I have given a lot of thought over the years to Judas. Maybe because I am the daughter of a man who was also my pastor, who committed suicide. By doing so, my dad betrayed so many…yet mostly God. To me Judas is not just the person who betrayed Jesus with a kiss. Out of the necessity of trying to figure my own life I have always sought to know him as more. Recently one morning I felt the Holy Spirit speaking to me and showing me something new and really unexpected about this from these verses.
“Then when Judas, who had betrayed Him, saw that He had been condemned, he felt remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, 4 saying, ‘I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.’ But they said, ‘What is that to us? See to that yourself!’ 5 And he threw the pieces of silver into the temple sanctuary and departed; and he went away and hanged himself.” Matthew 27:3-5
Oddly enough, I had never considered that Judas felt such deep sorrow that he made an attempt to repent. The only problem was he repented to the wrong people, the religious crowd. I began to consider what would have happened if Judas instead of going out and killing himself had went to Jesus as He was dying on the cross and pursued forgiveness from Him. What would Jesus do? Would He have forgiven Him? Will God forgive anything and everything? These were all questions that were swirling in my mind. I do believe Jesus would have forgiven Judas if He was given the opportunity, but Judas could not forgive himself so he took matters into his own hands and killed himself.
I knew the Lord wanted to show me more; in a sense I felt Judas had something else to say to me. So I continued to pray over this and I also talked to friends about their perspective on Judas and within days someone walked up to me and handed me a book titled, The Gospel According To Judas by Ray S. Anderson. I did not even get past this first sentence in the prologue when I read what was to be only the first of what Judas was telling me.
“I saw it in the men’s restroom in a restaurant in San Francisco, printed in block letters with a blue felt tip pen across the top of the mirror:
JUDAS COME HOME – ALL IS FORGIVEN!”
When I read that phrase it was like someone stuck a red-hot sword into my heart. All the memories- but not of anything to do with my dad…these were memories from my own Judas moments that came into my mind. I remembered the feelings of having betrayed my God…the rejection, loneliness and the feeling of not having a place I could call home. I also began to think about all the many people I knew and know who have also betrayed or lost face in the church or suffered rejection or shame and eventually left.
Then I heard a whisper from heaven saying tell them…tell the Judas out there, “Come home all is forgiven, I love you.” That little phrase really broadened my revelation of the Father’s heart and love toward all of us. It makes me want to go to everyone I know that has run way for any reason, even as I did, and tell them “Come home, all is forgiven, the Father loves you.” This is what Judas was trying to tell me – how big the Father’s heart really is.
In the epilogue of the book Ray gives us a wonderful picture of the love and grace of the Lord.
“My choosing of you counts more than your betrayal of Me!” Through His grace I discovered that the calling of God by which we become children of the kingdom does not rest upon our faith alone, but upon His faithfulness toward us.”
Judas please come home, I know how you feel, but all is forgiven and the FATHER LOVES YOU!!!