One of Jesus’ disciples, Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus. Many have tried to guess what his motivation was. My best guess is that Judas knew the power of Jesus, he saw the crowd ready to crown him king of Israel when they entered Jerusalem the Sunday before he was crucified, and he was tired of all the talk of Jesus dying. So he decided to test Jesus, just like Satan did back in the wilderness (Matthew 4). What would you do if given the choice of becoming a king or dying a horrible humiliating death on a cross? He figured Jesus would choose to be king, and then he, being one of the disciples, would be a prince.
Instead, as his plan unfolded it went very wrong. Jesus chose death, and he was crushed with the evil he had brought on the world. After all, he is the only one in history to betray the Son of God. The Bible tells us in Matthew 5:4-6, that Judas went back to the Pharisees and said, “for I have betrayed innocent blood.”
“What is that to us?” they replied. “That’s your responsibility.” So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself.
Was hanging himself the only solution? Peter denied him three times, which was almost as bad. He doesn’t hang himself. Perhaps it is because he believes in the lie that far too many people believe, that he is not worthy of redemption. Because of his suicide there is no chance for there to be another chapter. He becomes a man that is scorned throughout history. His name is synonymous with betrayal of the worst kind. Judas lost all hope. There was no other choice was there? In Jesus Christ there is always hope. ALWAYS! To believe that all hope is lost, that his sin was too great is to believe the lie he believed. The blood of Jesus covers any, and all, sin. Have you ever thought of how different things would be if Judas had asked for forgiveness, if Judas had been able to see through the lie? Probably nine out of ten churches would have Judas Iscariot in their name. Judas would probably be the most popular name for baby boys. The name of Judas would be held in high honor. Every town in America would have a Judas Iscariot boulevard. Colleges and Seminaries would bear his name, “Judas Iscariot Theological Seminary”, “The University of Judas Iscariot”. Even day care centers would jump in on the action, “Iscariot Children’s Academy”.
Imagine how powerful his witness would have been above the witness of all the other disciples as far as the power of forgiveness is concerned. That story in the gospels where Jesus meets Judas after the resurrection and forgives him would probably be more profound than the scene at the beach where Jesus forgives Peter (John 21). People would flock to hear him. People would weep in astonishment at his witness. Judas would be the rock star of the twelve, the most studied, the most celebrated and the most loved, but instead, he is loathed and despised. He believes in a lie – he believes that he is not redeemable. What a waste of such great potential. Do you ever tell yourself that lie? Do you ever think you have committed some sin that cannot be forgiven? That Jesus could never love a worthless sinner like yourself. Do you struggle with self-loathing? Can faith in Jesus Christ change that?
It did for Peter. It can for anyone, including you. We are worthy, but not because of what we have done. We are worthy because Jesus Christ has deemed us worthy, and when we believe in Him He promises to redeem us. I hope you will say a prayer today, and let Jesus heal any part of you that seems unlovable, unforgiveable, or unacceptable, all to the glory of God!
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