Judas....good or bad?


Since catholics are celebrating the last supper today, I have a question that has always bothered me.

It is generally agreed, that Judas was bad, greedy, evil, whatever. I’ve heard and read all kinds of stories about him hanging himself and so on.

But here is what bugs me. For Jesus to have been betrayed and crucified, Judas HAD to do what he did. So, what if he “was on a mission from God”? (to steal a Blues Brothers line)

Without Judas and the actual betrayal, we wouldn’t have had the crucifixion and resurrection that was predicted in scripture.

So, is Judas really damned to hell? Or is he in heaven for doing his job like he was supposed to?

When I ask this question in person, people tell me that Jesus says in more than one gospel that he is doomed or better to never have been born, etc. But in the gospel of John when Jesus is talking to God, he says that he “has not lost even one that were given me” or something to that effect. So maybe Judas wasn’t lost but was doing what he was sent to do?

I know, my idea is off the wall to some. But it is a question that I have always wondered about.

thanks, Richie


From the way I understand this. Both Judas and Peter betrrayed Christ. Judas by handing him over and Peter by denying him. Peter repented (the end of John’s gospel when Jesus tells him to feed his sheep). Judas despaired by hanging himself. If Judas would have repented we could possibly be revering him as a saint but he did not and that is why he is thought to be in hell.


But here is where it gets interesting for me. Judas felt remorse and tried to back out his deal with the chief priests. When they refused, the threw the money at them and went out and hanged himself.

So, if Judas felt remorse, could he have not begged for and received forgiveness before he hanged himself? Did he repent? Catholics believe a lot of things that aren’t specifically in scripture.

If not, why didn’t scripture give a different ending, like “Judas squandered the money on prostitutes and one night was devoured by wolves as he slept” ?

It seems like scripture left Judas an “out”. As I reread the gospels, Jesus says things like it was better for his betrayer had he never been born. Is he talking about Judas on earth, or Judas after earth? Or was Jesus referring to all of us, saying that any of us who betray him would be better off if we had never been born?

Jesus said a lot of stuff that way. He didn’t always mean things exactly the way he said it but we are supposed to get it.

So instead of Judas guts burning in hell as one friend puts it, maybe he went into heaven to high fives and a pat on the rump?

I don’t know why but I always think about this the week before easter.


Jesus did not have to be crucified to redeem man. It happened because of evil people.
Judas had been on a bad path. He was a thief. He must’ve disobeyed Jesus many times before he sold him.


What???You are kidding of course aren’t you? did you forget the part where He asks whether or not this cup could be taken from Him?


He didn’t think they would kill Jesus. He felt remorse for having doing it but then committed an even worse sin. He despaired and was prideful. Prideful by thinking his sin was too big for God’s mercy.


Jesus was speaking specifically about Judas - if you read the passages in context.

Mark 14:18-21
And as they reclined at table and were eating, Jesus said, "Amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me, one who is eating with me." ***They began to be distressed and to say to him, one by one, “Surely it is not I?” ******He said to them, “One of the Twelve, the one who dips with me into the dish. ***
For 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.”

It’s important to remember that Peter didn’t betray him - he denied him. There IS a difference in that he didn’t hand him over to be arrested. Also, Peter repented - Judas didn’t.

**Let’s also not for get that In John 13:27 and Luke 22:3, the Bible tells us, “Satan entered into Judas.” **
**And in John 6:70 Jesus said Judas was “a devil”.


“But He (God) is not capable of injustice. In economy of salvation,which we do not understand, justice required,in some mysterious ways, the holy life and terrible death of Jesus Christ. That death was not required by God, but apparently by divine Justice. Christ had to come into the world and be subject to the same vicissitudes of life as the rest of us, the same vulnerability to outrageous injustice. He would call the world to the kingdom of God, but it would not listen. Be clear in your mind that God did not want Christ’s crucifixion. God willed Christ’s Incarnation. Christ’s crucifixion was a result of Judas Iscariot, the high priests, Pontius Pilate, Herod and many others. Christ called the world to salvation. He did not have to die to redeem the world. His becoming human justified us all. Theologians say that we were adopted children of God by the Incarnation. It is true that the prophecies of the Old Testament foretold the death of the Messiah, but the prophecies were given because God knew what was going to happen to His Son as a consequence of people’s free will… As it says in the epistle to the Hebrews , the price had to be paid. It did not have to be that terrible price, but became so terrible because of the ill will of human beings.”
----Fr. Benedict Groschel
"The Virtue Driven Life"


That was exactly what I was trying to say. Both Peter and Judas felt remorse Peter’s remorse drove him to seek forgiveness and he accepted Jesus forgiveness. Judus despaired he would be forgiven and never tried to reconcile with Jesus.


But do we actually KNOW that? It is not specifically stated in scripture, but like the assumption of Mary, catholics extrapolate that? Did Judas ask God for forgiveness?

Did Judas die an evil man or did he die a remorseful, repentant man. I might be wrong, but the church teaches that there is a hell, but has the church ever said that anyone specific is down there? I think we are all taught that no man is beyond God’s mercy. And I also have to think about the parable of the vineyard workers.

thanks, Richie


Hopefully he did but scripture points a very grim picture to that point. From what I read in the gospels the gospel writers did not believe he repented.

As far as I know the Church has never said if someone is in hell. We always hope for the best and pray that at the last moments of that person’s life they accepted Christ’s mercy.


Sounds to me your suggesting Christ was a victim not a volunteer.


Well here I go again. That is another one that has bothered me when I go to mass. When the priest does the eucharistic prayer, he says “before he was given up to death, a death he freely accepted”. But didn’t Jesus go in the garden and practically beg that the “cup be taken from him”? He did say but thy will be done, but he DID ask out, didn’t he?

To answer the post, I think he was a volunteer, but it doesn’t mean he was happy about it.

thanks, Richie


Course he wasn’t happy about it, and I agree he was a volunteer.


He is BOTH victim and volunteer.
**The victim is the offertory sacrifice. **
He volnteered to be the victim.


What do you mean…Let me say I know Jesus said…Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.
18 No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.


I just wanted to thank you all for this discussion… I’m just reading, not commenting…
It’s funny… I was having this exact same “Judas question” conversation with my husband last night…

Interesting topic, and glad to know I’m not crazy for asking the same questions! :slight_smile:


Our priest gave a homily last night and mentioned the “Judas question”. He had an interesting insight; without absovling Judas, he suggested the possibility that Judas may have been trying to hurry things along i.e. the Jews’ understanding of the Messiah before he came was far different from ours.

It is not out of the realm of speculation that Judas was purposefully provoking a confrontation between Jesus and the Romans/Jewish Grand Poobahs in order to see him rise to his position of Messiah/Leader, only he didn’t properly understand Jesus’ idea of Messiah like we can in retrospect and with revelation.

Interesting speculation, but speculation nonetheless.


I’m afraid I don’t understand your rebuttal.
I was pointing out that the offertory sacrifice for sins (e.g., lamb) was the Victim. Jesus took the place of the lamb (John 1:29) for our sins, but he laid down his life voluntarily for us.

Therefore he is both Victim and Volunteer.


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