Spy Wednesday and the Redemption of Judas

The Wednesday of Holy Week has as its theme the betrayal of Jesus by one of his Apostles namely Judas Iscariot.  Traditionally it is believed that one this day Jesus was in Bethany at the home of Lazarus, who he raised from the dead, and Lazarus’ two sisters Mary and Martha.  This was the night that Mary anointed Jesus’ feet and then dried them with her hair.  It is also the night that Judas made a big ruckus about the cost of the ointment that Mary used.  He claimed that it could be sold, and the money was given to the poor, but we are led to believe that Judas wanted the money for himself.

It is also believed that this is the night that Judas left the house and went and made a deal with the Jewish authorities to betray Jesus a few days later.  I have always found Judas to be a curious figure.  Why did Jesus pick him as one of his Apostles?  We do not hear much about Judas until this time in the story so was he always concerned about the money?  We know from Scripture that he was in charge of the purse, so money must have been on his mind.  Did he participate in the healings like the others did?  Did he preach along the highways and byways of the area as the others did?

I believe that Jesus knew the character of each of the people he chose, and it was for that reason, their character, that they were chosen.  Knowing that he was to be betrayed by one of his closest friends he chose Judas, someone of weak character and given to greed and avarice, to be one of his intimate friends.  Many of us have been betrayed by those close to us so in a way I can sympathize with Jesus when this happens.  But at the same time, he knew this was coming.  I get the feeling it still hurt a little.

But what of Judas?

Scripture tells us that he did, in fact, betray Jesus, but he then had a moment of conscious and tried to give the money, what he called blood money, back to the Jewish Authorities.  They would not take the money back for the same reason that Judas wanted to give it back; it was dirty money.  Judas throws the money at them and runs off.  In the end, they do take the money, but they use it for the purchase of a burial ground.

But Judas, now faced with what he has done, runs off into the wilderness where he ends his life.  But does he physically kill himself or is the end of his life more of a spiritual thing?  Judas is so overcome with the realization of his betrayal, and he agonizes over this fact.  In the recent television portrayal, The Passion (read my review here) we see this awareness play out with Judas.  Where or not he physically killed himself is not the point here the question is what happened to him?

Later on in the story, when Jesus is praying, he says that he did not lose one of the ones, the Apostles, which God had given him save the son of perdition.  It is believed that he is speaking of Judas.  But did Jesus mean he lost him as a follower in the physical sense or that he lost him as a follower in the spiritual sense?  It is certainly unclear.

Now I have nothing to back this up other than my faith in an all forgiving God, but I believe that Judas was redeemed in the end.  Here is my thinking.  Someone had to betray Jesus, and it was Judas that was chosen.  Betrayal was his vocation and maybe even the reason he was born.  In another place in Scripture, Jesus tells his followers that a man was born blind so that he could be healed and glory brought to God.  So God chose Judas, as he did all of the others, for a purpose and that purpose was the betrayal.

In the end, Judas repents of what he has done.  We see this in the action of his attempt to return the money to the Jewish Authorities.  My theology teaches that if we repent from our wrongdoing and are truly sorry for what we have done, God will forgive us.  The way I read the story is that Judas was indeed remorseful and repentant for all that he had done so God must have forgiven him!

My belief in a truly merciful God a God that believes all of us are his children, would not have let Judas perish.  God gave Judas a job, a job he had no choice in, and in the end, he carried out God’s will and then repented for what he had done.  So it is my belief that at the end of the day Judas has been forgiven and will be in paradise.

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