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As Jesus was led away to Pilate to execute His death sentence, Matthew records that Judas, not expecting such an outcome, was moved to remorse by His condemnation.  Deceived by his greed that could not see the way to life through death, he could not conceive how Jesus, whose power he had personally witnessed and believed in, would allow Himself to be put to death.  And so now, shocked by the reality that Jesus subjected Himself to suffering and did not manifest His power to save Himself, his eyes were opened to the horrible truth that through the deception of his own sin he had betrayed the Savior unto death and would be accountable for His blood.  Seeking if possible to undo his deed, he returned the money the chief priests had paid him and confessed to them that Jesus was innocent, and he had sinned by betraying him to them.  But as Eve came to understand the true nature of the serpent, so did he come to understand the same of his brood, that they were not interested in the skin of God’s righteousness (Gen 3:21), but in putting Jesus to death to save their own skin (cf. Job 2:4), and had used him to accomplish their purpose.

Having enticed Judas with money to betray Jesus, in what way was the chief priests’ response to his confession especially like their father the devil?  See Gen 3:4-7 and note that the idiom they used in Mat 27:4 to express that the responsibility for shedding the innocent blood of Christ was his and not theirs is literally, “you will see for yourself”; i.e., “your eyes will be opened”.  Although they imagined themselves innocent of Christ’s blood for having dexterously pinned it on Judas for betraying Him, in what way did his confession actually make them all the more guilty, and their prosecution of Jesus to Pilate all the more inexcusable?  As priests of God whose job it was to adjudicate justice and minister reconciliation between men and God, in what way did their words in Mat 27:4 singularly fail both Jesus and Judas?  Whereas confession to God through His true priests ought to bring the hope of forgiveness and reconciliation, because he was caught in the snare of false servants, what did his confession bring instead?  See Mat 27:5.  Who are God’s priests today?  See 1Pe 2:9.  Are we as His priests prepared to offer the penitent the hope of the gospel and sound guidance for how they can be reconciled to God through sincere repentance, or do we similarly leave the lost to despair?  Cf. 1Pe 3:15, Luk 3:8, Act 26:20.  Is it possible for those who only disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, but are not, to provide the spiritual hope and deliverance for which the lost often seek them out?  Cf. 2Co 11:14-15, 2Pe 2:18-19.  To find real hope and deliverance from the consequences of sin, what must those who would be saved do in regard to false religion?  See Jer 51:6,45,50, 2Co 6:14-18, Rev 18:4-5.

In addition to how lightly the priests and elders took Judas’ confession about betraying Jesus in regard to the condemnation that led him to despair, consider it also in regard to Christ, as if it was no concern of theirs that an innocent man would suffer and die, so long as they weren’t going to be held responsible; how is that like so many today who make light of Christ’s sufferings for their salvation, as if they share no responsibility for His death in spite of their sins?  “What is that to us?  See to it yourself!”, we hear so many say to whom we bear witness.  But do they realize that in rejecting Christ as if His death is nothing to them, they add to their sins one immeasurably greater by spurning the great love of God that offered up the life of His Son for their salvation?

Rather than capturing the corrupt religious leaders in his snare by putting Jesus in a position where He would be forced to manifest His power and establish the sort of kingdom he was expecting, we have seen that Judas’ eyes were opened to understand that he had been caught in a snare of their own, so that he despaired of any hope of trying to undo his deed.  What does Matthew record that he did then?  See Mat 27:5, and consider how his sin prevented his eyes from seeing the true kingdom of heaven that he was inadvertently helping to establish, a kingdom not bound by death.  Although he could see no way out of the impossible situation he found himself by trying to rectify it through men—even God’s supposed men—was it in fact as impossible as it seemed, if only he had not despaired, and had had the faith to look to God in complete brokenness and trust Him to somehow undo the situation for him as He did for Peter in spite of his denials?[1]  Is there any sin, short of a hardened heart that blasphemously ascribes to the devil the plain work of God, that cannot be forgiven?  See Mat 12:31-32.  Is there any sinner, short of those who deprive God the opportunity to prove Himself willing and able by taking their own life in despair, who cannot be redeemed?  See 1Ti 1:12-16.  What do these things teach us about why we must never despair, no matter how dire the predicament our sins may have put us, or how impossible it may seem to us to undo them?  Cf. Luk 18:27.

[1] “Some have said that Judas sinned more in despairing of the mercy of God, than in betraying his Master’s blood.  Matthew Henry

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