Choosing the right must be not just an external action it must also be an inward process for each and every one of us. We learn this from the bible story of when Judas betrays Jesus. Our inner compass directs our actions and sometimes those consequences can not be undone.
Judas was one of Jesus’s 12 apostles, who was infamously known for his betrayal of Jesus which lead to his death. Peter another apostle of the 12 betrays Jesus on the same night. Yet how they were affected by this betrayal gave two very different directions in their paths of life.
The Story Of Judas
The bible does not say a lot about the history and the discipleship of Judas, it speaks more to his demise. We see a story told of a disciple that has the love of money in his heart.
At the washing and anointing of Jesus’s feet performed by Mary Magdeline, Judas was angered by the use of the oil. His opinion was that it should be sold for money and given to the poor.
Yet the gospel of John adds to that story:
“‘Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.’ He did not say this because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.” John 12:4-6.
Judas looked after the finances of the 12 Apostles, although he was skimming some of the donations for his own keeping. Then we come to the last supper. Where Jesus tells that he will be betrayed three times.
It was at this point that the chief priests had been worried for some time that Jesus may take the power of the people in Israel and rule with the Romans. As Passover comes the chief priests become so threatened by their possible loss of power to Jesus Christ that they plan to kill him.
Judas Betrays Jesus
“Now the Festival of Unleavened Bread, called the Passover, was approaching, and the chief priests and the teachers of the law were looking for some way to get rid of Jesus, for they were afraid of the people. Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve. And Judas went to the chief priests and the officers of the temple guard and discussed with them how he might betray Jesus. They were delighted and agreed to give him money. He consented, and watched for an opportunity to hand Jesus over to them when no crowd was present.” Luke 22
Judas waited for the opportunity to betray Jesus to arise. It was with a single kiss and word addressing him as Rabbi that betrayed him.
After seeing the condemning of Christ, Judas realizes his wrongdoings and tries to change the outcome of the situation by giving the money back to the priests.
It is at this point that we must understand that “We are free to choose, but we are not free to alter the consequences of those choices.”- Ezra Benson
Facing unbearable guilt and remorse Judas hangs himself after throwing the very coins that he was paid for betraying Jesus, back into the temple.
So we see a story here of a man’s love of money resulting in two deaths. One murder and one suicide. Would Judas have done this act if he had worked on his inner temptations and continually chose the right? I guess not.
I found this one sentence very thought-provoking: “Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve.” Luke 22:3
Did Satan literally enter Judas or is it a representation of the state of Judas’s heart? This one we cannot be sure but either way, if Judas did not have the love of money and greed for such a long time Satan would not have been able to oppress him and turn his heart.
It is so important that we identify our weaknesses and continually work on them so that they do not lead us astray.
This brings us to the story of Peter.
Peter Denies Jesus
Just as Christ said during the last supper Peter will deny me three times. Peter said that he would never deny Jesus. Then came capture of Jesus that lead to his crucifixion. Peter denies Jesus three times when accused of being one of Jesus’s men. Peter wept for his wrongdoings and made amends.
After the resurrection of Jesus, Peter became one of Jesus’s greatest missionaries. He devoted his life to Christ and saving his people. Luke 22:54-62
Peter had a home church, ministery and traveled serving God.
So what can we take away from this?
Forgiveness & Redemption
Just as we take the sacrament every week for our sins we should not just be saying sorry for our sins, we should be making a conceded effort to show our new ways.
“People are affected by what we do if they just see or hear about our actions. We serve as an example to others in what we do.” (Psychology today)”
This could very well mean treating others with more love, patience and compassion and choosing soft words instead of spiteful words and harsh actions.
These new choices will allow us to build a new heart, an improved internal compass and will help you grow spiritually and emotionally.
We must also forgive ourselves so that we can move on. Jesus forgave us for all of our sins, we need to forgive ourselves too. I mean we are only human right?
Peter chose life while Judas chose death. Judas chose worldly treasures such as money over the more important spiritual treasures.
Some things cannot be undone
This story teaches us that we have no control over other people’s actions and some acts simply cannot become undone.
We need to learn and continue to make good righteous choices. We can never undo our past deeds but we can make a change today. The world says live for the now, or like you may die tomorrow although that advice is not the advice you would give to someone trying to make the right decision. If it is not something that you want in your future then make the right choice.
“Remorse is a terrible thing to bear, Pam, one of the worst of all punishments in this life. To wish undone something you have done, to wish you could look back on kindness to someone you love, instead of on unkindness – that is a very terrible thing.”
― Enid Blyton,
These choices we are bound to make are growth opportunities. So that we learn lessons and experience a range of emotions from joy to sorrow to shape our eternal character.
This free agency we are given in the school of life determines how well we perform. The goal of our earthly experience is to become more like our Heavenly Father, understanding right from wrong, making the right choices and embodying a more loving, intelligence and compassion being.
If the world says “follow me” but so does God, how do we know who to follow? A good way to make that decision is to know the character of God and the world. Then you can see clearly.
“One day Alice came to a fork in the road and saw a Cheshire cat in a tree. ‘Which road do I take?’ she asked. ‘Where do you want to go?’ was his response. ‘I don’t know,’ Alice answered. ‘Then,’ said the cat, ‘it doesn’t matter.” ― C Lewis
Where do you want to go?
A path of destruction or the path of life?
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