A Bad Rap

Okay, so it’s taken me a while. Two years to be exact. But on January first, two years ago, I decided to obey what I thought was the Holy Spirit. My job was to outline all four gospels.

Finishing up this morning, I noticed this unusual detail in Matthew’s gospel (chapter 27) which made me think about an old story in a new way. The detail appears in the story of Judas, the betrayer, who — for thirty pieces of silver — agreed to lead the religious Big Shots to Jesus.

At most Easter observances, if anyone mentions Judas, it is with disdain. The fool. Greedy louse. I’ve heard it said, “He obviously never repented, because he killed himself.” If he had truly repented for his betrayal, then of course the story would have ended “happily ever after.” Right?

Another good example of folks who have to have all the answers. Frankly, I’m not convinced. Who knows how Judas and Father God interacted in those last minutes. Father God knows his heart. I do not. But back to my revelation. . .

In my version, I read this, “When Judas, who had betrayed him, realized that Jesus had been condemned to die, he was filled with remorse…” Reading into the meaning of this sentence, I don’t think that Judas ever believed that his betrayal would end in Jesus’ death. To misquote a contemporary country song, “What was he thinking?”

Did he think that by having Jesus arrested, Jesus might be forced to take his place as the rightful King of the Jews? Was Judas’ move a political one? Did he foresee a nation free of the Romans? Did he think the arrest would widen Jesus audience? Would this play finally convince the leading priests and teachers that Jesus was who he said he was?

We can’t know what Judas was thinking. We can only speculate. But the passage does tell us he was filled with remorse. Sadness. Sorrow. He’d done the unthinkable, and now, it was out of his hands. It was his fault and his alone. There was no turning back.

If only Judas could have hung on for three more days. He might have gained a new perspective. Just three days would have been enough. The grave would be empty, and the Son of God would have proven his identity. All would be nothing more than a bad memory.

And here was my “ah-ha” moment: How often do we find ourselves caught in that moment of remorse? Of sorrow. Of loss. Or guilt. Or hopelessness. And how often do we give up just THREE DAYS before the whole picture begins to make sense?

If you are in the process of holding on, I beg you to think of our friend Judas. Just three days would have made all the difference. He gave up too soon. Will you?

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One Response to “A Bad Rap”

  1. Jessie Gunderson Says:

    Oh that I wouldn’t give up too soon. God’s way truly is best. Great insights. I’ve been thinking about outlining the gospels too. Cool!

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