I’ve been thinking a great deal about Judas.
You know, the disciple who betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver.
I’m not sure why he’s been on my mind, but his story has captivated me.
Perhaps it’s because I think many Christians today (me) resemble him…not that they actively seek ways to betray him, but many Christians spend years devoted to Him yet completely misunderstand their Savior. They spend time at church and do “Christian” things, but they’ve never really met Him. They know facts about Him, but they’ve never actually experienced the freedom found in the cross. His love and grace haven’t truly touched their hearts. They’re missing out on the abundant life and they don’t even know it!
Here are a few examples:
Even after saying the “sinner’s prayer” they still feel unloved. They still try and “earn” their Salvation…even if they don’t say it or realize it. They’re bogged down in sin and feel helpless to change. They read the Bible but it doesn’t sink in. They’re lost in despair, believing the lies of this world. They feel unworthy, their prayers lack power, and their walk with Christ is shallow.
Without realizing it, these Christians (me) are like Judas.
Judas walked with God (Trinity) and still completely missed having a relationship with Him! So it’s not impossible to think that there are tons of Christians today making his same mistakes.
But WHY did Judas betray Jesus? (Why do we betray Him?)
Judas experienced the same things the other disciples did.
He saw Jesus feed the multitudes, heal the sick, rebuke demons, and confront the religious leaders. He heard Jesus pray, watched him calm the storm, and witnessed Him grant forgiveness and acceptance to those the rest of society had wrote off as “no good”.
Despite all this, WHO Christ was never penetrated his heart.
How did I come to this conclusion????
Because after he realized he’d messed up, he tried to correct the problem like most humans do. He went to those he’d taken the money from and tried to give it back. He wanted to make things right. He felt bad for what he’d done. The need to repent nagged at him.
But instead of going to God and asking for forgiveness, he went to man.
When man couldn’t ease his pain, take away his guilt, or make things right, he again turned to worldly solutions—not God’s grace.
He hung himself.
He’d witnessed Jesus forgive everyone, of every sin they came at Him with, yet he didn’t think Jesus could forgive him.
I wonder, do we think God can’t truly forgive us? Is that why we behave as we do?
I read a post by blogger Chris Martin about Jesus healing Malchus’ ear when it was chopped off in the Garden of Gethsemane (Luke 22:47-53). (check out his post by clicking his name, it’s awesome)
Again, Judas was there.
He witnessed Jesus heal the ear of a man who came to arrest him.
He witnessed unmerited grace.
While Chris’ post focuses on the impact that must have had on the Roman Solider, I pondered why it didn’t have more of an effect on Judas.
I wonder if Jesus wasn’t only showing Malchus His love, but also trying to demonstrate one last time to Judas that He will forgive anything—even attacks on His life.
Judas missed the lesson. He observed grace in action …but he didn’t apply it to his own life.
How about you?
Is God trying to tell you something, trying to teach you something?
Are you missing out on God’s best because you’re unable, or unwilling, to see the offering of love being presented to you by God?
Please, dear reader, don’t be Judas.
Don’t be an acquaintance of God’s…KNOW Him.
I encourage you: be like Peter. He denied Jesus 3 times yet his sorrow lead him back to Jesus—not further away (John 21:7-19). He came back to Christ because he KNEW Christ, he’d seen Christ’s love and he couldn’t stay away—even if it meant having to admit he was wrong.
Peter had a relationship with God.
I pray you do too.
That way, when trials come or when you mess up (because we all do), you can go to God for the solution and not try and fix things yourself.
Only in Him is true pardon found.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9 NIV