Daily Devotional

Do Not Hang Yourself

by Simon Whitton

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)

There is no doubt that Judas was an 'evil' person.  Satan entered him when he betrayed Jesus, and Jesus even called him 'a devil'.  But these references have caused most of us to put Judas in a similar category as Satan and his demons; a category far removed from the other disciples and ordinary Christians like us.

But don't forget that Jesus also called Peter "Satan".

Jesus turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men."
Matthew 16:23 (NIV)

I don't believe there was much difference between Judas and the other disciples; and in some ways, I relate to Judas more than the others.  There is no doubt that I was an 'evil' person, and I have betrayed Jesus numerous times over the years.  Peter disowned Jesus three times, he betrayed Him, and similar to Judas, Peter wept bitterly with remorse.

Notice how Judas puts many of us to shame in the handling of his own sin.  He recognized his sin and betrayal, and he was seized with remorse.  He then returned the money he had taken, which is evidence of his repentance; and then confessed his sins to the priests.  He even acknowledged the innocence and the blood of Jesus.

Why then did Judas go out and hang himself?   Why is he allotted a place with the wicked?  Because he failed to receive forgiveness; and receiving forgiveness requires faith.

Faith is the only distinction between the wicked and the righteous.  Many are called 'wicked' throughout the Bible, but not merely because of their evil deeds, it is because they lacked faith.  'For all have sinned', but what separates the wicked and the righteous is whether we will receive the forgiveness of sins and be justified.

"Therefore, my brothers,
I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you.
Through him everyone who believes is
justified from everything you could not be justified from by the law of Moses.

Acts 13:38-39 (NIV)

Each of us has sinned, and we have betrayed innocent blood.  The chief priests would put that burden upon you, saying, 'that's your responsibility'.  But the good news of the gospel is that Jesus has taken that responsibility upon Himself.

It doesn't matter how serious your sin is, there's no need to hang yourself.  For Jesus hung in your place on the cross.  He freely offers you forgiveness.  All you have to do is receive it.

You may want to pray this prayer: Lord God, I have sinned against you, and I have no excuses.  Thank you that Jesus your son hung on a cross in my place, so that I can be justified before you.  I receive forgiveness for my sins, and I ask that you would grant me peace.

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