Normally, one would not use the single most reviled man in all of Christianity as a devotional character; however, we can learn from those that have fallen as well as from those that have endured to the end. Judas is hated, and has given rise to antisemitism, but he can serve for us an example for Grace.
Then Judas, His betrayer, seeing that He had been condemned, was remorseful and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” And they said, “What is that to us? You see to it!” Then he threw down the pieces of silver in the temple and departed, and went and hanged himself. (Matthew 27:3-5 NKJV)
The Greek translated at ‘remorseful’ is μεταμέλλομαι, which opposed to the change of heart (μετανοέω) required in Acts 2.38. Judas experienced a remorse which many Greek philosophers deemed inconsistent. The Koine Greek dictates that Judas felt a grief at the action, but falls short full repentance needed for salvation.
This is what I can glean from Judas:
- Judas was not fully repentant. He was sorry, but for what? Matthew saws that he was sorry for the condemnation of Christ. Perhaps, as many speculate, Judas saw Christ as a militaristic Messiah, and had hoped that His arrest would lead to the revolt. When it didn’t, Judas became remorseful, and realized that he had caused innocent blood to be shed. Judas missed the big picture here, of course, as many did. It was not merely innocent blood, by the blood of the Son of God.
- Judas saw no hope for his situation. He knew the Law, that if he had caused innocent blood to be shed, then it would be required of him. He was impatient with God’s forgiveness, and indeed, impatient with God.
Can you imagine what Judas would have done had he had waited just three more days? It was most certainly preordained that Judas was to betray Christ, but was it preordained for him to commit suicide? Nothing in scripture would dictate that – although it does dictate other things concerning Judas. We are told that one would betray Christ, and for a certain amount of money. He are told that the money would purchase something; yet nothing dictated his fate. His fate was in his hands.
But, can you imagine the life that Judas could have led had he waited for God? Had he waited for the resurrection, to feel the burden lift?