Then Judas, which betrayed him, answered and said, Master, is it I? He said unto him, Thou hast said.
If only Judas had understood the heart of Jesus. If only Judas realized the love and mercy that was waiting for him there. If only he had realized at this one moment that he was looking into the face of the Son of God, the whole course of his life would have been different. The betrayal was part of God’s plan, and so the betrayer must do his deed. But if some inkling of truth had seeped into Judas’ stone-cold heart, he wouldn’t have had to end his life as he did. Yes, it would have been hard to live with such a thing, but God’s grace is unending, and He is in the business of restoring shattered and broken people. He is in the business of forgiving sin, no matter how severe or repulsive the transgression. That is the true heart of grace—that Jesus Himself would have forgiven Judas for what he had done. His course was not set in stone. He could have repented.
Maybe at times we feel like we have betrayed our Lord. What sin have we given in to? What act of defiance have we committed? And yet that same grace that first saved us is still willing to forgive. That same heart of love that first united us with Christ longs to draw us close again. That sea of mercy flowing from His throne can still sweep us up and make us whole again. There are no lost causes, only choices we make whether to turn to God or sever ourselves from Him completely. It may be that we have started out with the heart of a betrayer, but we don’t have to end up like Judas did.
What was the true heart of Judas as he followed Jesus all those years? Was he surprised that he could betray Him like he did? How could he have been so close to Jesus and still end up doing what he did? Maybe we are living a superficial Christian life like Judas seemed to, appearing to be a follower of Christ but not really committing to Him with our whole heart. Judas was with Jesus and His people but not really one of them. He went where Jesus went but ultimately had no part with Him.
Let’s examine ourselves very closely to see if we have the heart of a betrayer within us. Any who refuse to repent and accept Jesus as Savior will be lost like Judas for all eternity. But even as believers, our hearts can sometimes stray from our Lord. Sometimes the flesh wins out and we do something we shouldn’t have that hurts Him and His cause. And when He points that out to us, may we not allow it to push us farther from Him, but instead return to fellowship with Him.