When Judas reconsidered, was he sorry he did it? I don’t think sorrow entered into it. He felt cheated out of a larger reward, and a loser on both sides of the fence.
“Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the twelve. And Judas went to the chief priests and the officers of the temple guard and discussed with them how he might betray Jesus. They were delighted and agreed to give him money. He consented…” Luke 22:3-5 (NIV)
“As soon as Judas took the bread (offered him by Jesus at the Last Supper), Satan entered him” John 13:27 (NIV)
“When Judas, who had betrayed Him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty silver coins to the chief priests. ‘I have sinned,’ he said, ‘for I have betrayed innocent blood.’… So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself.” Matt. 27:3-5 (NIV)
Was Judas’ remorseful throwing of the thirty pieces of silver at the high priests after his betrayal of Christ a sign of repentance?
Remorse is an emotional expression of personal regret felt by a person after they have committed an act which they deem to be shameful, hurtful or violent. This does not necessarily include repentance. A person may commit a heinous act over and over and be remorseful after each repeated occurrence. Repentance requires a change of mind and behavior.
Biblical definition of repentance is viewed as to change the mind from rejection of Christ as the Messiah to faith in Him as both Messiah and Savior, with behavior to follow (see Acts 2:36).
Judas showed no sign of repentance when He went off and hanged himself. Just the opposite. He did an act of paying his own debt for his own sin. (To be clear I’m not making a statement here about suicide in general, I’m speaking of Judas, only). By not going immediately to the Savior seeking forgiveness, even if He was on the cross, he displayed a lack of belief in who Jesus is and rejection of Him as Savior. Judas viewed Jesus as an innocent man and nothing more.
But why did he betray Jesus? Some might say for the money. He was known by the others to pilfer from their money box for his personal use (see John 12:6). Some say for political reasons, when he realized Jesus wasn’t going to take over the government and overthrow Roman rule. He switched sides and threw in with the enemy looking for political position and favor. In such a case he may be remorseful that he got neither position nor favor, but merely thirty pieces of silver for betraying innocent blood; a onetime, lump sum and rather minor payment for so monumental a treachery.
The scriptures give us the only answer we need – Satan entered him.
For Satan to enter him is no relatively minor thing, such as sinning by succumbing to temptation. It describes the dire condition of the very heart of a person.
Satan filling the heart doesn’t mean simply to sin. It’s an indication of the person being reprobate, disqualified of God, beyond redemption; having a very seasoned hardness of heart toward God, unreached and unwilling to be reached by God(as Moses experienced with Pharaoh). Such a condition may still experience the negative emotion of doing what he knows is a wrongful act. Only God Himself knows at what point a human heart becomes that hardened.
Judas was unique in all the scriptures because how close he was to Jesus during His earthly ministry, and what he portrayed himself to be – a faithful follower and friend. The truth was just the opposite.
“Then Jesus replied, ‘Have I not chosen you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil!’ He meant Judas, son of Simon Iscariot, who, though one of the Twelve, was later to betray Him.” John 6:70-71
Then there is Peter’s story of denying Jesus because of momentary tempting by human fear and his full restoration afterward by the Savior. The opposite outcome. It was a matter of the condition of the heart.
“I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved…” John 10:9 (NIV)
In a very real sense Judas didn’t betray Jesus, he betrayed himself. He didn’t sell our Jesus, he sold his own soul for thirty pieces of silver.
Question: Have you ever sold out Jesus?
I think I must have over a period of a lifetime. But like Peter, thank God for God’s grace of calling us to examination and repentance every hour and every day. God’s goodness brings us continuously to repentance and, in the end, fullness of salvation. Glory to God in the highest!