I had to read a lot tonight to catch up and I thought I would have trouble deciding on what part of it to focus on. The part I have to write about would not have been my first choice. It seems that God is always pointing me to the scripture that requires me to ask difficult questions of myself. Tonight I keep going back to Matthew 26:69 - 27:7. That's right, Peter's denial and Judas' betrayal. I'm going to assume you know Peter's story, so here is the passage about Judas that gets me:
Then when Judas, his betrayer, saw that Jesus was condemned, he changed his mind and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders, 4 saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” They said, “What is that to us? See to it yourself.” 5 And throwing down the pieces of silver into the temple, he departed, and he went and hanged himself. 6 But the chief priests, taking the pieces of silver, said, “It is not lawful to put them into the treasury, since it is blood money.”
I love the progression here. Judas changes his mind, I think that's the heart of repentance. He tells the religious leaders, confession. They tell him its none of their business and that he should deal with it himself. Typical, not many people really want to deal with sin. Its hard to deal with someone who is broken by their sin if your not broken by your own. I love what Judas does next, he takes his sin and leaves it at the alter. If in that moment he had really listened he might have heard the words of Jesus echo from Calvary, "It is finished."
I see so much of myself in Judas and Peter. I'm plagued by wealth and a need to be accepted. Too often I turn God's blessings into blood money. Too often I sugar coat the message of Christ or down play my own Christianity to gain acceptance. I do the other things too, I go to the alter - repent - confess. I hope that what I do next is different. I hope that when I leave the alter I set my eyes on the cross. Judas didn't run to Jesus. He almost got right, then he got dead. That, to me, is the saddest story in the Bible. Judas very well could have been the first Christian. It seems to me that he got two thirds of the way there. He repented, he confessed, but he never believed (at least it doesn't look like it). Had he believed that Christ was who he said he was, had he believed in the power of the blood that was on his hands, he would have left the temple a different man. He couldn't believe. He never understood and it killed him, completely.
It is finished. I am forgiven. Redeemed. Accepted. I am alive, completely.