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Daily Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

"The Same Sad Story"

August 27, 2007

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And throwing down the pieces of silver into the temple, he departed, and he went and hanged himself. Matthew 27:5

Judas understood a lot of things, but Judas never understood the most important thing.

For example, the Bible says Judas understood he had sinned and done wrong by betraying Jesus. We are told Judas understood that although Jesus had never committed a crime, He was going to be condemned and crucified. (Matthew 27:3) Understanding all these things, Judas was seized with remorse for the part he had played in the death of the Savior.

Both Judas’ understanding and his change of heart could have been good things for the betraying disciple. Unfortunately, Judas never understood the most necessary truth. Unlike Peter who was forgiven for his three-time denial of his master, Judas never realized that Jesus would or could forgive all the things he had done wrong.

One of the saddest verses of Scripture tells how Judas, having returned the blood-money to the temple, went out and hanged himself.

Judas is not the last person to be overcome by despair. Only last week, a story came out of China telling of how the co-owner of Lee Der Industrial Company had hanged himself. The man had bought some paint from one of his most trusted friends and had used that paint to decorate children’s toys. When Mattel toy company found the paint on those toys contained hazardous amounts of lead, they recalled the dangerous playthings.

In a few days, the industrialist was told almost one million of his toys had been condemned, and the government was going to investigate him and his company. Believing there was no hope, no tomorrows for him, the man took his life. Like Judas, the man never understood Jesus could forgive him and give him a new life.

We dare not fall into a similar trap. Please, let me explain. Every once in a while the devil manages to convince Christ’s people that they have done something so big, so wrong, so terrible that Jesus cannot forgive them. While Satan may not convince those people that they ought to commit suicide, he often does manage to rob them of the total forgiveness and peace which Jesus, their Redeemer, wishes to bestow upon them. If that is the way you feel, please read, and think about this simple passage:

”…the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” (1 John 1:7) Do you understand? Jesus lived, died, and rose so all sin, every sin, your special sin, might be forgiven.

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, for my sins, I am sorry, and for Your forgiveness, I rejoice. Keep the devil’s depression and discouragement away from the full and forgiven life Your sacrifice assures. In Your Name, Amen.

In Christ I remain His servant and yours,

Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries

Today's Bible Readings: 2 Chronicles 4-6    2 Corinthians 1

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