The following are just some thoughts on Judas as Mark preached on Matthew 7 a couple of weeks ago. Since it’s been awhile, and I’m not always good with quotation marks as I take notes and think about what he says, I’m not positive where Mark’s thoughts left off and mine worked in. Anyway, his sermon did get me thinking about Judas and how someone so close to Jesus could have missed the boat so totally that it ended in his own destruction.
When Judas returns the money to the chief priests, they reveal their vast wickedness. Not at all concerned with truth, they had their man and salved their own consciences by using the money to purchase the Potter’s Field, a cemetery. To Judas, they responded, “What is that [betraying Christ] to us? That’s your responsibility.” And so it was. It’s a sad thing to get to the end of something and realize our fault in the situation; but instead of seeking out the wicked priests, Judas should have gone to the One who could have made all things right for him, but he did not. Instead he tried to fix the mess he’d made, but it simply could not be undone. The priests did not care.
So instead, in his despair Judas hanged himself. There is a lesson there. First, I don’t want to make that kind of mess to begin with. It’s kind of amazing to have walked with Jesus and not have known Jesus; but Judas did. It’s so easy to get caught up in our work—sometimes good work—and make stupid decisions. Judas was not unique that way.
And when Judas recognizes his fault, he did what I so often do: he tried to fix it himself. He wants to change the past, but he cannot. When Judas can’t fix it himself, he discovers he can no longer live with himself either. Judas cannot change the past, and he cannot live in the future.
It’s a dangerous path to think we have all the answers—to seek only what we want—to assume we are in control. Yet, to recognize we can’t do it ourselves—really, what a wonderful place to be. For from there, it is only a short step to experience that God can and does fix things. The chained are those who think they can fix the mess within themselves. And are we not all a mess—at least at some point?