John 13:11

For he knew who would betray him; that was why he said, “not all of your clean.”-John 13:11

I have always struggled to make sense of Judas, the betrayer. He was angry and greedy, so he made a deal with the religious leaders to betray Jesus for 30 pieces of silver.  I often wonder, was Judas beyond redemption?  My struggle lies with the fact that I too have betrayed Jesus in my words, thoughts, and actions.  One example that stands out clearly in my mind is when a co-worker asked me if I had been reading anything and I said no because I was embarrassed. Ironically, I was reading a book titled, Jesus the Evangelist. Even Peter, “the rock,” would betray Jesus just a few hours later.  So why did Jesus say “not all of your clean”?  Perhaps Judas did not understand the meaning behind Jesus is life and impending death.  Maybe he did not understand Jesus’s reason for coming or that his cleansing was essential to eternal life.

Matthew’s gospel tells us that Judas “changed his mind, brought the silver back to the chief priests and elders and said ‘I have betrayed innocent blood’” (Mt. 27:4).  I have often wondered if Judas was repentant, or at least hoped he was. I do not think that we will ever know from the text.  God knows.  Regardless, I do not believe that Judas was beyond redemption.

How about you?  Do you understand what Jesus has done for you?  How many times have you betrayed him by how you have treated others?  Have you ever failed to lovingly represent him?  How often has greed or self-centeredness driven your life?  Regardless, you are not beyond redemption.  His offer of complete forgiveness still stands.

Jesus, help me to know that I am never beyond your salvation and that no sin is so great that I cannot be cleansed.  Teach me to rely daily upon your purifying grace and remind me that I cannot do it on my own.  Amen.

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