Acts 1:25 - ... Judas turned aside to go to his own place.
How do you feel about Jesus' betrayer?
It would be interesting to take a survey. I suspect a lot of people would say very angry things. After all, what he did was terrible. He betrayed the innocent Son of God into the hands of His enemies and brought about His death. Surely many people would use words of fire to describe that.
But that's not what Peter did. After it was all over, Peter described Judas with very restrained language. He called him "a guide to those who arrested Jesus" but nothing more. He referred to him as one who "was numbered among us and was allotted his share in this ministry." And when the whole group of Christians prayed together about Judas' replacement a few minutes later, they said only, "Judas turned aside to go to his own place" (Acts 1:16-17, 25).
Why were they so restrained? I think it's for just the reasons Peter highlighted in his word choices. Judas "was numbered among us"—he was one of us, not some unique stranger who did what we could never do. That is the terror of Judas—that he is so much like us, that any of us could have betrayed Jesus the same way. That all of us, in fact, do betray Jesus in our words, acts, and thoughts on a daily basis—whenever we harm our neighbors or simply refuse to care for them, whenever we behave in ways that lead the watching world to turn away from the truth of Jesus' Gospel.
Judas "turned aside to go to his own place." How easily we could do the same! It is only the grace of the Holy Spirit that keeps us with Jesus, repentant, forgiven, thankful for the mercy He has won for us. When we think of Judas, let's do it with fear and trembling—and with intense gratitude to God who has given us a place that isn't ours, a place in His own kingdom.
THE PRAYER: Lord, keep us always with You. Amen.
How do you deal with your anger at people who do evil?
What effect do you think Peter's own denial of Jesus had on his attitude toward Judas?
How does God help you when you are tempted to do evil? If you are willing, give examples or tell a story.
Lenten Devotions were written by Dr. Kari Vo.
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