Read from the Bible.
Matthew 27:1 – 5
Listen to music.
We invite you to utilise this song as part of your time with God in reflection. You may like to close your eyes and listen to the words or read the words of the song as its playing, or you may have another meaningful song that reminds you of this part of The Way of the Cross.
It’s at this point of The Way of the Cross that I have to confess my skewed bias. I really love stories. But I love quite specific stories – stories with narratives where heroes are made, wrongs are righted and in the end things turn out for good. It’s at this point in The Way of the Cross, I am overwhelmed by a deep desire to rewrite this part. I want desperately to rescue Jesus from the pain and suffering that’s unfolding. Surely Jesus this is another way – not this! But also, I want with every fibre in my flesh to grab hold of Judas and plead with him to not do anything rash in the midst of his guilty remorse and desperation. Having experienced the unbelievable wounding of a close friend’s suicide many years ago, I am well aware of what people in desperate places consider doing. But Judas, did you know that you too can receive mercy and forgiveness for yours sins? Right in this moment as you look in the eyes of the one whom you’ve betrayed: the one sentenced to be crucified. This Jesus is making the way and atoning Himself for your sins too, Judas. Judas, Judas – please, please know this truth and turn back to God.
Of course, The Way of the Cross is not my story to write or rewrite – it’s actually the way of God – a way that may seem hard for me to reconcile and stay in because it confronts me with the suffering of someone I love so dearly. It also illustrates human frailty, free-will and choice. I weep for Judas, and weep for a life lost because they feel there is no other way to make things right.
A practical engagement idea Maybe you know someone who’s made wrong choices in their life, choices that have had significant consequences as a result. Or someone who’s struggling in darkness or mental anguish. Take time to bring these people into the presence of God, asking, pleading, that they are shown a path of light – that light comes into the darkness and shows a way through – a new hope.
Maybe you have made choices that led to deep inner remorse. There is nothing we do that is hidden from God – but this is not a reason to think that we can’t be honest with God and come clean with what we have done. Our soul’s wellbeing requires confession and repentance. We all need to confess our wrong doings or sins. Confession to God and a trusted person, who will hold us accountable for making amends and moving forward, is very powerful. Repentance means changing direction in life because we are aware of our need for God to change us from the inside out. Create in me a pure heart, O God.
We are all like Judas. It’s confronting for us to realise that we, too, have betrayed Jesus and it’s our sins that sent an innocent man to die. In some ways we are not so different to Judas. We want to give back the money, or try to undo what we have done, because we are remorseful.
Now might be a time for you to step into the shoes of Judas and consider how he felt, what it is like to be remorseful for your own actions. Seek to allow the Holy Spirit to give you a deep understanding of how guilt and remorse affects your soul and can cause us to believe we can’t come to God because we have sinned.
There is an enemy that loves to utilise any wrong doings, and relentlessly tries to convince us that we can’t go to God because God will reject us.
So after a time of experiencing remorse, it’s crucial you know the truth of God’s love for you – God is always present to you, and as we turn and come to God confessing our wrongs, He is faithful and just, and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. Don’t hide away in your remorse – don’t stay away from God – come just as you are and experience the love of God that washes us clean.
Title: The Regret
Artist: Ben Goh
Description: Inspired by the verse Mattew 27: 3 ‘When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders.’
Connect with artist: www.b3ngoh.com