I can see all eleventy-thousand Marys from the Gospels as old ladies sitting in rocking chairs, knitting and talking about what a bad egg Judas was. “Oh, that Judas, I knew he was bad from the start. Shifty and sly, he was.”
It’s easy to do. He sold Jesus out, after all, for thirty pieces of silver, leading to Jesus’s brutal death on the cross.
But, someone had to betray Jesus. Literally had to, or the prophecy wouldn’t be fulfilled.
Even disregarding that though, everyone beats up on Judas. But Peter betrayed Jesus too, you know. Denied Him three times. Shoot, Jesus even called Peter “Satan” one time. But good ol’ Pete’s the good guy. Judas is the villain here.
Case in point: How many people do you know named Judas? How many do you know named Peter?
We all want to be like Peter. That’s a compliment, actually, to be compared to Peter. But call someone Judas? Ohh, dang. Church cat fight galore.
I think it’s because of what they did afterward. Judas committed suicide. He gave up, hanged himself.
Peter, on the other hand, was remorseful. He wept bitterly. But he returned to the other disciples anyway. He knew he’d screwed up, badly. Jesus had said that if someone denied Him on earth, He would deny that person to His Father in heaven.
But still, Peter repented. He returned to the believers. That’s important.
I think if it had been switched–if they did the same thing but Peter hanged himself and Judas returned–we would probably think Judas was a pretty good guy. Another Jesus-died-for-the-bad-people-too, story.
Because He did. Jesus died for us all. Not just the people who stood firm to the end, like John. He died for, as Casting Crowns puts it, “sinners just like me, a grateful leper at Your feet.” That’s why Peter is the good guy. Not because he did anything good. He’s the good guy because he came back, and Jesus welcomed him, just like He welcomes us all.
Jesus would have welcomed Judas back too. Jesus would have welcomed anyone in that mob who shouted for His crucifixion, too, if they’d asked Him to be their savior. Jesus would have welcomed that guy who stabbed His body in the side with spear, the guys who divvied up His clothes, and the guys who cursed at Him and spit on Him.
Jesus died for all. Every sin is covered.
Even the betrayal and abandonment from His best friends.
That’s the King I serve.
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