Matthew 26:14-16 English Standard Version
14 Then one of the twelve, whose name was Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests 15 and said, “What will you give me if I deliver him over to you?” And they paid him thirty pieces of silver. 16 And from that moment he sought an opportunity to betray him.
Matthew 27:3-5 English Standard Version
3 Then when Judas, his betrayer, saw that Jesus[a] was condemned, he changed his mind and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders, 4 saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” They said, “What is that to us? See to it yourself.” 5 And throwing down the pieces of silver into the temple, he departed, and he went and hanged himself.
God’s master plan would include the birth, crucifixion and resurrection of His son Jesus. God also inspired the written prophecy that Jesus would be betrayed by someone for the price of 30 pieces of silver.
So, we know two things for certain. Jesus had to die on the cross and He had to be betrayed for 30 pieces of silver.
Was Judas doomed from the start? Someone had to betray Christ and some ask would it be fair for that person to be damned to hell for his actions? Or, did Judas repent and therefore was forgiven of his sin of betrayal?
Over the years I’ve heard many discussions about the apostle Judas and whether he found forgiveness before his death. Many believe he was doomed and many believe he was saved. Some even have thought it wasn’t fair if Judas was doomed to hell, because his actions had to done by someone.
We have a lesson in the works titled “Omniscient, Omnipotent and Omnipresent” but that will come later.
This lesson however will deal with the omniscience of God and how it factors into the fate of Judas.
Let us briefly look at Judas and what he did. He did not deny that Jesus was the Son of God. He did not deny his Deity. He did not deny the miracles of Jesus. No, he didn’t deny Jesus before others, like Peter did.
Judas’ weakness was greed. He was looking out for his own pocketbook and saw a way to add thirty pieces of silver to it. Greed caused Judas to betray our Lord.
However, when Judas realized the great error he had made, he went to the temple and told those who wanted Jesus dead that he had sinned by betraying innocent blood. The Jewish leaders basically laughed at him and said “what is that to us?”
Judas threw down the thirty pieces of silver and left. He threw down the same thirty pieces of silver that had been so alluring to him.
The greed was gone, being replaced by deep sorrow and repentance. Judas then went out and hanged himself.
Judas died and either was condemned to hell or lived eternally with God.
If Judas was doomed to hell for his actions, those people who think it wasn’t fair ask why God would cause a person to commit a sin, then penalize him for it?
If Judas was not saved, please understand that God did not cause him to sin and therefore punish him unjustly. This is where the omniscience of God comes into play. Omniscience means all knowing, which means past, present and future. God knew before I was saved that I would make that decision. He knows right now what decisions I will make next year and so on.
God knew before Christ was born that Judas, through greed, would betray Jesus for thirty pieces of silver. That is why He inspired the prophets to prophesize the same, long before it happened.
No, if Judas was doomed to hell, God did not cause it. It was all on Judas and his behavior.
The other possible result is that Judas repented and was saved, which seems to be the message in Matthew 27:3-5.
I can hear the “buts” now. But, but, but…what about the fact that he committed suicide?
This in my view, brings up the question of “accountability.” We believe that young children are safe from any sins they commit because they are not accountable for their actions. Most believe that this is true and lasting until the child reaches what is called the “age of accountability.”
Now, we all know that all children do not mature in thought and actions at the same rate, so this age of accountability must be different for each child.
Since we believe in the theory of “accountability” for children, shouldn’t we also believe that certain mental illnesses or diseases might render a person “not accountable?”
I believe there is a great possibility that people who commit suicide truly are “out of their mind” and if so, then not accountable for their actions. If it is true for our children, why not true for others who may not be in total control of their actions?
I think the gospel of Matthew makes it clear that Judas repented for his sin of betrayal and was in so much sorrow and distress that he was likely going out of his mind. Can you imagine the realization that you had just betrayed and basically sentenced the Son of God to death?
The greed was gone. Judas wanted nothing to do with the thirty pieces of silver. He threw it down on the temple floor.
Judas was in so much distress that he went out and hanged himself.
Personally, I have to believe that Judas was saved and lives eternally in heaven with God. In my view, he sincerely repented, gave back the money and was not “accountable” for his final action.
However, if I am wrong and Judas was doomed to eternal damnation in hell, I know that God did not “set him up” or cause him to fulfill the prophecy of years before. God knew what Judas would do centuries before he did it, just as he knew what we would do before we were born.
Please take time to study all of the gospel accounts of Judas and his betrayal of Jesus. Study, pray and meditate on these scriptures and realize what a powerful force greed can be.