The Judas Tragedy

Because we are in the season of Lent, we take a warning from Judas.

Judas’ betrayal of Jesus was awful and that he betrayed the Lord using a kiss, a sign of deep love and friendship, as a signal for betrayal was pure hypocrisy.  Yet, Judas cast himself into a greater tragedy.

Judas had been one of the chosen twelve.  Judas had studied with Jesus for most of three years. He had a chance to hear Jesus often and personally. He had seen more of Jesus’ miracles than most other people.  All of his contact meant that Judas had the Son of God with him personally and had access to Jesus in ways we can only wish.

Yet with all of the Gospel to which Judas had access, when he was at the lowest part of his life he rejected the gift he had studied and lived around. When he could have / should have run to Jesus’ Gospel, he ran away.  In Jesus, Judas could touch forgiveness.  Yet, Judas thought, “He saved others, but he can’t save me.”  Turing from Jesus when the Son of God was right in front of him was Judas’ greatest tragedy!

At an earlier time in his ministry, Jesus had gone to the southeastern corner of the Sea of Galilee, the area of the Gadarenes.  While there Jesus encountered and healed a man who was demon possessed.   Remember what the people said to Jesus after his miracle.  Then the whole town went out to meet Jesus. And when they saw him, they pleaded with him to leave their region (Matthew 8:34).  This is a similar tragedy with Judas.  They had the Savior right with them.  They saw the healed man.  They had seen that Satan was cast out.  Yet still, they said, leave us.  Certainly, they did lose a few pigs, but what are a few pigs in comparison with having the Son of God with you.

Picture Judas and the people of the Gadarenes standing with two door, one on either side.  One door leads into a banquet hall with savory food filling the tables.  The other led into a room with pig’s troughs filled with slop.  Judas and the folks from the Gadarenes chose to eat at the pig’s troughs rather than enjoying the banquet that is Jesus.  That’s tragic!

Too many times people act the same as Judas and the people in the Gadarenes.  We are tempted to forget about Jesus and his Gospel because we have so many other priorities in life.  Some Christians have become so angry about people or events at church that they give up on the Gospel.  We have the gospel message right by us in the Bible as if Jesus, himself, were speaking to us personally.  The grace and person of Jesus are accessible and free, still people reject the banquet prepared from them.

One of the worst caricatures of giving up on the gospel even though the gospel is right by you are those in the church who leave the gospel because someone or something makes them angry.   Sadly there are things that happen in the church that are very disappointing, but that doesn’t mean, Give Up on the Entire Gospel.  The Gospel is greater – it is a banquet.  Don’t choose the pig’s slop of rejection. 

When some of Jesus’ “secondary” disciples were leaving him, Jesus asked the twelve about their intentions. Peter answered well and his answer should be our answer when we are tempted to leave Jesus and the Gospel – “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (John 6:68, a portion).


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