manner of sickness and disease (Matt. 10:1-15). Judas was one of those men the Lord chose and one of those to whom He gave this great power. Was Judas sincere when the Lord prayerfully chose him? It is entirely possible that Judas was sincere at first, though not necessarily the case. It is possible that a man may fall so far so fast.

Whatever else may be obscure about him, the scripture is clear as to his character after he was chosen to be an apostle. Judas was apparently enamored of money. He was the treasurer for the Lord, the one who held the bag of money which was used to support the Lord and His apostles (John 12:6) which was received at the hands of certain benefactors (Luke 8:3). John plainly says that he was a thief who had no concern for the poor. He was not moved in the least by Mary’s loving treatment of Jesus in lieu of his impending death, but was more concerned with the money he believed was being wasted (John 12:3-5). Mark said he had “indignation” at this “waste” (Mark 14:4). Jesus rebuked Him for his misplaced priorities and abuse of Mary.

Although it is entirely possible that Judas was sincere when the Lord chose him, Jesus nevertheless knew what would ultimately transpire from the beginning and who would betray Him (John 6:64). He spoke of Judas as a devil (John 6:70,71). Whether or not Judas knew what he would do from the beginning is unknown, but he did know what he would do at least two days before he did it (Mark 14:1-5). Certainly these ideas had to be building up inside of him for some time and Jesus’ rebuke of his greed must have been the tipping point. From that time on, he “sought how he might conveniently betray Him” (Mark 14:11). He intentionally “went to the chief priests to betray Him unto them all for the promise of money.

In Old Testament history, David was betrayed by his close advisor, Ahithophel (II Sam. 15:31). In writing about this incident, David wrote, “Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me” (Psalm 41:9). The Lord, troubled in His spirit at the thought, quotes this passage and applies it to His own betrayal (John 13:18-21). After Jesus shared bread with Judas, fulfilling the prophecy, satan entered into Judas and he went out to betray the Lord (John 13:24-30). Jesus’ quote of this prophecy reiterates the deep sense of hurt Jesus felt at Judas’ betrayal.

We can’t know if there were any other motives beside greed that moved Judas to betray the Lord of if he had any expectations that Jesus would deliver Himself by a miracle, as many a commentator has supposed, but we do know that Judas’ betrayal did not come without some very strong feelings of guilt and remorse. When Judas saw that Jesus was condemned, he repented and threw the blood money back at the chief priests and elders (Matt. 27:3-5). Apparently, Jesus’ death was not his goal. But seeing that would be the outcome, he took his own life and went unto his own place (Matt. 27:5; Acts 1:25).

While Judas acknowledged his guilt, his sorrow was not of the godly sort leading to salvation (II Cor. 7:10).

Eric L. Padgett