We are all like Judas but do not need to share his fate (Acts 1:15-10)

Acts 1:15-20

The philosopher Alasdair McIntyre once said that for something to make sense it needs to be put into the context of a story. So many of our disagreements today stem from arguments over what the real story is. The Bible offers us a story that can be counted on, one that makes sense of the world we live in. This story can be trusted because it comes from God.

Take for example the tragedy of Judas. Many feel pity for Judas. Judas saw the error of his ways but was so overwhelmed with his guilt that he killed himself.

Peter made sense of Judas’ tragic end by putting his death in the context of God’s grander story in the Bible (Acts 1:15-20). Peter quotes from two Psalms, Psalm 69 and Psalm 109. Neither of these Psalms mention Judas by name. These Psalms were about David praying for vindication from his enemies. However, the Holy Spirit, who breathed out those words to David, had in mind implications that went beyond David’s situation. These Scriptures offer us a principle, of which Judas serves as the epitome. There will always be those who rebel and rage against the righteous rule of God. Judas’ demise serves as a rare glimpse of the destiny of those who rebel and rage against God’s righteous rule.

We, like Judas, all rebel against God’s righteous rule. We do not honor God and fail to take his holy laws and commandments seriously. We think we know better and take matters into our own hands, just like Judas. “With the payment he received for his wickedness, Judas bought a field; there he fell headlong, his body burst open and all his intestines spilled out (Act 1:18).”

If left to our own devices, we like Judas would continue in our rebellion. Then in an instant we would realize our crushing guilt and, in essence, share in Judas’ demise.

Jesus came so that our sin would not crush us. He offered his life as payment for our sin to take off our shoulders our unendurable guilt and to put on us his righteousness. He died, so that we do not need to die to our sin, as Judas did. We receive the benefits of Christ’s death by repenting of our sin and turning to God. Judas may not have needed to die as he did. Peter, for instance, no less denied Christ (Matthew 26:75). However, realizing his own sin, he repented and received Christ’s offer of reconciliation. Jesus offers this gift to you.   

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