Which Apostle Betrayed Christ?

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Have you ever noticed that when Jesus gives an answer that is evasive, He is directly speaking beyond His time to our own?

I thought of this yesterday listening to the Passion narrative. Jesus tells us that the one who dips into the bowl with Him will be His betrayer. Judas asks directly, "Is it I Lord?" And our Lord's answer is equally direct while being evasive, "It is you who say it."

Who is the person that was better off had he never been born? Who betrayed Christ? We are so used to the narrative that we seldom think of the huge implications of this question. Yes, we all know that Judas betrayed Christ directly. The Gospels are clear on that. What they are equally clear on, but we are less attuned to, is the question of who else may have betrayed Christ. For example, who stayed awake to pray for Him and His deliverance? For that matter how many actually went even so far as the garden? Did not Peter deny Him three times--another betrayal? Who was present at the foot of the Cross? In Mark's gospel none of the apostles were there. In Luke they were at a distance. In John it is the disciple that Jesus loved.

How many other times did these men (representing all others) betray Christ in little and big ways? Perhaps we need to read the statement that Jesus makes to Judas more broadly as being to all the Apostles as representatives of all of humankind. Woe be unto the person who betrays Christ. It is better for that person had he never been born--UNTIL such time as he or she repents of the crime and turns back to Jesus, who will forgive and forgive and forgive. I believe the one unforgivable sin is the belief that there is something so dire that God cannot forgive it, some sin so enormous that Christ's blood cannot cover it--we doubt that the Holy Spirit can move us to repentance. God is not enough. Nonsense--Christ's sacrifice covers all sin. We are given many opportunities to return to Him. But Woe unto the one who does not, it is better for him or her that he or she should never have been born.

Rather than a direct indictment of Judas (which it may also be) we need to read this as said to us here and now under the present circumstances. Woe to the person who betrays Christ without repentance, with hardened heart and countenance. It would be better had they never seen light. But joy unto the person who hears these words and knows himself for one of those betrayers, because his eyes are opened and his opportunity to return to the Father increased immeasurably. The person who thinks that they can sin against God in such a way as to defy forgiveness, need merely look upon the face of the Savior throughout this week and know that His sacrifice covered all forever. Nothing more is needed.

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The moment I saw your title, I thought, all of them. I hadn't thought of extending that to all of us, but you're right.

Interesting... thanks for this thought.



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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on March 22, 2005 10:44 AM.

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