Two men who told God about their giving

Compare Jesus’ parable of the Pharisee and tax collector in Luke 18 with what is recorded about Zacchaeus (a tax collector) and Jesus in Luke 19. One thing you will see is that the Pharisee in Luke 18 told God about how much he gave, but so did Zacchaeus in Luke 19. But one was justified (saved, received, accepted), and the other was not. What was different about Zacchaeus in the way he talked to Jesus about his own giving?

Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men–extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’ And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
(Luke 18:9-14)

Then Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. Now behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus who was a chief tax collector, and he was rich. And he sought to see who Jesus was, but could not because of the crowd, for he was of short stature. So he ran ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see Him, for He was going to pass that way. And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up and saw him, and said to him, “Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house.” So he made haste and came down, and received Him joyfully. But when they saw it, they all complained, saying, “He has gone to be a guest with a man who is a sinner.” Then Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham; for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”
(Luke 19:1-10)

Here are a few contrasts between the Pharisee and Zacchaeus:

  • Luke 18 says the Pharisee trusted in himself that he was righteous. The Pharisee was a religious man who wanted to look good and justify himself. Luke 19 shows that Zacchaeus had a humble heart that zealously sought out Jesus.
  • The Pharisee talked about his giving because he wanted to sound like an impressive servant of God. Zacchaeus was defending with himself against the accusations of those standing outside his house saying he was a sinner. The heart of Zacchaeus was not one to brag to Jesus, but he was pleading with Jesus saying how much he wanted to be right with God. He wanted to be in a relationship with God, he didn’t try to impress God.
  • Zacchaeus knew he was lost and needed salvation. We see in Zacchaeus that when he saw he had mistreated someone, he made it right. The Pharisee was too blinded to his own lost condition. He only noticed the flaws in others, not in himself.
  • Both men helped the poor, but one did it as a religious duty to check off his list and to show to all how awesome he was. The other gave because he truly had compassion for those in need.

Are we a Zacchaeus?

The Foreigner

On the way to Jerusalem he was passing along between Samaria and Galilee. And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance and lifted up their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.” When he saw them he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went they were cleansed. Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus answered, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” And he said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.”
(Luke 17:11-19)

Why is it that so often in the Scripture it is the “outsider” and the “foreigner” that has the gratitude, humility and faith? Here in this short passage, Jesus recognized the rare gratitude shown by this healed leper. Rare, meaning 9 out of 10 healed lepers did not even stop to glorify God. 90 percent chose not to return and say “Thank you!” to Jesus. But who did? The Samaritan? The disgusting outsider that the Jews disdained.

It was the outsider who…

  • Recognized the power and authority of Jesus (Matthew 8, the Roman Centurion).
  • Was willing to be the “dog” and eat any crumb that came from Jesus’ table (Matthew 15:21-28; Mark 7:24-30, the Syro-Phoenician woman).
  • Saw Jesus as the Messiah and brought a whole city of people to hear Jesus (John 4, the Samaritan woman at the well).
  • Stood at the cross and confessed Jesus as the innocent Son of God (Matthew 27:54; Luke 23:47, another Roman Centurion).

And on and on we could go. The outsiders have more clarity and insight than those who should know better.

So, are you an “insider”? Do you have all of the blessings, grace, healing and power of God working for you and you don’t even see it? Are you the one who turns back to say “thank you!” to Jesus or do you go on your merry way as if it you are entitled to all of God’s blessings? There are times when immigrants to this country have a better respect and admiration for the United States that the people who are born in it. It is the same for those “raised in the church.” We can lose sight of the amazing blessings all around us.

Let’s think like a Samaritan and an outsider today. Stop, appreciate the blessings, and turn back to fall down before the Lord and say “Thanks!”

Go and sit in the lowest place

Now he told a parable to those who were invited, when he noticed how they chose the places of honor, saying to them, “When you are invited by someone to a wedding feast, do not sit down in a place of honor, lest someone more distinguished than you be invited by him, and he who invited you both will come and say to you, ‘Give your place to this person,’ and then you will begin with shame to take the lowest place. But when you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place, so that when your host comes he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at table with you. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
(Luke 14:7-11)

Two observations for today from this passage:

Jesus noticed. He saw how certain people were choosing seats of honor for themselves. Just like Jesus noticed how certain people gave (Luke 21), Jesus takes notice of how people try to get honor for themselves. Our Lord pays attention to our lives, and He sees our intentions, both good and bad.

