Judas Iscariot isn’t mentioned very often in the Gospels. I found 28 verses with him in them. Of those, only a handful take place outside of the Last Supper and subsequent day. If Judas hadn’t betrayed Jesus, he would be, to most people who read the Bible, just a name in a list of twelve men who followed Jesus and were called disciples.
When I think of Judas, I have several questions:
Jesus knew Judas would betray him even before Judas was born. So, why choose him as one of his disciples?
Jesus and everyone else knew Judas Iscariot stole. John 12:6 tells us “he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag he used to help himself to what was put into it.” So why put him in charge of the finances?
At the Last Supper, John sat to Jesus’ right, and Judas (most probably) sat to His left. These were the two seats of honor. During the meal, Jesus handed Judas a special piece of bread dipped in wine or a fruit sauce. This gesture was a sign of friendship and trust. Why give this vile man these honors?
I believe the answers to all of the above questions is: because Jesus loved Judas Iscariot, and He loves us. Even though Judas didn’t repent, Jesus gave Judas every opportunity to do so. Every time Judas stole money was an opportunity for Judas’ conscience to tell him it was wrong. Every time Jesus spoke of His imminent death and the disciples expressed sorrow was a chance for Judas to change his mind about betraying his friend. The honored seat at the Last Supper and the bread dipped in the bowl were Jesus’ silent appeal to Judas not to do the evil thing he was about to do.
Jesus was telling Judas something even more important than, “Don’t do this.” He was saying, “I love you, and even if you do this, I can forgive you if you believe in Me.” God can and will forgive anything we do against Him because He loves us. After Judas betrayed Jesus, he was sorry and gave back the money, but there is no indication that he asked Jesus to forgive him. If he had, he would be in heaven now. Yes, Judas Iscariot could still have gone to heaven.
Last Sunday, my pastor asked an important question about Jesus’ relationship with Judas. He asked (These may not be my pastor’s exact words.), “How did Jesus feel at the Last Supper, sitting with Judas, knowing Judas was about to betray him?” I think Jesus felt sad.
If you don’t know Christ as your Lord and Savior, maybe you could give Him a chance. Go to church this Easter Sunday, and, read the Bible, all the way through, just once. Don’t go by what other people say is in the Bible, read it, and decide for yourself if it is true or not. I have also put a simple illustration of what “Christ as Savior” means on a page of this blog. Just click on the “What is Christ as Savior” tab above.
If you have any questions or comments, feel free to post them below or to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org