Here we see the end of Judas Iscariot’s life.
Upon seeing that Jesus had been condemned to death, he became remorseful, and went to the priests and elders saying,
I have sinned…for I have betrayed innocent blood. (4)
He even tried to return the money, but when the priests and elders refused to take it, he threw it into the temple and went and hung himself.
The apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 7 talks about two kinds of sorrow. Paul tells us,
Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret. (2 Corinthians 7:10a)
This is the kind of sorrow that we eventually see in Peter. Devastated as he was by his failure in denying Jesus three times, he nevertheless repented, and was eventually restored.
Judas, on the other hand, never did repent. Certainly he was sorry for the results of his actions. But instead of coming before God for forgiveness, he killed himself. Paul calls this kind of sorrow, “a worldly sorrow that leads to death.” (2 Corinthians 7:10b).
Unfortunately, far too many people have Judas’ kind of sorrow. They see the damage that they have done through their actions. But they see no hope for forgiveness. They think that what they’ve done is just too awful for even God to forgive.
The question is, what are we doing about it?
The people that should have helped Judas find the forgiveness of God, the priests, were of no help. They basically said, “What’s your sorrow to us? If you think you’ve done something wrong, that’s your responsibility. Don’t come crying to us about it.”
The priests, of course, were too hardened by their own sin to be of any help. To have helped Judas would of course have meant recognizing their own sin. And they weren’t about to do that.
What’s so ironic is that they felt they couldn’t put the money back in the treasury from where it came because it was “blood money.” Obviously, somewhere deep inside, they knew they were wrong.
But getting back to the point, as God’s priests, we should be helping people who are sorrowful for the mess they’ve made of their lives. Are we doing that? Are we letting people know that God’s grace is there for them if they’ll just repent?
Or are we happy they are suffering? Are we saying, “That’s your responsibility. You’re reaping what you sowed. So don’t ask me to come help bail you out.”
Jesus had every right to do that to Peter. For that matter, he had every right to do that to each disciple that abandoned him. Instead, he showed them grace. He showed them God’s forgiveness. That led to their repentance and completely changed their lives.
That’s what Jesus calls us to do for others. Are you?