Choosing the best seats. These men were going into feasts, meetings, weddings, etc. and seeking the best seats. In other words, they were wanting the spotlight, the accolades and the glory. They were demanding honor and respect to be paid them.

Jesus is asking us to look for the “lowest” places…the cheap seats, and if we get moved up to higher places of honor, that’s great! But what would it be like to force yourself down to the front row, and have the ushers come and say, “You don’t belong here, this isn’t your seat.”? How embarrassing and deflating!

I’ve been thinking about how we struggle with this in our relationships. Do we as husbands demand respect and honor from our wives? Are we as fathers demanding respect and honor when maybe we should try to take the lower seats first? There are times when our egos get in the way, and we make a big show of ourselves to either our kids or our wives, and we only end up looking really stupid later. We’re going around making sure people give us the respect we deserve, only later to realize where we really belong is in section 900, row Z.

That is why there are so many passages in Scripture reminding us not to think too highly of ourselves. When we try so hard to get the respect and honor we “deserve” we just end up looking foolish. We also hurt the ones we love along the way. Instead of us being hurt because someone was a little snippy, or maybe a little unkind, maybe we should go down to the lowest seats in our brain and see the situation from a different perspective. It could be that our loved ones are really burdened about something – they need compassion, understanding and listening ears, not demands for attention and respect.

So, today, men, let’s look for the cheap seats. Stop trying to demand respect and honor. People don’t respect you because you demand it, they respect you when you earn it by having a humble, servant heart.

 

Worse Things Than Death

There are worse things than death.

We are studying the book of Revelation in our congregation right now. There are a couple of examples we found showing folks wishing for death because they feared something much worse. Specifically, we saw that people feared facing the wrath of God and His punishment more than they feared death.

Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?”
(Revelation 6:15-17)

And in those days people will seek death and will not find it. They will long to die, but death will flee from them.
(Revelation 9:6)

In fact, the book of Revelation talks about a “second death” that is far worse than dying the first time. The Christian will face death like every other person on this earth, but God delivers His people from the second death, which is eternal punishment. Again, there are worse things than dying.

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who conquers will not be hurt by the second death.’
(Revelation 2:11)

Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
(Revelation 20:14-15)

“I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him!
(Luke 12:4-5)

For today, remember that death is not the end, nor is it the worst thing that could ever happen. The Christian has hope and a promise of eternal life with Jesus. Dying is just the beginning for the one not in Christ. Dying is as bad as it gets for the Christian, after that we are with Jesus.

For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better.
(Philippians 1:21-23)

Where Does Suffering Come From?

It can come from God in the general, physical suffering and death unleashed in the world after man sinned (Genesis 3:16-19).  “And so God placed the curse on man and on his whole environment, thus forcing him to recognize the seriousness of his sin, as well as his helplessness to save himself and his dominion from eventual destruction.”  (Leon Morris, The Genesis Record, p. 126.)

The curse on man himself was fourfold: sorrow, pain and suffering, sweat or tears, physical death.  “For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope…” (Rom 8:20).  Romans 8:20 seems to be an allusion to Genesis 3:16-19 and this reference to the past must surely be to the judgment of God, which fell on the natural order following Adam’s disobedience.  The creation was the recipient of the action indicated but only as a result of man’s sin.  God is the One who did the subjecting.  The curse of sorrow, pain and suffering, sweat, tears and physical death was brought about by God…but He did it with purpose…God subjected the creation in hope.

 It can come from God in specific cases to humble and/or strengthen…consider Israel (Deuteronomy 8:2-3), Miriam (Numbers 12:1-10),  and Manasseh (2 Chronicles 33:10-20).

It can come from Satan through God’s allowance…consider Job (Job 1-2) and Paul (2 Corinthians 12:7-10).  We must note, however, though Satan caused suffering for one purpose…God used each of these for very different purposes than the Tempter intended and in such a manner as to humble and/or strengthen one of His children.  God sees suffering differently than we do and His heavenly “forest” gets lost on us for our earthly “trees”.

Finally, it can come as the inevitable fruit of our own sins…“…the way of the transgressor is hard.”  (Prov 13:15)……be sure your sin will find you out.”  (Nu 32:23).  Sin has temporal consequences – physical, emotional and social.  “What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed?  For the end of those things is death.”  (Rom 6:21).  Yet, at last, unless there is some direct link to our sin it is very difficult to know the exact origins of our adversity…and that is just as well.  For far more important than knowing why we are suffering, is our response to it.

