Judas left so many questions behind him. What made those 30 pieces of silver, so eagerly received just a day earlier, now so hateful to him that he flung them away? Peter found forgiveness. As Pastor Hamilton’s reading suggests, it seems certain Judas would have, too—if only he’d waited.
- Judas and Peter—both failed Jesus. Judas ended his own life in despair, while forty days later, Peter boldly proclaimed the risen Jesus on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2). What made the difference? How can you see your failures redeemed and your life empowered as Peter did?
- On Feb. 18, Joseph Stack flew his plane into a building in Austin, TX. He left a note saying his self-destructive act was “the only answer.” Judas seemed to reach the same conclusion. If you ever feel that suicide is the only answer, get help!
Judas…so many questions. One of the perennial “big questions” when I was back in college was “what about Judas?” I remember one early morning after “bar time” when the lounge in my dorm was nearly packed with people and Judas was the primary point of conversation. I can’t say this for sure, but I think we hit on every conceivable question or possible response by about five o’clock in the morning! Over the years countless hours have been poured out in to every corner that conversation could ever go without a completely satisfying answer.
But today’s GPS got me thinking about one of my favorite quotes from Anne Lamott. I believe it goes this way: “You want to know how big God’s love is? The answer is: It’s very big. It’s bigger than you’re comfortable with.” The same holds true for God’s grace and forgiveness.
So… why did Judas do what he did? Was it mental illness, was it pure evil, was it just greed? What if he had only waited? I don’t believe these questions or answers really get us anywhere, because what we know of Judas and his story ends here.
What does get us someplace, and maybe what really needs to be our focus is the example of Peter who’s failures and famous messes were not and are not the end of his story…through the cross and the empty grave there is redemption, forgiveness and life and it is offered to each and every one of us each day as we remember our baptisms into Christ.