Friday, 10th Week after Pentecost

Text: Matthew 27:1-10

Prayer Pointers:

To keep walking with Christ no matter what

For wisdom to see all things through the Cross

For the stranger and the traveler

THE NAME OF JUDAS has come down to us as a synonym for treachery and betrayal; Dante placed the eternally suffering Judas in the very center of Hell, in Lucifer’s gaping mouth to be forever consumed.

In his account of the crucifixion of Jesus, Matthew offers a startling tidbit: Judas, stunned by the turn of events, tries to undo his role in what happens and return the thirty pieces of silver the Sanhedrin paid him for his information. “I have sinned” cries Judas, “in betraying someone innocent.” Of course, the chief priests and elders are not at all concerned about Judas’ change of heart and dismiss him. Subsequently, Judas commits suicide.

Which leads to an interesting, even uncomfortable question: what if Judas had endured? What if, rather than giving up, he had followed where that sorrow for sin, that desire to be restored might lead? Here is where the contrast between Peter and Judas is instructive. We might be inclined to shade the actions of the two men, see Peter as less severe that Judas, but the cold fact is that both of them, by their actions and inactions, contributed to the death of Jesus. Yet Peter endured, and was embraced by joy, such joy as human words cannot really describe.

We who are in a position to benefit from this sad story must learn its lesson: the Cross points to how God is not thwarted by any of the things that we, in our paltry wisdom, would insist are God-forsaken. Nothing is beyond God’s redemption! This truth does not mean that the scars of the past are gone; even Jesus appears before Peter with the marks of the Cross upon his body. What it means is that what happens to us is not the last word about us. As Paul writes in Second Timothy:

Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. The saying is trustworthy, for:

If we have died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he also will deny us; if we are faithless, he remains faithful—

for he cannot deny himself.

May your day be grace-filled ~ Pr. Dave Brooks


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