Adversity and discouragement, regardless to its source, is one of God’s most effective tools to deepen our faith in Him and transform our lives.  “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey your word.”  (Psa 119:67)…“It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees.”  (Psa 119:71).  It is difficult for us to truly understand through our earthly lenses…it is only as we come to understand God’s perspective that we are able to respond appropriately.  What better example than in the anguish of Christ on the cross in regards to:  the influence of God…“…the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.”  (Isa 53:6)…the sufferings of Christ both humbled and strengthened Him (Hebrews 5:7-8).  The influence of Satan “…the devil having already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray Him…Satan entered him…”  (John 13:2, 27).  The influence of our own sins…“…who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree…” (1 Pet 2:24)…yet it was our Savior’s trusting response to this awful suffering that enabled God to work by it something transcendently wonderful.

So it will be with us if we choose our response to suffering wisely – especially when we don’t understand why…“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”  (2 Cor 4:17-18)…“Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.”  (Rom 5:3-5)

At last, like that ancient blind man, what we suffer here is in order that “the works of God may be revealed in us.”  (John 9:2)  Our God is Holy…He is eternal…He is love…He is merciful…He is gracious.  Take comfort in that He will not give you more than you can bear…and in all your suffering or adversity or disappointment, whatever the cause, glorify your God and Father, trusting Him to work all things together for your good (Genesis 50:20; 1 Pet 1:6-8).

God has left you here for only a little while (1 Pet1: 6-9) not only for your sake…but for the sake of your brethren (2 Tim 2:10).  In your adversity…go to your Heavenly Father and your Elder Brother and your brethren to be sure…but take the time to see past your suffering or disappointment…see that God has begun a good work in you (Phil 1:6)…and be encouraged… so that you might be an encouragement to me and those of the household of faith!

Angels Among Us

You ever get a song stuck in your head…it is all you can think of…it is distracting in that it is all you can hear when there is nothing said?  Well I don’t have a song stuck in my head but rather a scripture:

“Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents” (Luke 15:10; NKJV).

Jesus is teaching his disciples of the importance of even one soul in what we call the Parable of the Lost Coin.  What strikes me about this verse is the awesome interaction between what we are doing in this world and what our Heavenly Father and His angels are doing in Heaven.

It is easy to lose sight of Heaven if we allow what we can see, touch, hear, smell, taste, smell…that is the physical world we live in…dominate our thoughts, speech, and actions.  Jesus tells us to seek first the kingdom (Matt 6:33) and Paul tells us to seek those things which are above (Col 3:1)…because that is where Jesus is.  If we did this, wouldn’t that lower our anxiety…instill in us the awesome power of our Father…excite us about being in the Lord’s Body…fill us with peace and love for each moment God blesses us with?

Consider the boy with Elisha as the Samaritan army surrounded their city.  What anxiety he must have had…how certain he must have been that their doom was at hand.  After all, he could see it…he could hear it…he could smell it!  What did Elisha pray?  Why did he pray it?  What was God already doing?

He prayed that the boy’s eyes would be opened so that he might understand what was really going on…to have confidence in the Lord as Elisha did…to give him the rest of the story…that God was there…that He had sent His army.

“Then the LORD opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw.  And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.”  (2 Kings 6:17; NKJV).

The mountain was full of a heavenly army…with horses and chariots of fire…they were all around Elisha!  Because “The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him, and delivers them.”  (Psa 34:7; NKJV).

God’s army of angels is innumerable…it cannot be calculated.

 “…many angels around the throne…and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands…” (REV 5:11; NKJV)

These mighty angels rejoice when even one sinner repents…and it doesn’t stop there.  They are not idle bystanders.  They are INVOLVED in our salvation.  They are “…ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation…” (Hebrews 1:14).

GOD’s angels serve GOD’s children…consider these examples:

Shadrach, Meshach & Abednego:  “Look!”  Nebuchadnezzar shouted.  “I see four men, unbound, walking around in the fire.  They aren’t even hurt by the flames!  And the fourth looks like a divine being!” (Daniel 3:25; NLT)

Peter:  “Suddenly, there was a bright light in the cell, and an angel of the Lord stood before Peter.  The angel tapped him on the side to awaken him and said, ‘Quick!  Get up!’  And the chains fell off his wrists.” (Acts 12:7; NLT)

 We are not alone…not within the Body of Christ.  We have each other and we should rejoice in each other’s spiritual successes and rally around each other in times of need…praying always!  We also have our Father, our Elder Brother, our Comforter…and a host of angels who are watching, engaging, and talking about God’s eternal plan as it unfolds in our lives (Eph 3:10).

