I haven’t been able to get Judas out of my mind since Easter. Perhaps it’s my overly-compassionate side, but I feel for him. I hesitate to think that he was an all around bad guy. (After all, Jesus chose him as one of his 12 closest friends.)
Judas had money in his eyes when he went to the chief priests and asked, “What will are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?” (Matthew 26:15). Maybe Judas was down on his luck. Maybe his business wasn’t doing well. But if it was all about money, perhaps he could have just squandered more from the disciples, “As keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put in it” (John 12:6).
Maybe he thought Jesus would somehow get out of the devious plan. I don’t want to believe that Judas sold Jesus out maliciously. (But yet, maybe that’s the Pollyanna “I want to believe the good in everyone” coming out in me.)
Regardless as to why it happened, Satan clearly had a hand in it. Luke’s account records, “Then Satan entered Judas…and Judas went to the chief priests and officers and discussed with them how he might betray Jesus” (Luke 22:3-4). John records that Satan entered him, “as soon as Judas took the bread,” at the Last Supper (John 13:27).
With a kiss, Judas handed Him over the authorities, to which Jesus said, “Friend, do what you came for” (Matthew 26:50). Even after He was betrayed, he still called Judas “friend.” I’m pretty sure I would have chosen a different name if one of my closest amigos was about to be the death of me, literally.
When it was all said and done, Judas obviously felt convicted of his actions. Matthew 27:3 says, “When Judas 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.’”
Judas wasn’t secretly partying at the demise of his friend; he realized the magnanimous cost to his deplorable actions. He was so overwhelmed with guilt that he hanged himself. Judas cared. He loved Jesus, and he could not live with himself knowing that he betrayed his friend and Savior. That’s why I feel for the guy.