8 Minute Read
TODAY’S BIBLE READING:
TODAY’S BIBLE VERSE(S):
Matthew 26:49 (CSB): “So immediately he (Judas) went up to Jesus and said, ‘Greetings, Rabbi!’ and kissed him.”
REFLECTIONS ON TODAY’S BIBLE VERSE(S):
As we read our Verse for Today, we read of the moment where Judas betrayed Jesus.
I have heard well-intentioned Christians express their hearts of compassion as they retold this story. They have said that “no one is too far gone to be a recipient of God’s love and grace.” They wanted to believe that Judas, even though he betrayed Jesus, might have ended up in Heaven.
I have my doubts. Serious doubts.
Because of at least two pieces of information that we find in Scripture.
First, we learn that Judas had a wicked, willing heart that Satan entered.
Luke 22:3-4 (CSB): “Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, who was numbered among the Twelve. He went away and discussed with the chief priests and temple police how he could hand him over to them.”
Simply put, Judas was demon-possessed when he had the discussion with the Jewish religious leaders about how he was going to hand Jesus over to them.
This points out, among other things, the condition of Judas’ heart. He was not a good man. He was wicked. He was a willing participant whose heart was wide-open to being taken over by Satan.
Second, we read some details about what was going on in Judas’ heart after he betrayed Jesus.
After Judas betrayed Jesus and saw what the Jewish leaders had in mind, he tried to stop the process. When he couldn’t do that, he was filled with remorse, and then committed suicide.
Matthew 27:3-5 (CSB): “Then Judas, his betrayer, seeing that Jesus had been condemned, was full of remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders. ‘I have sinned by betraying innocent blood,’ he said. ‘What’s that to us?’ they said. ‘See to it yourself!’ So he threw the silver into the temple and departed. Then he went and hanged himself.”
Most certainly, our hearts go out to anyone who would think that suicide is ever the only answer to life’s problems. (I have written about my own thoughts of suicide when I was in college.) Our heart breaks when we see someone who would so easily throw away something so incredibly valuable.
But, Judas’ suicide helps us to understand the sadness he felt beforehand. When we read Matthew 27:3, we understand that Judas “was full of remorse.” He was sorry that he had turned Jesus over.
But, was that a sorrow that is characteristic of someone who has turned his life over to Jesus? Was he genuinely sorrow for his sin and was he moved to repentance.
No. Because we read that it did not cause him to fall at Jesus’ feet with a repentant heart. Instead, it led him to hang himself.
Let’s be very clear – the act of suicide does not condemn someone to Hell. I would never allege such a thing because I do not believe that the Bible teaches it. I am simply saying that since Judas’ remorse led him to further despair rather than driving him to God, it demonstrated that his remorse was not a saving, godly remorse.
2 Corinthians 7:10 (CSB): “For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, but worldly grief produces death.”
So, we learn that Judas was not a good-hearted man who simply made a bad choice. He was a wicked-hearted man who only acted in accordance with what his heart was capable of doing. His remorse, while it was commendable, was a sorrow that any godless unbeliever can have when they see the negative ramifications of a horrible decision.
Now, with that being the case, I want you to notice one more thing. In yesterday’s Bible reading, we heard Jesus say something as he was with His disciples. Listen to His words and His followers’ responses …
Matthew 26:21-22 (CSB): “While they were eating, he (Jesus) said, ‘Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me.’ Deeply distressed, each one began to say to him, ‘Surely not I, Lord?'”
Notice that not one of them said: “I know who you’re talking about, Jesus! I know who’s going to betray you! It’s Judas, isn’t it? I’ve always thought he would betray you if he was given the opportunity.”
No. They didn’t say that. They didn’t even think it. Judas wasn’t even on their radar.
In their midst was a man who had an utterly wicked heart, whose heart was primed and ready to be possessed by Satan, who had already contrived a general plan of how he would betray Jesus … and none of them suspected him of being the betrayer.
Let me give you some action points that come to mind as I end this post:
- If you have been betrayed (like Jesus was betrayed by Judas), it may cause you to feel like you cannot fully trust others anymore. With a desire to keep your heart from being hurt again, you may build an emotional wall around your heart to protect it. But, that same wall will also keep you from feeling loved and enjoying relationships with those around you. Grow wiser but please don’t build a wall around your heart.
- Jesus knew of Judas’ wicked heart when He chose him as an Apostle and invested 3 years in him. So, don’t despair when it becomes clear that someone you love and trust begins to demonstrate a wicked heart. It didn’t catch God off-hand. He’s got this. Just spend time in prayer and behave in a way that is appropriate for a Jesus-follower.
- Jesus loved Judas even though He knew what he would do. So, follow Jesus’ example and love (even if it’s from a distance) those who demonstrate a betraying, wicked heart.
- While Judas demonstrated that Hell was his eternal destination, the jury is still out on everyone who still has the breathe of life in them. So, if you have been horribly treated, or even betrayed by someone, pray for their salvation and look for opportunities to share the Gospel with them. (If they are saved and are simply acting in a way unbecoming of a Christian, pray for their repentance. You may even want to initiate the reconciliation process in Matthew 18:15-17.)