Matthew 27:4-5 “I have sinned,” he said, “for I have betrayed innocent blood.”
“What is that to us?” they replied. “That’s your responsibility.”
So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself.
Judas essentially did as the chief priests and elders told him to do. They had no more concern for his life than they did for Jesus’ life. The Japanese says they told him, “You take care of it.” The problem is, we can’t really atone for our own sin. By his own confession Judas had sold an innocent man’s life, so he gave his own in exchange, but it doesn’t work that way. If he had committed his life to live sacrificially as Jesus would have wanted, that would have been far better. That is what Peter did, after his betrayal of Jesus, and Jesus met with him personally after His resurrection. This all comes back to the two ways to give your life. Jesus had told his disciples that those who follow Him do give their lives, (Matthew 16:25) and He told James and John they would both give their lives as He was going to do, (Matthew 20:23) but James was the first of the apostles to be martyred, while John was the only one of the 12 to die a natural death. There are many ways to give your life for Christ, but suicide is not one of them. Living in Nagasaki Prefecture I am very familiar with the story of Fr. Maximillian Kolbe, since he ministered here for several years. He ended up in Auschwitz, and volunteered to be executed instead of another prisoner who had a wife and children. That was indeed giving his life, but it wasn’t suicide. We are to hold everything, even our physical lives, loosely, recognizing that they belong to God and not to us, so that they may accomplish His will.
I am as challenged by this as anyone. If faced with Fr. Kolbe’s choice I hope I would do as He did, but meanwhile, I am to give my life one moment at a time. Sometimes I think martyrdom would be easier! Like Judas, I am faced at times with the temptation to deal with situations in my own strength and wisdom, taking human advice that can turn out to be demonic. I’ve got to remember that only God knows what’s really going on, and only Jesus’ blood can atone for sin, either mine or any one else’s. I must remember that everything belongs to God, including every minute of my life, and so seek to use it as He desires and intends, for His glory.
Father, thank You for this reminder. I am all too prone to get possessive of “my” time. Help me indeed let go of my life, to live every moment in Your perfect plan, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!