Thoughts on Judas Iscariot

A friend recently texted me a podcast where somebody was giving a so-called “thought experiment” about whether Judas betraying Jesus was actually positive and whether Judas repented. The guys were fairly sloppy in how they talked about it. My friend asked my thoughts. Thought you might be interested in what I wrote to him:

You are right, Judas Iscariot is an interesting biblical character. Comparing and contrasting Judas’ betrayal and Peter’s denial has always fascinated me. There is a lot of detail in the biblical narratives to study.

What these guys are discussing is an old gnostic theory, even though they don’t seem to know that. This was pushed more recently in The Da Vinci Code and other fictional writings. These are all fabrications that are out of step with the biblical canon.

The Gospels use fairly harsh language for Judas. Judas is never viewed sympathetically or as a victim or in a positive light in the slightest. The Lord Jesus says that Judas was a devil. The Gospels say he was a thief during Jesus’ ministry (a man of selfish and immoral character) and that he was possessed by Satan to betray Jesus.  It seems that Judas was possessed by Satan because he opened the door to that evil. So, the New Testament is clear the Judas did not do what he did for righteous ends. A Christian reading of the New Testament does not allow for Judas is a hero or good guy.

Judas definitely regretted what he did, but regret is not the same as repentance. The narrative seems to portray his suicide as motivated by overwhelming grief rather than godly sorrow. True repentance is both a turning away from sin and turning to Christ in faith.

Acts 1 makes it clear that Judas had done evil and was never restored.