Hope is for Judases like me
“Then when Judas, his betrayer, saw that Jesus was condemned, he changed his mind and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders, saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.”
They said, “What is that to us? See to it yourself.”
And throwing down the pieces of silver into the temple, he departed, and went and hanged himself.
This passage describes Judas as "his betrayer" that same label can be applied to me. I have betrayed Jesus more times than I care to count. I call myself a follower of Christ and yet many of my words and actions betray the one I claim to follow. I will betray Jesus to save face, earn money, or just to stay comfortable. Most of the time I don’t even think about it, but sometimes the betrayal is so bitter that it breaks me down.
Like Judas, I feel terrible about what I’ve done. I’ve met lots of people who, like me, feel like Judas. People who feel terrible about what they’ve done. Full of regret and shame for words, actions, attitudes and motives.
What should the church say to me and other Judases? I hate to admit it, but I think the church says the same thing to Judases today that the church said to Judas then. “See to it yourself.”
That message of see to it yourself comes in many different forms, but the basic idea is that you should not be a Judas. The church tells me I shouldn’t act like Judas, feel like Judas, or think like Judas. The message is, if I would just follow the principles in scripture I would stop being Judas. The message I get from the church usually has something to do with 5 keys to a successful whatever (career, marriage, diet, money management, integrity etc.) Telling Judases like me to stop being Judas or giving us 5 keys to a successful whatever is just another way of saying “see to it yourself”. Those words crushed Judas then and crushes Judases like me now.
So what should the church say to Judases like me?
Jesus loves you, Judas. Stop trying to pay for your betrayal. He doesn’t need your money or your self- loathing. He doesn’t need you to pay for your betrayal through good deeds and long prayers. He welcomes your betrayal so you can welcome his faithfulness. He received your kiss of betrayal so you can receive the kiss of your Father. Judas, learn from your fellow betrayer Peter. Don’t do anything to fix your betrayal, just weep over it. And, as you weep, receive by faith the blood that covers your betrayal. Receive your new name. Your new identity in Christ. For in Him you are known not as betrayer, but Beloved.
Judas, Hope is for you!