An unmistakable evil, one that rocked the world to it’s very core. A crime so despicable it could be thought up by only the most envious and crooked mind. And while scholars have suggested that Judas’ motive for betraying Jesus was in part due to his misunderstanding of the Kingdom that Jesus was trying to set up, it makes no excuse for the fact that Judas not only betrayed his Lord, but his friend. This was the One by Whom he had seen miracles, heard the parables, and witnessed compassion in it’s truest sense for those the world had despised. But Judas’ relationship delved deeper than an ordinary disciple. Brought in to Jesus’ inner circle of companions known as the Twelve, Judas was privy to personal teachings of Jesus at all hours of the day and night, words which the outside world would not always be present to hear. Yet with this closeness came distrust, and a conflict of interests pushed Judas to do what the other Apostles were astonished to witness: betrayal.
Did Jesus know about it? From John 6:70, we understand that He did. Yet throughout the Scriptures, we can not see Him treating Judas any differently than the others, even knowing what he would eventually do. And even when that night came, Judas, armed with a Roman cohort (John 18:3), delivered his Friend into the hands of the gentiles by the greeting of a friend (Matthew 26:48-50), a gesture that showed his coldness of heart. Jesus’ response? Humility, solemnity, and sorrow for the one whom he had grown so close to. This was one of his own, a loved member of His most treasured group, but through his actions He knew they would be friends no longer (John 15:14).
The question then remains: How could Jesus feel sorry for Judas? This was the man that delivered Him to His death! But what Jesus understood is a lesson that we should all understand as well – hate the sin, love the sinner. Sin is of the devil, but the sinner has a soul, and one that we should treasure and cherish. To love the sinner is not to excuse what they are doing, but to make every effort to help make their souls right with God (do what’s in their best interest). It’s not unreasonable to say that even in the face of His accusers, Jesus desperately wished that Judas would repent of what he had done, and turn to Life (2 Peter 3:9). We must remember this in our own lives; to not be so consumed with hatred of our sin that we take the person down with it. They are human, but most importantly they are a lost soul, and we must have compassion on them to help restore them to a right relationship with God.
I recently read a message board for an entertainer that had died among several controversies of his personal life. Along these lines were the people that expressed sorrow, but also several who condemned him in BOLD CAPS for the things he had allegedly done. This anger and supposed hatred towards the individual seemed to insinuate that these people were actually happy that this person was gone. While this may be the knee-jerk reaction for many, we have to ask ourselves, are we happy a soul is lost for eternity? How did Jesus look at Judas? A lost soul that needed help, and His compassion for such a man is something that we should emulate in our own lives. Look to those that are out there, no matter how heinous or evil it may be, and see the soul on the inside that is screaming for help.