Perhaps you've never thought of it this way, but there is great comfort in
the way our Lord treated Judas, His betrayer, on the night of the Last
It's a comfort to know that Christ had the power to escape the
Cross - twelve legions of angels, if you recall - but chose instead to be the
Lamb of God. By exposing the betrayer Christ might have effectively
prevented the Crucifixion, and triumphed over a secret enemy as well. But
It is also a comfort that Christ knew His betrayer - and did not
openly condemn him. When you ask why, the only answer that comes to mind
is that Christ knew His purpose: to seek and save the lost. Perhaps
He yet hoped for repentance from the man.
It is a further comfort that, in the most trying and tense period
of His life, Christ consistently acted with mercy, even to Judas. He had
no thought of vengeance.
Each of the disciples looked inside himself and was obliged to ask,
"Surely not I, Lord?" All of them knew themselves to be
sinners, capable of such an act. Remember that Peter, the leader of the
disciples, would betray Him three times. So Christ's forbearance with
Judas shows us that even the vilest of sinners has hope in the Cross.
We may look also at what Christ did do about Judas:
He began by identifying Judas - to Judas. Make no mistake,
God knows your sin - no one better. He did this so that Judas would know
that such sin could not be hidden.
Beyond that, Jesus warns Judas of the consequences of his actions
- better if that man had never been born.
But He does not expose and publicly humiliate the man. God
is strong in His mercy; He is asking the man to repent, even if it happens
privately. Some of us are more afraid of public speaking than going to
Christ's open hand was refused; He went to the Cross, and Judas to a
suicide's grave. But even in this we may see an example in Christ:
Christ offers mercy even when there is no hope that it will be
accepted. Mercy does not depend upon the worthiness of the recipient but
on the love of the giver. By example, then, we should offer mercy and
forgiveness even to those we think will never accept it.
When that mercy is spurned, we should imitate our Lord.
Jesus did not rage at this ingrate; even at the moment of betrayal He calls
Judas, "friend." Christ is our model of patiently enduring
suffering and evil. This is a virtue open to any Christian.
When suffering rises and evil is close at hand, remember your Lord - who
went to the Cross without complaint or vengeance. Even when He is silent,
His actions still speak.