I’ve been watching “The Bible” reruns this advent, and I also remember watching the series during lent, like many other Christians in the US. While many people have their gripes about the series (yes, not everything was depicted exactly as the bible really told it), I took a lot from it! For one, I realized that I, like many Christians spent almost all of my devotional time in the New Testament, and there were a lot of little nuances that I was not so familiar with. Since Easter, I’ve spent a lot of time in the Old Testament, and took a lot from it, primarily seeing myself and my own tendencies in the stories of the Bible – and this is both the “good” and “bad” characters. Last night's rerun of the Bible covered Jesus’ ministry on earth and His betrayal, and I just had another epiphany, so I decided to start another mini-series on my blog – comparisons to men and women of the Bible. Enjoy!
Today I thought a lot about Judas Iscariot.
Matthew 27: Early in the morning, all the chief priests and the elders of the people made their plans how to have Jesus executed. 2 So they bound him, led him away and handed him over to Pilate the governor.3 When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders. 4 “I have sinned,” he said, “for I have betrayed innocent blood.” “What is that to us?” they replied. “That’s your responsibility.” 5 So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself.
I find this passage so interesting. I’ve always just kind of glazed over it, but there is something so interesting about human nature depicted in this story. Judas had just spent years following Jesus, listening to His teachings about the love of God, about forgiveness and watching Jesus show mercy on people for committing even the most heinous of crimes, yet, he gave up. Or perhaps in that moment, he forgot everything that’d he’d heard in Jesus’ teachings. Or, maybe he didn’t really accept that grace for himself. Either way, he wasted all of the time that he spent listening to Jesus not only when he sinned against Jesus, but when he gave up and chose not to accept the grace that was extended to him. Judas wasn’t the only one who messed up that night, Peter also did. He got violent when the guards tried to take Jesus, and he denied Jesus three whole times. But Peter held on, and was able to be used again in establishing the church of God.
This really resonates with me, because I love God. I love Jesus. He’s been so good to me. However, I mess up sometimes. I mess up really big, and it can be hard to see how I’m going to get through the mess, and why God should even forgive me…….which usually leads me to thoughts of giving up, or can even lead me back to the sin since I see no point in fighting. And I doubt that I’m alone in this. I believe that the difference between the Christians that go far and achieve their true, long term purpose in ministry and those who give up after just a while falls back to the true understanding of mercy, and how it applies to both you, and others around you. Even the bible defines the righteous person as one who falls 7 times, but gets up the 8th. That was the entire difference between Peter and Judas. That's why Peter was remembered as just, and Judas - not so much.
The Bible says that the devil is the accuser of the brethren. Meaning, that his purpose is to accuse us before God and create guilt in our spirits. That guilt is what rose up in Judas’ spirit that day which drove him to suicide. I think that we all have a little Judas in us, in the sense that we sin sometimes, then feel guilty and give up temporarily or permanently on both our dreams, and continuing in ministry. Jesus’ entire message was about redemption and true life. He already paid the price, so let’s not put it to waste! Remember the Good News in those down times. Don’t give up!