How to perceive Judas?

The person in the gospels who I found most mysterious/confusing is Judas Iscariot.

These days it seems he is rarely discussed in sermons, and I believe there is no more than a few paragraphs that mention him in the gospels.

He has an infamous reputation, for betraying Jesus to the authorities. But wasn’t that what he was supposed to do? Didn’t Judas’ action set the salvation of humanity in motion?

The above is a common perception. Is the answer that, even though Jesus had to be crucified, it did not need to come about through one of his apostles, and the apostle’s intents/ beliefs and motivations do ultimately matter, even if there are unintended consequences?

I know we as Catholics are called not to judge, but to me, it says a lot about Judas’ character/personality to be intimately involved with Jesus, to be closer to him than most other people at that time were able to be, and still act as he did.

Judas’ motivations seem sort of mysterious too and I guess we can only speculate on them. Could it be that he, like many people in Judea, expected a violent overthrow of Rome, for Jesus to reign as an earthly king, and became disillusioned/bitter when he realized that would not happen.

But if he had turned from Jesus thus, why would he feel guilty to the point of suicide about betraying him? One would think that crucifixtion would be the expected outcome for Christ if he were handed over to the Roman authorities? Any reason for Judas to think otherwise?

Despite Judas’ infamous reputation, his remorse/suicide has always caused me to view him with pity rather than disgust/contempt. It seems sad that he was filled with such guilt and despair about it, and felt there was no hope for him.

What is the general “take” on Judas the Catholic church or our theologians have?

I read an article on this years ago, if I remember correctly, Judas Iscariot was a Zealot, and with that mindset he was thrilled to be around the one he thought was the Messiah. When Jesus did not do or say the things that Judas thought He ought to be doing and saying Judas became disillusioned with Him and decided to sell Him out to the Pharisees.
After it was all over Judas understood somewhat of what he had done, thus the remorse.
But obviously none of what Jesus taught actually sunk in, otherwise he wouldn’t have killed himself.

Personally, I pity him.

I was always taught that Judas’ greatest sin was dispiar of Gods mercy in that he took his own life. That being said, we were always taught that Judas might not be in Hell as we don’t know if he had perfect contrition at the time of his death and we do not know the depths of Gods mercy.

Judas was a sinner, who directly betrayed our Lord despite having first hand knowledge of all that he had done, the miracles he’d performed, the healings, the resurrected dead, etc. There are some who attribute the betrayal to Judas’s desire (as a Zealot), to see the Messiah rise up against Rome. Personally, while I’d like to think this is why he did it, I don’t think scriptures supports that conclusion. If all he was trying to do was force Christ’s hand, he would have not needed a reward. Instead, he sold Christ out, literally, for thirty pieces of silver. That is an act of greed, and scripture indicates elsewhere throughout the gospels that Judas was a bit greedy; such as his attack against, I believe it was Martha, who used an entire jar of expensive perfumes on Christ. Judas said “she should have sold it and given that money to the poor.” rather than recognizing the beautiful thing she had just done for our Lord. This is not unlike those people today who say that we should sell of our priceless treasures of artwork, sculpture, etc. to give people money instead of recognizing the beautiful sacrifice that went into those artworks, born of the artist’s love for our Lord.

Another problem I have with the interpretation of Judas as being misunderstood in his actions is his ultimate decision to take his own life. Several other Apostles mess up at various points throughout the Gospels. Peter, the one on whom our Church is built, messes up more than the rest of them combined. Despite all of that, he understood Christ well enough to know that, no matter how badly he messed up, Jesus would never turn him away or cut him out of the fold. Judas, who had been privy to all the same things as Peter in terms of teaching and practice, would have known this as well, as he saw Peter’s frequent missteps and repentance. Heck, he was there when Jesus actually called Peter Satan and actively rebuked him. We might not think of it too deeply anymore, but really think about it; Christ directly referred to Peter as the Lord of all Evil. If Jesus showed up and called me Satan, I’d probably die on the spot of shame and despair.

Now we come to the actual evening of the betrayal. Jesus says, in no uncertain terms, “It would be better for him had he never been born.” If Jesus is God, as we believe he is; and if he knew what Judas was about to do, as we believe he did; then we can also conclude that he understood the motives in Judas’s heart. If they had been driven by a desire for God’s glory I don’t believe Jesus’s words would have been so… terrifying. On the other hand, if Judas was an unrepentant sinner motivated by personal desires rather than the desire for God, then the harshness of his words is in keeping with the rest of the Gospels. Jesus never pulled punches when he was making his disdain for the Jewish leadership know. This declaration is similar to other statements made throughout the gospels, such as today’s Gospel about how the evildoers of Nineveh who repented would stand in judgment over the unrepentant sinners of Christ’s time. Jesus’s words were a statement of condemnation against one who had chosen himself over God.

