Friday, November 15, 2013

And God opened his heart

Long have I heard (Dan Phillips I'm looking at you here) that Jesus never showed mercy to Judas, that he was predestined to hell, and that Jesus never made an atonement for him. But as I was preparing to teach I realized that the repentance of Judas was the highest form of God's love.

Matthew 27:3-5 "Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see thou to that.And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself."

Judas, as we all know, betrayed Christ, and handed Him over to the chief priests. But upon seeing that Jesus was going to die he realizes his grudge against Christ is not one to death. He intended to punish and afflict Christ, but now that Satan has left him a little bit of compassion comes back. This wasn't good, he says to himself.
He repents, or rather, feels horrible. He's gripped by remorse and sorrow, he cannot escape from the pain of betraying his friend and teacher. They only promised to pay him before hand, so now he goes and gets the money it starts to sink in how little this was worth. He puts it in his bag and starts to walk away, then, plagued by his conscious, turns around and decides to fix this situation. But being a man of material desires, all he can think to do to fix the situation is return the money. He speaks words of sorrow "I have betrayed innocent blood!"
The words thrown back at him are monstrous: so what? What do we care? You helped us, we got the job done. You're one of us now remember?
The supreme moment of insight has occurred. Judas sees who they really are now. He sees how calloused, evil, and heartless they really are. How hypocritical and determined to destroy everything they don't like, and he realizes he has chosen them against Jesus. He's one of them. But he doesn't want to be. So he throws the money back at them and walks out.

And here I come to the point of my post. Judas had been given a great gift, the greatest gift, he was shown how truly awful he really is. God had arranged the circumstances to show Judas just exactly what was in the heart of man.
Without that divine lifting of the veil, we don't ever come to Him. We go on thinking we are good people, people who deserve heaven, and it's only by a work of Him taking away our ignorance that we can come to Him.
It's an act of grace. He's lifting the veil, inviting Judas to look at who he really is, as come find healing for it.
But Judas won't come. He looks at himself, hates himself, and then hangs himself. He would not have Gods grace no matter how it was given.

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