Has history done Judas Iscariot a grave injustice?


#1

From the Gospels we know that Judas betrayed the Lord. But we do not know the extent. Neither do we know what he motivations were.

It is conceivable that he may have been mislead by the leading Jews of his day into betraying Jesus, not knowing that he would be condemned to death. Perhaps he thought the Lord would have been let off with a stern warning. We simply do not know, yet we have condemned him on hear say evidence which is not permissible in any civilised court of law!

What is obvious from the Gospels is that he was so horrified and mortified on learning of the Lord’s fate, that he could not face the consequences, went away and hanged himself.

That does rather suggest he did not expect to the Lord to be so harshly sentenced. It also shows remorse, great grief and tribulation for what he had done.

Have we been a bit harsh in judging him when we know neither the facts or the mitigating circumstances?

Do we have a duty of care to pray for him?


#2

Well, we know that Jesus said ‘woe to the one who betrays me! Better he had never been born’ - pretty harsh words for Judas if he wasn’t sinning gravely by doing so.

We also see a quite striking contrast between Judas’ behaviour and that of Peter - who denies him - or Paul - who persecuted his followers (and hence himself, as Jesus reminds him).

Suicide is more evidence of sinful despair of God’s mercy than the type of remorse that leads to fruitful repentance and amendment of life, which both Peter and Paul exhibited.

Having said all that, of course God is ever merciful, and alone judges the hearts of men, so we should pray, as we do at each Mass, for all the departed.


#3

Lilly M posted:

Suicide is more evidence of sinful despair of God’s mercy than the type of remorse that leads to fruitful repentance and amendment of life, which both Peter and Paul exhibited.

Having said all that, of course God is ever merciful, and alone judges the hearts of men, so we should pray, as we do at each Mass, for all the departed.

Agree we do, but I think we should pray spefically for the repose of the soul of Judas Iscariot. :slight_smile:


#4

It seems to me that Judas really got the short end of the stick. In order for Jesus to fulfill the prophecies and save humanity, someone had to turn him in. In a way, there would have been no Christianity without Judas!

Incidentally, the gnostic Gospel of Judas portrays him as a hero and enlightened man who was actively selected by Jesus to help him get crucified. It’s a rather interesting take on the story.

Another usually-condemned figure is Pontius Pilate, who again appears to have been thoroughly shafted by the ages. Even from the gospel accounts, one gets the feeling that he just wants to get through the day, keep the people he rules more or less content, go home, and sleep. For those interested in him, I have to recommend Mikhail Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita, in which he is a fairly major character.


#5

No we have not done Judas an injustice.

Jesus himself basically spelled out the fate of Judas.

Matthew 26: 24-25

The Son of Man indeed goes, as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed. It would be better for that man if he had never been born."

Then Judas, his betrayer, said in reply, “Surely it is not I, Rabbi?” He answered, “You have said so.”


#6

Church History has not given Judas Iscariot a bad rap. Which “history” do you refer to?


#7

Here is an interesting book which in part deals with the perception of Judas over the centuries since the Crucifixion.

The Ghost in the Gospels. You can browse the pages starting here.


#8

Then Judas, his betrayer, said in reply, “Surely it is not I, Rabbi?” He answered, “You have said so.”

I am conscious that ‘no man is without sin’. Before God, I am no better than Judas.:o


#9

Well you are better than Judas. Jesus said it would have been better if Judas had never been born. Jesus has not said that about you.


#10

I am double checking that to be certain…:stuck_out_tongue:


#11

OK.

Go ahead and do it. The Church has never and will never teach that any particular individual has gone to Hell. If you feel motivated to pray for Judas Iscariot, then don’t let fear hold you back.


#12

Personally, I am more sympathetic towards Judas than I am towards Pontius Pilate. At least it seems that Judas had regret. Hopefully it was regret unto repentance.

What you have listed in the last paragraph is exactly the set of qualitites which make a ruler despicable and a poor ruler. He knew that Jesus had done no objective wrong. He said several times that he was innocent and he condemned him to death because of the crowd. As the ruler he should have done what he knew to be right.

This kind of action is akin to the prosecutor who fights to convict a man he knows is innocent just to convict somebody. It’s horrible.

In that light, I don’t think Pontius Pilate has gotten anything less than the rap he deserves.


#13

That is a Protestant view towards sin not held by the Church.

There is gradation of sin and God views a murderer different from a man who stole to feed his child. It’s different. Even my little human brain can see that.


#14

eliasaph99

Quote:Originally Posted by Sixtus
I am conscious that ‘no man is without sin’. Before God, I am no better than Judas.

That is a Protestant view towards sin not held by the Church.

Actually ‘no man is without sin’ is a very Catholic view.

The CC also holds that ‘nothing defiled will enter heaven’.

Both statements of course come from the bible. They are teachings of the Lord. Now the two mean that no-one can therefore enter heaven seeings ‘nothing defiled [by sin] can enter heaven’ while 'no man is without defilement [sin]: enter the concept of purgatory :slight_smile:


#15

Pilate was one of the most vicious, violent men to rule. One really has to turn a historic blind eye to accept the Pilate portrayed in the Gospels. He’s given a “reluctant player” role in the Gospels, IMO, because the christians who wrote them were trying not to insult Rome.


#16

I guess Jesus and Mary are going to be surprised to hear this news.


#17

Pontius Pilate didn’t get the Jews, the Romans didn’t get the Jews. He just knew they were likely to riot, hence we see in 70 AD with the destruction of the temple that the Romans just got tried of it and took care of things as they did. Pilate didn’t think Jesus was doing anything wrong, and according to Roman law he wasn’t. But Pilate knew that the Jews thought Jesus had committed a serious religious transgression, even if he didn’t get that religion. As it wasn’t a Roman interest he defered to the local authorities, not an uncommon or unreasonable action. After all Jesus came to the Jews first, it was theirs to recongize him as the savior, not the Romans.


#18

You should try to respond to entire comments and not just parts of them.

I said that the idea there is no gradation in sin is not a Catholic idea. You implied that your sin is seen by God as equivalent to Judas sin. This is false.


#19

When I read the bible, I don’t see Pilate being displayed with sympathy.

The problem might be that the portrayal is straight forward with no commentary on Pilate’s actions. So some might feel sympathy for him but this isn’t the fault of the narrative.

The gospels also comment that Pilate and Herod, who at one time disliked one another, became friends due to the way they each handled Jesus’ case. Considering how negative Herod is portrayed in the New Testament, I doubt this would be included if the writers wanted to give Pilate a positive spin.

Pilate didn’t have to kill Jesus, he seems pretty cowardly to me. Even his wife warned him and he knew Jesus hadn’t done anything serious enough to warrant punishment but he still went ahead and crucified Jesus.


#20

I’ve never read about Judas in any history book so I can’t say that history has done him an injustice. Has the bible done him an injustice, I don’t believe so.

God knew Judas’ heart and judged him accordingly.

I can’t remember the verse but apparently, Judas was stealing from the group’s common purse, so he had problems before he betrayed Jesus.

It seems that Judas was remorseful, but he gave into despair.

Some people think that Judas wanted Jesus to become the ruler of Israel.

Perhaps Judas did not understand the fullness of what Jesus was. So, when Jesus died he despaired, thinking that he had killed his teacher.

A person can feel remorse for their actions and yet not do anything to correct their faults. Judas could have tried to seek forgiveness but he didn’t. He chose to take the matter into his own hands and commit suicide. Which shows that he had learned nothing.

Feel sorry for Judas, just as you do all sinners but you have to accept that whatever punishment is doled out to Judas is correct and just.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.