The other side of Judas

Mention the name Judas and people all around the world are likely to think of one word: betrayal. What an awful legacy for an individual to have left—to be remembered for nearly two thousand years by hundreds of millions of people as a betrayer! The name Judas seems universally to call forth condemnation.

But there's another side to the story, and it's one that shouldn't be lost sight of. This side calls for our compassion.

Relatively few people caught enough of a glimpse of Jesus' mission while he was here to commit themselves to close discipleship. Yet Judas was one of those few. He did make a beginning effort. But the most significant aspect of this other side of the story has to do with what happened after the betrayal. My feeling of compassion for Judas took quite a leap forward one day as I pondered Matthew's account of the dramatic change that began to come over Judas when he saw what was happening to Jesus. Judas, according to the Gospel of Matthew, "repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood."

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December 7, 1992

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