Could even Judas be forgiven?

March 6, 2011

Someone asked me recently if I thought it was possible for Judas to have been forgiven.  I used to ask the same question about Pilate. As I grew in my understanding of Grace and forgiveness I have come to believe that it is possible.  Certainly Pilate was “just doing his job”  and didn’t really know Jesus.  Judas, depending on your point of view was either trying to gain for himself, or he actually thought he was helping to usher in the Earthly Kingdom of Messiah.  We just don’t know, do we?

So yes, Judas could have been forgiven. But was he?  Since he was part of God’s Master Plan for Redemption, the Calvinist in me (a teeny tiny part, only) says tough cookies Judas, it was God’s plan from creation that you would perish.  Yet part of me says, if he really didn’t have a choice… you can see where this is going can’t you.  Pretty soon we are all granted salvation because my alcoholism is my father’s fault, my sociopathy is my mother fault, nothing is my fault.  But that’s not what the Word of God says.  All have sinned, and all who are saved, every single one, are saved by Grace.  God’s grace could certainly include Judas.

Matthew 27 seems to indicate remorse on Judas part.  “When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders.” (Matthew 27:3  NIV) But did he ask God for forgiveness?  If he did, he was forgiven, end of discussion.

But if we read a bit earlier than this, in Matthew 26, Jesus seems to be saying Judas is in BIG trouble.  “23 Jesus replied, “The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me. 24 The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.””  (Matthew 26: 23-25 NIV)

We know enough about God, Grace, Mercy, and forgiveness to know that none of us are beyond hope until we chose that path that takes us there.   But as far as can we know for sure about Judas, or Pilate, or really anyone we did not know intimately, I think the answer is:  “‘Child,” said the Voice, “I am telling you your story, not hers. I tell no one any story but his own.”  (Aslan, in The Horse And His Boy)

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