I have sinned; I have brought an innocent man to death
Words spoken by the repentant Judas but not often heard
This is not easy to write about. Traditionally Judas is seen as the figure of evil,the betrayer who put Jesus on the cross. However without this betrayal the Messiah could not have fulfilled the scriptures foretelling of a trial in rejection by his people. Judas was instrumental in bringing about the peoples ultimate salvation from Rome only he did not comprehend the enormity of his actions at the time. The angry return of the money only solidified his guilt and his decision to commit suicide was a last, desperate human effort to allay his shame. By providing the mechanism by which the Resurrection could be fulfilled, some suggested Judas became the first martyr for the church.
Judas was handpicked by Jesus to be a disciple empowered to preach the gospel. Given authority to heal the sick,to cast out devils however he had weaknesses as did the other disciples. He was not among the most intimate of the group as Peter James and John. Judas might have felt one reason for this was because he was an outsider and not from Galilee, coming from Kerioth in the district of Jerusalem. On this point I asked you to consider whether Jesus may have specifically chosen an outsider that’s the one whom he knew would betray him in order that they would be no recriminations against the remaining 11 disciples and their families as they all came from Galilee.
Scripture tells us that Judas was a man of financial ability,, trusted to keep the common purse even though Matthew, the tax collector would have been better qualified.Judas was a man persuasive reasoning reflected by a scene in the home of Mary of Bethany. Mary had anointed Jesus with a rich appointment. Judas saw this act of love as a waste of precious money and should be sold and the money given to the poor. He was above suspicion by the other disciples after the final hours of his own life. At the Last Supper Jesus is that in the place of honour.. Maybe climbed near the Lord on the left so they could talk quietly. The composite picture of Judas as an ordained apostle of financial competence, with persuasive verbal abilities and the persona to command personal respect has compelled some to have compassion for him. Judas has been portrayed as almost virtuous, presented as a merely misguided patriot who actually love the Jesus and only hung himself because his scheme to force Christ into political leadership against Rome did not materialise.
It has been suggested that Judas used his reason in a clear sighted and call manner to discern that the Ministry of Christ was over I’m Judas saw a head on collision with the Roman authorities so he simply arrange to have the Lord arrested with the expectation that Christ would be out of harms way. Or was Judas so caught up in the hype of being one of the chosen is one, and by bringing about a confrontation between Jesus and the Pharisees, Jesus would be provoked becoming the leader of a politically motivated uprising against Roman occupation. Judas would in turn become one of the select few and therefore become the master of a very large common purse. But when Jesus didn’t fight back and the Romans took control of Jesus judas lost his resolve. The 30 pieces of silver he received was only a small amount which would not having surety safety following the betrayal, nor would it has provided him with a lifestyle free from guilt. Is this an indication that his motive was was financial? Probably not as he wanted to return it but then what was his motive for the returning of the money was it to distancing from the event. We know that he knows he made the wrong choice and regretted it taking his own life. The second century Greek teacher Origon suggests that as soon as Judas fully realised just what he had done he rushed to commit suicide in order to meet the Lord in Hades replace of all the dead and there he intended to break the Lord’s forgiveness.
One final observation: didn’t the Apostle Peter also betray the Lord by his denials? So, what’s the difference? Sure, Peter wept in bitter remorse for his betrayal, but Judas too confessed, “I have betrayed innocent blood” and gave back the thirty pieces of silver. So what’s the difference?
The difference is in the way that Peter and Judas see the crucified Lord. Peter had confidence in the mercy of Christ, and Judas did not! Judas’ greatest sin was not in having betrayed Christ, but in having doubted his mercy.
And so, here is what the story of our brother Judas should move us to do: to surrender ourselves to the one who freely forgives, to throw ourselves likewise into the outstretched arms of the Crucified One.
He sought out Peter after his denial to give him forgiveness, so who knows how he might have sought out Judas at some point in his way to Calvary! When Jesus prays from the cross, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Lk 23:34), he certainly does not exclude Judas from those for whom he prays.
Horrible was the nature of my sins,
but boundless mercy stretches out its arms
to any man who comes in search of it.
This is what Christ’s Passover can do for each and every one of us.