Hopelessness is a caustic condition. Once a person loses hope over their life, circumstances, or a relationship, it is hard to rebound. The troubled marriage where one accuses the other of infidelity when there is none. If the accused is pushed to the point of feeling like they might as well fulfill their spouses’ suspicions if they are going to be accused of it, hopelessness can take over. The boy that is told he is stupid stops trying because he feels hopeless to change their opinion, so “why try?” If one feels destined to complete a task, regardless of it being their choice, it is hard to fight the hopelessness that pervades their thinking that they have to fulfill it. Feeling alone in our fight often only makes the decision to change harder.
Judas finds himself in this thinking. When Passover is approaching, he has already approached the Pharisees about Jesus. They have made promises if Jesus is delivered to them. But nothing has been done. Matthew 26: 17-30 tells the story of Jesus foretelling of His betrayal. Before the bread is broken and the cup blessed, Judas is called out as the one who will betray Him. “Will” is a future tense of the verb “to do”. At this point, it has not been done. Matthew’s version of the Last Supper contains two parts. Judas being foretold as the one who will betray Jesus, and the sacred sharing of a meal that Jesus identifies as being done for the FORGIVENESS OF SINS. Judas has it in his heart to betray, but it is his choice to fulfill it.
We often feel like we are beyond hope. We can feel like all of the situations we have been involved in means that there is no hope in trying to change. Christ reveals both what is in our hearts and the consequences if we act on those impulses. But Christ also addresses that the forgiveness of sins is available to us. Other versions of this story have Judas leave immediately. What would Judas’ life have been if he had heard or taken part in that Last Supper and heard Christ offering forgiveness? Even if he did fulfill the betrayal, perhaps he would also have known that when he came to his senses and realized what he had done, he would have been the better and joined the others in the Upper Room after the crucifixion.
As it is, we, like him, run out of the room and react in anger to being accused rather than submitting to the truth which can change us. The question is whether we determine to “change our stars” before we act, or after. There was not one disciples that day that did anything honorable, but every one of them, except Judas, made the change as a result of the gift offered to them. We are given a pathway to choose at any point on our journey and we are allowed to bring others on it. The forgiveness we receive is available to all, and no matter which disciple we are, it is ours to receive.
Am I holding onto my old identity despite asking Christ to forgive me?
Do I feel hopeless to change and need help with asking Jesus to forgive me?