Early in the morning, all the chief priests and the elders of the people came to the decision to put Jesus to death. They bound him, led him away and handed him over to Pilate, the governor. When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver. Matthew 27:1-3 (NIV)
Some people would say Judas’ betrayal of Jesus was the greatest sin ever committed. How could anything be worse than that? Well, there is something worse than that. After he betrayed Jesus, Judas gave up hope, and that was his greatest plunge to disaster.
After he betrayed Jesus, Judas made this remarkable confession: “I have sinned,” he said, “for I have betrayed innocent blood” (27:4). You can’t get a more direct confession than that. There are no excuses. This is a full confession. He was saying, in effect, “I’m guilty.”
Notice Judas says that he has “betrayed innocent blood.” He believes Jesus is innocent, and he wants to save Him. Judas hopes that if he returns the money, and testifies to Jesus’ innocence, maybe he can put things right.
But the chief priests aren’t interested. “What is that to us?” they replied, “That’s your responsibility” (27:4). “Too late, Judas,” they say. “The deed is done. You made your choice, now you have to live with it. There’s nothing you can do about it now.”
Despair descends on this desperate man. Judas knows he has committed a terrible crime, and he cannot live with himself any longer, so “Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself” (27:5). This is Judas’ greatest plunge to disaster. Not that he betrayed Jesus, not even that he took his own life, but that in his darkness he gave up hope.
Are you in a desperate place? Do you feel like giving up? Read tomorrow’s devotion. You will find real help.