June 18, 2014
Judas ... changed his mind and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders, saying, "I have sinned by betraying innocent blood." They said, "What is that to us? See to it yourself." And throwing down the pieces of silver into the temple, he departed, and he went and hanged himself. Matthew 27:3b-5
Note from Pastor Klaus: Please understand today's devotion deals with a most painful and tragic story, which may not be suitable for all. On the other hand, you may know someone for whom it is most suitable. Please judge carefully before you share or don't share. In Him, Pastor Klaus
The King James Version of Scripture says "Judas repented himself" and tried to return his betrayal money to the priests. Then, having met with a cold reception, he went out and hanged himself.
While it is good that Judas had a turn of heart in regard to his involvement with Jesus' death; it is sad he never recognized that he, like Peter, could have been forgiven. It is always a sad thing when someone doesn't understand the completeness of Jesus' blood-bought forgiveness.
Case in point: 17-year-old Omotayo Adeoye, a student at an exclusive Harlem high school whose teacher caught her cheating, that is, she was using her cell phone during a German language exam. (For those without a smartphone, you should know they can instantly translate languages.)
When the teacher called Adeoye on her dishonesty, the teen apologized. The instructor rejected the apology and snapped back, "Oh, you are not really sorry. That's not a sincere apology!"
Adeoye wrote a note on the bottom of her test and asked to use the washroom. Instead, she left the school, walked to the 165th Street Bridge and, over the objection of onlookers, jumped in.
The note on her paper said she wanted "to go away forever on the bottom of the river."
Now there is a very simple reason why I have shared the story of this young lady. That reason is this: there are many people who, at one time or another, have seriously considered taking their own lives. In recent years we have seen numerous young people pursue such an action because of a personal tragedy or school bullies. Others, like Adeoye, have felt they have done something unforgivable.
All those people have one thing in common: they believed their painful lives could not be changed.
Nothing could be further from the truth. In John 10:10 Jesus said He had come so we might "have life and have it to the full" and 1 John 1:7, it says "the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin." -- not just some sin, not just most sin, not almost every sin. In Jesus there is complete, total, and absolute forgiveness for everything we have done wrong. Our lives can be changed.
But there's more: the Lord Jesus told us we could also cast our cares on Him. He encouraged those who were weary and overburdened to come to Him for rest. From start to finish the Bible teaches us that, with faith in our Savior, our lives, both temporally and eternally, can be changed and blessed.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, I repent of that which I have done wrong. Now may I rejoice in the forgiveness which comes from You and covers all sin. This I ask in my Savior's Name. Amen.
Lutheran Hour Ministries has always stood for bringing Christ to the nations. But we also want to share the Savior with those who are close by. If you would like to know more about how you can be prepared to share the Savior, we are having an outreach conference called SENT in Detroit from July 24 to 27. You can learn more at www.lhm.org/conference.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries