The Judas in All of Us
By Janet Morris Grimes -
Judas. We all know his story. His name is synonymous with traitor. The eternal back-stabber.
For this reason, there have been few children that carry the name Judas. His life serves as the perfect example of what not to do, especially if you are a Christian.
Jesus knew early on that Judas would become the betrayer. Still, He invited him into his inner circle. Judas managed the money for the twelve Apostles; but was a shady businessman, stealing from that same moneybox. His decisions were based on profit margins, never matters of the heart. If it were up to Judas, there would have been a massive public relations campaign, spotlighting all that Jesus had done, asking for funding so that His ministry could continue.
Judas had a front-row seat to the ways of Jesus. He saw the miracles for himself. But more than this, he knew the grace. The love in His eyes. The way He spoke of eternity. And hope.
Still, Judas didn’t buy into it. He never allowed his heart to become a part of the equation; never sensed the fact that even he might one day need a Savior.
Judas was destined to be a part of Jesus’ story. Before what became known as the Last Supper, Judas sought out the Chief Priests, determining the cost for the life of Jesus. From that moment on, the book of Matthew tells us that Judas waited for an opportunity to hand him over (Matthew 26:14 – 15 NIV).
Judas still had to play the part of the adoring apostle. During the Last Supper, Jesus predicted his betrayal, acknowledging that it would be Judas, even saying that it would be better for him not to have been born. Jesus instructs him, “What you are about to do, do quickly” (John 13:27).
Judas leaves to make his mark in history.
A few hours later, in the Garden of Gethsemane, Judas leads the angry mob to Jesus. He greets him with a kiss, and mocks him even further by calling him Rabbi (Matthew 26:49).
Jesus responds by calling him ‘Friend.’ “Friend, do what you are here to do” (Matthew 26:50).
That’s some kind of friend. The ultimate betrayal.
If the truth were known, Judas could have reconsidered. They still would have gotten Jesus. Judas didn’t have to become the enemy of the story.
After watching the gruesome crucifixion, Judas felt remorse. He even returned the thirty shekels of silver, realizing, finally, that wealth did not bring the happiness nor acceptance that he craved.
His story ends with Judas hanging himself.
If Judas were thinking clearly, he might have remembered how Jesus had predicted his own death. And even more, that He promised to return. He had seen him heal the multitudes. There had been no unforgivable sins.
He could have sought the other apostles, confessed what he had done, begged to be baptized, or prayed to God to seek forgiveness. He could have been the hero to this story, the first one waiting at the tomb to apologize. Like the thief on the cross, he could have been the King of Second Chances.
Instead, he becomes the poster child for what happens after sin. Guilt. Remorse. Darkness. Even death.
I suspect there is a little Judas in all of us. We make bad choices, but instead of grabbing the one hand that can save us, we wrestle with our past, wallow in our remorse, and keep reminding Jesus what we did to Him.
He already knows. And He died anyway. So that we could join Him.