I am Judas.
Villain. Traitor. Murderer.
Isn’t this how we view the disciple who sealed Jesus’ fate with his infamous kiss.
But what if in our vilification of Judas we miss the point of Christ’s sacrifice. What if there is a greater story of grace and love within Judas’ life that supersedes the story of his betrayal.
That’s certainly what I discovered when I read Tosca Lee’s book, Iscariot. I was profoundly moved. Tears dripped down my cheeks at its completion, and for a moment I sat in contemplative silence, finding irony in the fact that I’d finished listening to it on Good Friday, the day of Christ’s crucifixion.
And then my thoughts began to swirl and many questions surged. Judas obviously struggled with his faith. Was he any different from you or I? He betrayed Christ, but haven’t we all? Peter denied Christ. The rest of the disciples abandoned him. He was crucified by the masses. Haven’t we all done these things in our everyday lives?
So what makes us feel like we have the right to condemn and vilify him?
We’ve all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God? Romans 3:23.
Mathew 27:3-5 says this,
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 priest and the elders. “I have sinned,” he said, “for I have betrayed innocent blood.”
“What is that to us?” they replied. “That’s your responsibility.”
So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself.
The chief priests and elders did not care about Judas sin, nor his soul. Nor did they care that he was repentant. They had an agenda, and he served their purpose. Seeking absolution, he left their company with no hope. He’d failed the very law which he served and sacrificed his life on its alter in the hopes that his own blood would redeem his soul. He knew he’d condemned an innocent man.
So what does that mean for Judas? Is he in hell like some people believe?
Consider this, Jesus was not of the same mind as the chief priests and elders. I don’t think he’d have turned to Judas and said, “What is your confession to me? That’s your responsibility.”
Is it possible that his response was the exact opposite? What if Christ answered Judas plea as he welcomed him into heaven, with these words, “I hear your confession. You are everything to me. I’ve made you my priority. You are forgiven and I love you. My blood has redeemed you.”
What if this is the greater story of grace and love.
Redemption. Hope. Salvation. Grace. Love
I hope so, for in Judas’ story, I see my own.
In Christ’s story, we have a hope and a future.
I look forward to seeing Judas someday. I want to hear him tell his story of grace and marvel with him over God’s goodness.
For we are no different. Both redeemed, justified, sanctified…
For more information and a better understanding on the topic of grace, please read Pure Grace by Clark Whitten.