In my previous post, I compared Judas to Peter looking at their big failures. I now continue by considering how Jesus responded to Peter.
Jesus’ harshest criticisms were directed at the religious leaders of his time. For this reason they often get a bad rap. However, a while ago I realized that, if we are to be consistent, we must say that Jesus loved the pharisees and religious leaders just as much as anyone else. Similarly, I think it would be inconsistent to hold that Jesus merely tolerated Judas, thinking “Well I’ve got to put up with this one punk so that scripture can be fulfilled—someone has to betray me after all.” No, I think that Jesus must have loved Judas as much as he did the other disciples. He must have honestly hoped that Judas would choose a better path…
At this point in the story, everything seems ruined for both Peter and Judas. Jesus of course was killed and then later rose from the dead and met with his disciples. At one of these meetings, he specifically takes Peter aside. Instead of reprimanding him, he commissions him. Despite his epic failure, Jesus restored Peter. Certainly this story should have kept him humble throughout the rest of his life.
What about Judas? Of course by now he had killed himself. But what if he hadn’t? Is it reasonable to think that Jesus could forgive Peter but too outrageous to think that he could forgive Judas? Might have Jesus restored Judas position as one of the twelve? How would you feel if you discovered Judas in heaven? If you find this suggestion upsetting, why is that so?
In my next post, I will examine a reason why I suspect some people will find these suggestions about Judas challenging if not outright offensive.
photo credit: El Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família. via photopin (license)