notesbynora

Walking by Faith Alone

Archive for February 4th, 2012

Did Judas go to hell?

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I’ve spent the past few weeks thinking about Judas, one of the chosen twelve disciples, and the betrayer of Jesus. Is there anyone as hated in the Christian faith? The man who sold our Savior for 30 pieces of silver, the price in that day of a slave. The man who turned Him over with a kiss on the cheek.

My interest in Judas came about when one of my Sunday School kids (I teach 3rd graders) declared one morning in the middle of a lesson about Jeremiah, “You know who is burning in Hell?”

Of course all attention left me and on this little boy. “Judas. He is burning in Hell right now,” he mumbled.

I quickly redirected the brains and attention of my class back to the prophet Jeremiah, but the thought intrigued me. Is Judas burning in Hell?

To summarized the story, Judas was chosen by Christ to be one of His disciples. Historically, it is recorded Judas was the only disciple from a region called Negev (present day Judea). On the night of the Last Supper, it is told  in John 13 that Jesus spoke to Judas, “What you are about to do, do quickly.”

For thirty pieces of silver, a very small sum of money, Judas agreed to bring the Roman soldiers to Jesus. He would indicate who Jesus of Nazareth was by simply kissing Him on the cheek.  Judas called out to Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, “Greetings Rabbi!” and Jesus responded, “Friend, do what you came for.”

When Jesus was taken into custody, Judas realized what he had done and repented, “I have sinned,” he said, “For I have betrayed innocent blood.” He threw the money into the temple and then left and hung himself.

Would God welcome such a betrayer into heaven?

In my prayers and research regarding this hated man Judas, I’ve come to realize several important things:

  • An evil man would have bartered for much more money. Jesus was a wanted commodity.
  • An evil man would not have repented
  • An evil man would not have been so desperate as to hang himself, but delight in his victory.

Judas had witnessed first hand the splendor and majesty of our Savior. He had seen Him do incredible feats, miracle after miracle. Is it possible Judas was simply forcing the hand of God? Prompting Him to demonstrate His power? Judas knew the soldiers were no match for Christ. What a victory it would be when Jesus defeated the Roman soldiers and declared Himself King of all kings!  How often do you and I attempt to force God to do that which we desire Him to do?

Those stripes on Jesus’ back? How many are yours? How many are mine? Do we not in some way betray our Savior on a daily basis? Do we not misrepresent Him when we gossip, judge, cheat, lie, and fail to defend Him? How many of us on a daily basis kiss the face of Jesus for 30 pieces of silver?

Could it be that any one of us are Judas at some point in our lives?

We live in a world surrounded by sin. Can we really judge Judas? Do we have a right to hate him?

When I was a little girl my Dad used to put his pocket change in a glass bear money bank which he kept in his sock drawer. As much as I try to remember, I can’t think what it was that I wanted to purchase but I took money from him – probably a dollar in nickels and dimes at the most. I couldn’t sleep because I was consumed with guilt. Finally, I went to my Dad and confessed that I had stolen money from him, and I returned what I had taken.

Later my Dad came and sat on the edge of my bed. He told me he loved me. I thought he would spank me or lecture me. I thought surely I’d be in trouble for days. Instead, he kissed my forehead and never mentioned it again. It was one of the greatest lessons of my life and I never took anything that didn’t belong to me again.

My Dad demonstrated the mercy of God. It is simple really but so many of us do not ‘get it’.

I cannot determine whether Judas is in Heaven or Hell – only God determines such – for He knows our hearts.  And although I would like to blame Judas for all that Jesus suffered on the cross, I know I cannot. For the nails which penetrated His hands and feet; the crown of thorns which gouged my Kings forehead; the words which mocked Him; the spit; the stripes on His back; all are just as much my fault as they are Judas’s.

I am careful where I place Judas. Did he not do the will of the Father? The harsh reality of Judas and his part in the Crucifixion leads me to ponder – realistically, shouldn’t I thank him?