Monday, March 30, 2009

Monday, March 30, 2009 –Judas one who betrayed Him for a Price – Luke 22:1-6

What are we to feel about Judas, the man who betrayed Jesus and handed him over to his enemies for 30 pieces of silver? Do we despise him for what he did, or do we pity him as a hapless player fulfilling the prophesy of King David in Ps. 41? Did he do this traitorous thing out of jealousy, or greed? Was he a disciple for the wrong reason, hoping for a powerful position in an earthly kingdom? Whatever his precise motivation, Judas—one of Christ’s chosen twelve—ended up going in a terribly wrong direction. In Luke 22 we learn that “…Satan entered into Judas…and he went away and discussed with the chief priests…how he might betray Him to them.” So Satan found in Judas a weakness, a character defect that allowed him the perfect opening to do his work.

And how does this make Judas different from any one of us? Are we not at times guilty of greed, of dishonesty, of jealousy, of seeking power even if that means hurting someone? Judas great sin may have handed Jesus over to His death, but our own sins, great and small, nailed him to the cross and pierced his side. What a wonder that each of us contributed to His death, yet we needed Him to die so that we might live!

So Judas was really one of us, just one more sinner contributing to the awful suffering and death of our Savior. The difference is that Judas faith was too weak to fight Satan’s assault. When he realized that Jesus really was going to be sentenced to death—that He would not use His almighty power to escape or destroy His captors—Judas was repentant and wanted to return the money. But he did not understand that Jesus was going to die even for him. So rather than throwing himself at the foot of the cross and asking for Christ’s forgiveness he took his own life in despair.

God grant us vigilance in our lives that we may not open our hearts to Satan’s power, and strength in our faith that we may never underestimate the bounds of His love and forgiveness.

-Jim Heckman

Schnorr von Carolsfeld, woodcuts © WELS Permission to use these copyrighted items is limited to personal and congregational use.

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