For some reason, I’ve been thinking about Judas lately. Since Easter is approaching, I thought I’d share some of my thoughts with you. We know very little about Judas other than he was a disciple, he stole from the money box, he betrayed Jesus, he regretted the decision, and he took his own life. In retrospect, I guess that’s enough to give us some insight.
Thinking about him makes me sad because he could have chosen a different path. I know that Jesus knew he would betray Him, but the decision to do so was completely left to Judas. Otherwise, why would he have been filled with such regret that he took his own life afterwards?
Jesus even warned Him about the consequences of his decision:
“The Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.”
Judas heard this from the mouth of Jesus right before his betrayal, but he failed to heed the warning. Jesus knew he would betray Him, but Jesus didn’t need Judas to betray Him. Jesus chose the cross, it wasn’t forced upon Him.
Jesus wasn’t in hiding. He was publicly preaching and teaching in the streets and in the synagogues. Others would testify against Jesus, others would demand His death. Judas didn’t testify, didn’t stick around for the trial, didn’t see the crucifixion. In fact Judas returned the silver and told the religious leaders that he had betrayed an innocent man. Judas ALWAYS had the choice. And we always have a choice: follow Jesus or walk away from Him.
In this crazy world where we like to pass the blame to others, I’m reminded that just because Jesus knows what we’ll do, doesn’t mean He takes that choice away from us. We are still responsible for our own choices. And I am so glad that God’s grace is abundant and His forgiveness without limits because I mess up all the time.
Let’s look at another disciple who betrayed Jesus, Peter. Peter denied Jesus three times, just like Jesus said he would. Peter chose to deny his relationship with Jesus out of fear and desperation. But that was still Peter’s choice. The difference between Peter and Judas? Peter didn’t just regret his actions, he repented and asked for forgiveness. And Jesus was faithful to restore Peter after His resurrection. Judas regretted his decision but he didn’t seek forgiveness, he sought death. Neither could undo their actions, neither could excuse their behavior, both knew Jesus, but only one believed in the love of Jesus enough to wait for restoration.
And I think that’s what strikes me as the saddest thing about Judas. His story could have been different. He, too, could have had a story of repentance and restoration but in all the time He spent with Jesus, he didn’t understand the depth of His love and forgiveness.
I pray that this Easter, we all embrace the limitless love of Christ. I hope we choose to follow Jesus wherever He leads and realize that forgiveness is available every time we falter. Jesus is the God of restoration and resurrection. He knows we’ll mess up and He chooses to love us anyway.
No matter what you are going through or how far you’ve strayed, don’t give up. Be like Peter and run to the last place you saw Jesus, even if it’s a tomb. You’ll find the stone is rolled away and new life will give rise to hope. Jesus overcame death for you. Jesus is ready to restore your relationship with Him. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life.
May the truth of God’s love and grace spark hope, joy, and peace in your soul.
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I want to follow Jesus! How do I get started?
“This is how we know that we live in Him and He in us: He has given us of His Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent His Son to be the Savior of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God.
1 John 4:13-15
If you are ready to join the family of God, simply believe and ask. You can choose your own words or pray the prayer below. God hears your heart, simply confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and let the Spirit lead you.
“Father, I want to be yours. Forgive me of my sins. I believe that you sent Your Son, Jesus Christ, to die in my place. I accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior and thank you for the gift of salvation through Him. I invite the Holy Spirit into my heart and surrender my life to You. In Jesus name, Amen.”
Feel free to spend time just talking to God and sharing your heart with Him. Let Him speak to you and listen as He leads you forward into new life. Welcome to the family.
Need to talk or have questions? Feel free to reach out and contact me.