The Church has not made any declarative statement about Judas’s final judgment. I think that most scholars reasonably believe that he is in Hell. He betrayed the Lord, and rather than seeking forgiveness he despaired and took his own life. With the said, we do not know what happened as he took his last breath; it is entirely possible that he understood what he had done and repented of the evil he had wrought. He may be in Heaven, and I hope that he is; but I do not expect it.

I think Glomung’s close on this. But listen to the twist To the slight change in the position that makes this all the more tragic. And I mean it fits the score a whole lot better.

Judas was a zealot. He figured Jesus was the guy to get stuff done. He believed He was God’s son. He just got impatient. He couldn’t believe the glacial pace of things. He figured he knew how to speed things up.

And remember. He had Jesus’ blessing in this. I mean he was told to go and do what he must at the last supper. So he figured Jesus was a bit in the game in this. Anyway. Judas’ chief sins were pride and despair.

Pride, because he figured he had a better plan than Jesus. Despair because when it didn’t turn out as he’d planned he gave up on everything. He gave up on life even.

So what was this great plan? Well Judas figured he could spur Jesus to action by forcing a confrontation. He figured it was the ideal way to make things come to a head. He figured Jesus would have no problem dispatching that group. He figured Jesus was way too powerful to be taken down by force of arms. Basically he believed, after having seen all of the miracles, that Jesus would finally get some fighting done in a biblical way once he was forced to it.

That’s why Judas betrayed Jesus with a kiss. That’s why he tried to return the money when his plan failed. And that’s why he eventually hung himself in despair. Because things had gone so far outside of his expectations that he couldn’t live with the pain.

And I mean I identify with Judas the most. I identify with this guy. Because in a real way I was him. In a real way I’ve lived that situation. I’ve betrayed a friend like that. And yeah. It had the same effect.



Ditto this. Occasionally, I even pray for him. I know that in general he is thought to be in hell, particularly as Jesus said in his prayer to God in John 17:12 that “none was lost except the one doomed to destruction” which would indicate that Judas is probably in hell, but I figure it doesn’t hurt to pray for him in the event that he might have had some last minute repentance. He certainly seemed to regret his betrayal of the Lord, since he committed suicide over it, and he may have had some last minute prayer of forgiveness before he died. Personally I hope he did. I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t wish hell on anybody, no matter what they’ve done. An eternity in a place where nothing good exists and eternal separation from God and your loved ones- I just can’t even imagine.

In reading about exorcisms written by reputable people, Judas often shows up as one of the possessing demons.

I have read about different cases, and I have read “The Rite” as well as some other books, including Gabriele Amorth’s well-known books.

I believe we can all relate to Judas in someway or another, because we all sin, and take the easy way out if we can.

But while we do this, we still have the conscience to know we are wrong, and have remorse in our heart for it, and come to regret it, with all our heart, and try somehow to find a way to fix it.

But where I do disagree with you is I do not believe Judas believed enough in Jesus, if he did he would not have been in such a state of despair. Judas figured it was all over and gave up on God.

While I am not sure about that, I would have no problem in believing it because he gave his soul over to Satan instead of Christ. So that would not be difficult to accept.

Perhaps, but we know demons lie. It would not be out of character for a demon to claim to be a far more powerful or infamous character than he or she is. I have the impression that the demons that possess are the ash and trash of the spiritual world.

Demons lie. When a priest performs an exorcism, however, they are commanded by the power of Jesus to reveal their names. They don’t want to tell their names because the exorcist gains an edge over them but ultimately, they are forced to tell who they are.


I did read a case or two about Judas appearing as a possessing entity.

The Earling Iowa case had Judas as a possessing spirit, and one Catholic exorcist I heard on the radio claimed he met Judas, but didn’t say too much about it.

Does anyone know what kind of things Judas says or does while possessing?

He doesn’t seem the viscious or vulgar type (though Im sure 2000 years in hell could make a person that way.)

In the Earling case he said he was commanded to encourage the possessed woman to kill herself, vomited and spat horribly at the eucharist, and snarled in anger and despair when asked by the priest if he regretted his betrayal of Jesus. There were only a few sentences about Judas in the Earling case, but it seemed so creepy and haunting… it almost convinced me of it’s veracity…

I don’t believe that there is any official Catholic take on the fate of Judas.

Except perhaps that he is an unlikely candidate for sainthood. :shrug:

Was he supposed to betray Jesus? No, but he did. Had Jesus not been betrayed by Judas, the Temple authorities would have found some other way to arrest him.

Judas is simply the prototype of all good men gone bad, ruined by the lure of money.

Honestly I don’t think that was his motivation. He had access to money as the keeper of the money bag already.

I’ve seen it alternately portrayed that Judas was trying to force Jesus’ hand and make him take his rightful place as King by turning him in (which would explain his disconsolate remorse after Jesus is condemned) or that he had expected a military messiah and when Jesus didn’t turn out to be that he turned him in.

