Thursday, April 30, 2015

Judas


Back around Easter I commented that I feel sorry for Judas. I was thinking about him again today, and am struck with the realization that, even though I've tried, I can't begin to imagine what he must have gone through. Obviously, he did not fully realize who Jesus was. If he'd known, how could he have turned Him over to the Sanhedrin? So, with that in mind, what in the world happened to Judas in the time between when he kissed Jesus on the cheek in the Garden and when he tried to return the 30 pieces of silver to the Sanhedrin? 

When did he realize "I've made a grave mistake"?

It is easy to be harsh in my judgment of Judas. It is easy for me to think, "How in the WORLD could he NOT know that Jesus was the Messiah?" I mean really, Judas walked with Jesus, talked with Jesus, was there when Jesus performed miracles, heard Jesus teach. Oh my Goodness! How could he NOT know???? I don't know the answer to that question. But I do know this...

I owe Judas a great debt.

Judas shows me what my future would be like without Christ.

Once Jesus is handed over to Pilate, Judas tells the Sanhedrin that he was wrong. You can read about it here. Judas offers to return the 30 pieces of silver, saying "I have sinned by betraying innocent blood".  Scripture says that Judas was "full of remorse". Wow. Just wow. I can't even begin to understand the hopelessness Judas must have felt when the Chief priests and elders dismissed him.

Or can I?

I didn't turn Jesus over to be crucified, but I have done things that cannot be undone. I have done things that cannot be made right. I remember sitting in my friend Tom Sikes' office years ago, hearing him say, "Don't you believe that, through Jesus, God forgives you?", and wondering if Jesus's death and resurrection could really pay for all the wrong I'd done. I remember the hope I felt in the possibility that I could be forgiven for the life I'd led up to that point.

Judas had no such hope.

Judas could not seek forgiveness from Christ. He, like me, tried to "fix" things, to undo the wrong he'd done and he, like me, failed miserably. He could not have gotten to Christ if he'd tried at that point in the story. I wonder, IF Judas could have gotten through the crowd and the guards; if he could have somehow gotten in  to see Jesus one more time, to tell Jesus how sorry he was, how wrong he'd been... to  ask Jesus to forgive him, what would the result have been? I believe with all my heart that Jesus would have forgiven Judas, just as He has forgiven all who believe and trust Him. Judas didn't know that was an option. Perhaps Judas still didn't realize the magnitude of Jesus' power...

Whatever possibilities I come up with to ponder, the fact of the matter is that just like Judas, I have no hope without Jesus.

None of us do.

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