If Only He’d Waited!

“When Judas, who had betrayed Him, realized that Jesus had been condemned to die, he was filled with remorse.” (Matthew 27:3a NLT)

Not many who come to Christ identify with Judas. Judas’ name is synonymous with “betrayer,” which, of course, he was. The troubling consideration for me is, so was Peter . . . and so am I! “What if?”

How many times have we looked back and wished we’d done something differently? Or not done something that turned out to be such a huge mistake?

Years ago, I watched a movie, whose title escapes me, about a person who came out of a large downtown building. In one scenario she caught a cab and went about her life. But in the second scenario, she missed the cab and was delayed. That one simple event sent her life on a whole different trajectory. It causes me to think about the seeming simple decisions we make each day that have the potential to affect our lives in profound ways. 

At the Last Supper Jesus said these haunting words in reference to Judas: “For the Son of Man must die, as the Scriptures declared long ago. But how terrible it will be for the one who betrays Him. It would be far better for that man if he had never been born!” Was that God’s plan for Judas from the beginning? Was Judas so different from the other disciples that he was chosen for that specific reason?

I believe a case could be made that Judas loved Jesus and served Him gladly and even faithfully…for a time! For whatever reason, like us, he became enamored with things of the world. Like many would be fruitful believers, Satan tempts them, first with something simple – “Just a little from the treasury. No one will miss it!” Then it becomes habit, that leads to betrayal.

Photo by Quang Nguyen Vinh on Pexels.com

It’s so like many followers of Jesus. It’s not generally the major failures that kill our closeness with Jesus and others, it’s the thousand and one little “slips.” A painting I saw featured a man crossing the desert. The caption read, “It’s not the mounds of sand in front of us that wear us down, it’s the grain of sand in our shoe.”

What’s the grain of sand in your shoe today? What small thing in your life are you allowing that you know is wrong, but you’re not willing to do anything about it?

The terrifying thing about Judas is that he represents a vast number of Jesus followers that get sidetracked by seeming insignificant, but selfish desires that, over time, mushroom out of control and leave us vulnerable to do things that we’ll regret for all eternity. I choose to believe if Judas had only waited for three days, like Peter, Judas could have found forgiveness and a second chance. I can’t believe Jesus would have called Him simply to let him perish.

It had to have broken Jesus’ heart to know what Judas was going to do. But even after the fact, I know my Savior, and I know with certainty that had Judas repented and humbled himself before his Master, there’d have been a different outcome.

Why even consider these things?

Because there’s a “Judas” in all of us. We still have trouble wrapping our mind around this, but sin is sin. There are no “big” sins and “little” sins. Lying and betrayal are both sins that will separate us from our Savior, but we want to view them differently.

Peter lied, Judas betrayed, both tragic responses to their Master and Friend. Peter waited, Judas did not. Peter allowed Jesus to decide his fate, Judas took things into his own hands.

We’ll look at this more closely tomorrow.

Blessings, Ed 😊

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