But regardless, the basis was more on Judas’ perception of who the Messiah was supposed to be and less on money. At least that’s how I understand it. The money didn’t seem to mean that much to him, considering he gave it back.

It must have meant something when he took it, or he would not have taken it.

Giving it back was merely a sign of the shame he had for taking it in the first place to betray the one he had believed in.

Hello Hello, I read in the NIV that Jes_us specifically spoke not to speak of that person`s name …

: )

Habemus Francis:

This is taken from the private revelation of the Blessed Mother to St. Mary of Agreda (St. Mary of Jesus) It was approved by five Popes. She was the Superioress of the convent of the Immaculate Conception, of the town of Agreda, of the province of Burgos in Spain. It covers a period of aproximately l650-1750

Judas in his malice (bad will) and treachery was forsaken by divine grace at the time when he consummated his treachery by his kiss of betrayal and contact with Christ. Up to that time Jesus was giving him graces for his salvation. Jesus saw the way Judas scorned His mother when she tried with love and solicitation for his salvation, she also knew of his spiritual condition. So Jesus also withheld His graces , as He knew of Judas’s ingratitude
especially being exposed to Jesus and all He did, he was highly blessed with graces. Satan entered Judas and this led to his despair. Satan reminded him that he would never escape the cry for vengeance for the blood of Jesus. Judas turned against himself. Judas was inspired by Satan to return the money to the high-priests, who refused to accept it, saying “I have betrayed innocent blood” (Mat; 27, 4) This repulse from the high-priests was full of cruelty, it took away all hope from Judas. Judas was of no use to Satan anymore, so he caused more distress and despair to Judas and to end his life. Judas hung himself . Judas was the murderer of the Creator, now he was his own murderer. This happened on Friday, at l2 o"clock, three hours later the Savior died. It was not becoming that Judas’s death should coincide with the death of Jesus, Judas hated Jesus with the fiercest malice. The demons at once took possession of his soul and brought it down to hell. His hanging body burst it’s entrails. All that saw it were filled with astonishment and dread . The body remained hanging by the neck for three days. During this time the Jews attempted unsuccessfully to remove the body to avoid public refutation as to Judas’s wickedness, and they did this in secret. When the three days passed when according to the dispensation of divine justice, the demons themselves snatched the body from the tree and brought it to his soul so that both would suffer eternal suffering in the eternal abyss of hell. St. Mary stated that what she was made to know about the pains and sufferings of Judas is worthy of fear and attention. She goes on to explain more about hell, and Judas’s place there. Jesus said " It would have been better if he had not be born"

^ What a chilling vision. As much as I would like to disbelieve it, I have an awful feeling that it is true :(.

I think I finally understand Judas. I’ve never heard his role as an apostle specifically explained, but I feel I finally understand him.

You can’t really say that since Judas’ betrayal of Jesus led to the crufixition and salvation of mankind,Judas did the “right thing.” If anything it seems more of an unintended consequence of Judas’ actions as opposed to some grand purpose he sought to enact.

If the latter were true, than Judas would have explained himself to the apostles and actively sought the promotion of Christ’s church on earth. That did not happen:(.

Reading between the lines, Im not sure any of the apostles really knew how everything would play out until it actually did. I am not sure they knew that Jesus would have to be crucified and then be resurrected three days later. If they had they would not have acted so unhappy and demoralized after Jesus’ death.

I believe Judas thought that Jesus was just some false messiah who he had foolishly chosen to follow. He thought this after having been around Jesus for three years, and seeing the devotion in faith he inspired in so many people ( the blind begger, the woman at the well,the Centurion, the other apostles etc. etc.)

I don’t think we can even say for sure that Judas was dissillusioned, or even all that political (as portrayed in Jesus Christ Superstar.) He may have just wanted power and wealth (courtesy of a Powerful Messiah) and was dissapointed when he found out Christ would not do that.

In spite of everything he saw of Jesus, Judas never really understood him, or he would have known that Jesus would have welcomed him back, even after his great sin.

I suppose the symbolism of it all is pretty powerful too. Selling God himself to the people who hate him.

The above is the best analysis I can do though. I still find the story of Judas greatly confusing, sad and distressing.

Strange to say I have heard (from interviews and articles) that in exorcisms Judas sometimes shows up as a possessing spirit. The horror of exorcism aside, I think it would be interesting to ask him questions about himself.

Probably not wise though. 2000 years in hell (if indeed he’s there) likely have done quite a number on him, and you’d likely get nothing but hatred and despair.

Sorry lol… my mind wanders a bit :rolleyes:

[quote=HabemusFrancis;13424775 … I think it would be interesting to ask him questions about himself. …

Don’t try this. (In passing, you don’t know “it” would be him.)

This curiosity is morbid. You already got the plot some lines above (in part), why go on to pretend you haven’t?

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