As the chief priests and elders, filled with delight as they planned Jesus's execution, bound and led Jesus away, Judas was filled with remorse.
Judas had betrayed Jesus by identifying Jesus with a kiss, knowing Jesus would be immediately arrested. The payoff for Judas? 30 pieces of silver.
Now, as Jesus was led away and handed over for trial, Judas was guilt-ridden. Judas knew he had sinned. He knew Jesus was innocent, yet he betrayed Jesus.
Judas returned the silver, but it was too late. The chief priests and elders laughed in his face, saying, "What is that to us? That is your responsibility." (Matthew 27:4)
Look at what Judas did then:
"So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself." (Matthew 27:5)
Judas had great remorse over what he had done, but he never repented and asked for forgiveness. He had sinned grievously and was torn with guilt. But he never fell to his knees to ask God and Jesus for forgiveness. He could have done so. And if he had done so sincerely, Jesus would have forgiven him - just as Jesus forgave his executioners moments before he died. (Luke 23:34)
Judas's heart was dark. He had separated himself from God and Jesus. He died at his own hand, when he could have lived and become a powerful witness for Christ. He may then have died a martyr, as so many did, but he would have lived in eternity with Jesus.
How many times is this story repeated today?
So many people have fallen into the darkness of worldly sin, seduced by temptation (just as Judas was seduced by 30 pieces of silver). They spiral downward, compounding the sins, until one day they hit rock bottom. At the bottom, many choose death, through drug overdoses, reckless or drunken driving, withering away in prison, or suicide.
But the Bible tells us it doesn't have to be that way.
One of the criminals dying on a cross beside Jesus acknowledged Jesus as the Son of God. Moments later he was in heaven with Jesus.
What if another disciple had approached Judas and reminded him of God's love - and encouraged him to repent?
What if we see someone falling or at rock bottom? Do we walk away? Or do we tell them the Good News? Do we love our neighbor? Or ignore his depression, suffering, and cries for help?
Let us all watch for opportunities around us to perform acts of kindness. Let us help fulfill the Great Commission, one life at a time. The life you help save may save many others.
Share the blessing of God's grace and forgiveness. Ask, and you shall receive, my friend, my brother, my sister.
Is there someone you know, right now, who needs to hear about God's love and forgiveness?
Go, seek them out.
LIGHT SPARK MEDIA
Copyright 2020 James Wallace