I have read this passage mulitiple times, but never really wearing a clinical hat. For there is an error here, and it is not to do with Judas.
1When morning came, all the chief priests and the elders of the people conferred together against Jesus in order to bring about his death. 2They bound him, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate the governor.
3When Judas, his betrayer, saw that Jesus was condemned, he repented and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders. 4He said, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” But they said, “What is that to us? See to it yourself.” 5Throwing down the pieces of silver in the temple, he departed; and he went and hanged himself. 6But the chief priests, taking the pieces of silver, said, “It is not lawful to put them into the treasury, since they are blood money.” 7After conferring together, they used them to buy the potter’s field as a place to bury foreigners. 8For this reason that field has been called the Field of Blood to this day. 9Then was fulfilled what had been spoken through the prophet Jeremiah, “And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of the one on whom a price had been set, on whom some of the people of Israel had set a price, 10and they gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord commanded me.”
I’m reading this in the afternoon. Unlike most days, I am not doing by lectionary blog in the morining: I have instead done by clinical day and some research. And this morning I interviewed a person who wanted to kill himself. He was facing consequences of his actions. And as a consequence, he attempted to kill himself. This is about the second or third most common reason people see me: this is common .
I talked to him: he is shamed (common) guilty about actions (common) and uncertain of a way forward (common). I offered him shelter for a few hours to days, discussed the need for counsel and some practical things he could do… and did not abandon him. Or damn him.
The Pharisees damned and then abandoned Judas, who was their tool. He threw the money at them then hung himself. So the council busied thmeselves with a pious conversation about the correct disposition of blood money.
Now the ultracalvinist will say that the hand of God let judas fall into perdition and prevented that gentle word that would have stopped him from slowly strangling on a piece of rope.
I’m not sure if I can be that harsh. Judas betrayed Christ, which was evil — and died by his own hand. Peter denied Christ — which was cowardly, and all the other disciples abandoned him. But they were restored.
I keep on wondering if a gentle word could have turned his spirit. Judas had repented of his deed. This is the time for gentleness and support of that person — not damning him while ignoring our own sins and frailty.
Which, like the Pharisees, we are all to quick to do.