Judas. That name is synonymous with betrayal. Judas, a disciple of Jesus, is the one who betrayed his friend, Jesus, with a kiss, and 30 pieces of silver. While the silver might have brought him immediate satisfaction, the weight and severity of what he did was heavy on his heart.

“When Judas, who had betrayed Jesus, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders. “I have sinned,” he said, “for I have betrayed innocent blood.”

“What is that to us?” they replied. “That’s your responsibility.”

So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself” (Matt 27:3-5)

Judas made the biggest mistake of his life. He was so distraught with guilt, and filled with so much shame, that he took his own life.

But, imagine for a moment, if he didn’t. What could’ve become of his life?

What if, after he threw the money back to the chief priests, he ran back to the rest of the disciples and said, “I cannot believe what I just did. I betrayed our Lord!”

I imagine Peter saying, “Judas, I did too. 3 times I said, “I don’t know him.  I wept bitterly for denying our Lord.”

I also picture another disciple saying, “Me too. I ran, and hid, due to fear!”

And over by the trees, 9 other disciples are huddled up, shaking their heads, and wiping tears from their eyes, because they betrayed him, too.

Judas wasn’t the only one who betrayed Jesus.

Those next few days would’ve been very dark. Not only for Judas, but for all of the disciples, too. They all dealt with shame, guilt, and denying they ever knew Jesus.

The difference? Judas took his own life. He couldn’t take the heaviness and the weight of it all.

Days after the resurrection, Jesus appeared to Peter, and three times reiterated his love for him. Why three times? Because Peter denied Jesus three times. Peter then went on to help change the world!

I wonder, if Judas hadn’t taken his own life, what that first encounter with the risen Savior might’ve been like?

“Judas. My friend, I love you. I forgive you. Now, go tell others that despite any mistake you have made, you are loved! I died for you. I would do it again. You have a future. You have a hope. You have forgiveness.”

Judas robbed himself of experiencing the same grace Peter received from Jesus. Today, I tell you friend, Jesus offers grace to YOU!

If you feel hopeless, because of something you did, Jesus stretched out his arms for you, and said, “I love you.”

Today, I encourage you, seek Jesus. He will restore you. He will give you hope. He loves you.

Forgiveness awaits. Go make a difference. Always run by faith.

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