Author: Eugene Chu, Pastor, Coffee Talk at Chinese Church in Christ, Milpitas
3 When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty silver coins to the chief priests and the elders. 4 “I have sinned,” he said, “for I have betrayed innocent blood.” “What is that to us?” they replied. “That’s your responsibility.” 5 So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself. (Matthew 27:3-5, NIV)
I can relate to Judas. As a parent, I am seized with remorse all the time. Just recently, I asked our daughter (age 9) one Sunday afternoon if she had finished her homework assignments and projects. I asked her to check her notebook to make sure that everything was finished. She confidently said, “It’s all done, Daddy.” I was happy to hear her words, knowing that we could then have a relaxing Sunday evening before the beginning of the school week. At about 9 pm, her bedtime, my girl comes into our home office where my wife and I are peacefully surfing the net. She said, “Daddy, I didn’t finish half of my project, and it’s due tomorrow.” You know the feeling when your blood slowly begins to boil and you start to feel tension rising? Well, that didn’t happen that evening. Instead, I just exploded. I shouted at her, repeating the obvious. “You just told me this afternoon that you had finished everything! You just told me!” Tears welled up in her eyes. Her little brother and sidekick (age 4) was standing next to her, looking terrified and confused. They both ran from the room. I was angry, but simultaneously regretful of what I had done - yelled at the very ones I love. Why is it so easy to lose my temper around my kids? Why is it easier to be angry with them than to love them? About ten minutes later, I went over to them and apologized. “I’m sorry I lost my temper.” With that, their faces turned from tears and fear to a sigh of relief. “That’s okay, Daddy.”
When I read about Judas, I am saddened that he hanged himself. Was Judas sorry for what he had done? Did he regret betraying the Lord Jesus Christ, the teacher he had spent the last three years of his life with? Of course he did. But his remorse did not include repentance. He felt sorry but he did not make it right. His actions were the fulfillment of prophesy, but our lives — your life and mine — can have a different outcome. In Christ, there is enough grace and mercy to go around. To repent AND to make things right in life can result in something better, like instant forgiveness from a sweet nine year old girl.
The ISAAC 2009 Lenten Devotional, edited by Rev. Dr. Johnson Chiu. This devotional was written by Asian American English ministry leaders and pastors in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. To purchase, click here: Road of Suffering, Road to Glory: A Lenten Adventure with the Savior