Judas Iscariot is infamous throughout church history as the betrayer of Jesus.
The story of Judas brings up a heap of issues such as
Did Judas have a choice? Was the life of Judas predestined for evil?
Was his betrayal necessary for the salvation of humanity? If so, should he get some credit here?
Some say the sins and subsequent suicide of Judas forever condemned him to Hell – Could the atonement of Jesus not be sufficient for someone so instrumental in history?
What was going through the heart and mind of Judas as he hung himself?
The one question I’ve been fixated on for the past month comes straight from the Scriptures. In Matthew 27, Judas goes to the chief priests and elders, repenting “I have sinned for I have betrayed innocent blood”, to which the religious leaders respond “What is that to us? That’s your responsibility”.
This one breaks my heart. I know we as the church do it all the time. People come to us wanting change, acceptance, hope… and we leave them ‘hanging’. Who has committed the greater sin here? Could the church have prevented his death? I doubt Judas went to them seeking further condemnation.
What is that to us?
What if rather than ignoring those who we might deem as ‘too sick and twisted’, ‘too messed up’, or ‘too awkward’, we welcomed them? What if we didn’t simply acknowledge them, or pray and empty prayer, but took their sins as our responsibility? And what if, a big what if, someone was ‘predestined’ to a life of sin, so that you could learn what it means to truly love another human being?
What if we embraced Judas?
Photo by Irina Souiki