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Judas Wept

After saying this, Jesus was troubled in spirit and declared, ‘Very truly, I tell you, one of you will betray me.’ ... So when he had dipped the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas son of Simon Iscariot.* After he received the piece of bread,* Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, ‘Do quickly what you are going to do.’ John 13. 21 - 32

Judas's unspeakable act of betrayal launches the unraveling of this Holy Week. We focus on Jesus now going forward and what we know and he knows must happen. But what of Judas? Judas knew almost immediately he had done wrong and he probably wept. He tried to give back the blood money. and when the authorities wouldn't take him, he went out and killed himself. The great preacher John Claypool said the real tragedy was that Judas didn't stay around long enough to see what God could do to fix his terrible crime. Another old legend that has been told finishes John Claypool's thoughts.

There is an old legend that after his death Judas found himself at the bottom of a deep and slimy pit. For thousands of years he wept his repentance, and when the tears were finally spent he looked up and saw, way, way up, a tiny glimmer of light. After he had contemplated it for another thousand years or so, he began to try to climb up towards it. The walls of the pit were dank and slimy, and he kept slipping back down. Finally, after great effort, he neared the top, and then he slipped and fell all the way back down. It took him many years to recover, all the time weeping bitter tears of grief and repentance, and then he started to climb up again. After many more falls and efforts and failures he reached the top and dragged himself into an upper room with twelve people seated around a table.  “We’ve been waiting for you, Judas,” Jesus said. “We couldn’t begin till you came.”

As St. Paul says in his letter to the Philippians,

"I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work in you will continue to complete it until the day of Jesus Christ."

Yes, St. Julian, all will be well, all manner of things will be well!


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