The Judas mystery - Hope 103.2

The Judas mystery

Judas is one of the Bible’s baddies. No-one has a good word for him. And yet his admittedly evil deeds provoke some curiosity from us. We read in the gospels that Jesus has prayed for Peter that he not succumb to Satanic temptation. Did he also pray for Judas?

By David ReayFriday 18 May 2018LifeWords DevotionalsFaithReading Time: 2 minutes

Read Matthew 27:1-5

1 Very early in the morning the leading priests and the elders of the people met again to lay plans for putting Jesus to death. 2 Then they bound him, led him away, and took him to Pilate, the Roman governor.

3 When Judas, who had betrayed him, realized that Jesus had been condemned to die, he was filled with remorse. So he took the thirty pieces of silver back to the leading priests and the elders. 4 “I have sinned,” he declared, “for I have betrayed an innocent man.”

“What do we care?” they retorted. “That’s your problem.”

5 Then Judas threw the silver coins down in the Temple and went out and hanged himself. (NLT)

Judas is one of the Bible’s baddies. No-one has a good word for him. And yet his admittedly evil deeds provoke some curiosity from us. We read in the gospels that Jesus has prayed for Peter that he not succumb to Satanic temptation. Did he also pray for Judas? Peter failed the test and yet later regretted it and was restored to discipleship. Judas certainly succumbed to temptation, regretted it, yet died in despair. And to increase the mystery, the Bible appears to record contrasting accounts of his death.

We might agree that Judas’ betrayal of Jesus led to the cross which in turn led to new life for those who trust in him. But we might scratch our heads at the tension this creates: he did God’s will by betraying Jesus but suffers the consequences of it. Was he a mere puppet or was he fully accountable for his actions even though they might appear to be divinely foreordained?

And is there a difference between the reactions of Judas and Peter when each realised his failure? Is remorse enough? Could we argue that Peter truly repented of his sin but that Judas merely felt sorry for it? We can be sure Peter will be amongst the company of heaven, but what of Judas? Will we meet him there? Was he beyond the saving grace of God?

All this reminds us that while we are thankful for the saving work of Jesus, and thankful for the biblical records which tell that story, there is still mystery around the edges. We need not avoid hard questions, but nor do we need to be preoccupied by them. We can’t and don’t know everything. We have sufficient knowledge but not exhaustive knowledge.

Blessings
David Reay

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