Pray to God that our eyes might be opened!  Praise Him in all His glory!

Surviving Storms

Do you trust God?  Our currency has written on it, “In God We Trust.”  But do we trust Him?  It’s easy to say we do, but it’s another to live it and believe it.  It’s easy to raise our hand in Bible class and say, “We should always trust God.”  However, it’s different when you experience a death in the family, or if your child is suffering, or when problems arise in the church.  You wouldn’t think that God’s people would need to be reminded to trust in God, but we do.  God’s people have always needed reminders.  This was true even for the apostles.  In the gospels, we read about the apostles going through a couple of storms.  They would have to trust in God.  We can learn some lessons from these stories as we think about different storms we will face.

Storm #1: Mark 4:35-41.  After a long day of teaching on the sea, Jesus told the apostles to cross to the other side.  Soon after, there arose a fierce (great) wind.  Water began to pour into their boat.  This was no regular storm.  Fear quickly set in the hearts of the apostles.  They cried out to Jesus for help, and He responded, Mark 4:39. It was Jesus who then questioned them about their faith.

Storm #2: Matthew 14:22-33.  After feeding 5,000 people with a boy’s sack lunch, Jesus told His apostles to get into the boat.  While the apostles were in the boat crossing the sea, Jesus spent time in prayer, Matthew 14:23.  By the time Jesus began to cross the sea, His apostles were far ahead of Him.  Instead of Jesus taking a boat to catch up to His apostles, He decided to go on a walk.  It’s here that we find Peter asking Jesus to walk on water, Matthew 14:28-29.  That took some FAITH.  However, as he saw the winds, Peter became fearful, Matthew 14:30.  What can we learn from these stories?

    1. Storms will come.  Life can change from calm to stormy quickly.  Trials don’t make us unique (as one man said).  How we respond to them is what will make us unique.
    2. Storms will reveal our faith.  Trials will reveal what kind of faith we have.  The disciples’ faith was shaken but then strengthened as a result of the storms, Mark 4:41; Matthew 14:33.  Storms can be useful for us as they will help us to draw closer to God.
    3. Know that Jesus cares.  He cared for His apostles, and He cares for us.
    4. Trust the facts and not your feelings.  Always remember God is in control.

No one had the strength to subdue him

“He lived among the tombs. And no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain, for he had often been bound with shackles and chains, but he wrenched the chains apart, and he broke the shackles in pieces. No one had the strength to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always crying out and cutting himself with stones.” Mark 5:3-5

No one could bind him…No one had the strength to subdue him. This man wasn’t fit to live among people. Only Jesus could heal what was wrong with this demon-possessed man. People of the village were trying to use their own strength to harness, control and stop this man, but it was the spirit inside that was giving the man this strength and destructive power.

The man didn’t need chains and shackles, they were useless. He needed Jesus. Look in Mark 5:1-20 to see how Jesus got inside of this man and changed him from the inside out. Once the man’s insides changed, then the outside reflected that spiritual transformation. This formerly demon-possessed man became a powerful evangelist for Jesus! But that didn’t happen until the demons within were cast out.

Again, it is Jesus that makes you and me fit to live among people. We may try to harness, manage or control the behavior and words of others, but it is Jesus that really has the power to release the “demon” within. Those “demons” can be things like guilt, past abuse, shame, addictions, etc. If we find ourselves breaking chains and shackles, going around in a rage, and cutting ourselves with stones, then the real problem is what is going on deep down inside of us. Until we truly get at peace with ourselves and with Jesus, then we will be like this man living in a cave howling at the moon.

In our relationships, we must focus more on root causes and not symptoms.

God’s Voice and the Storm

But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”
(Mark 4:38-41)

Here is a song to listen to today, called Oceans. Very encouraging.

God’s Voice and the Storm

It is no wonder that these Jewish men were wondering “who” Jesus was! God’s power over the waters, winds and storms is evident throughout Scripture (Genesis 6:17; Exodus 14; Joshua 3; Psalm 29:3,10; 65:7; 89:9; 93:3-4; 104:6-9; 107:29; 148:8; Proverbs 8:29; Job 38:8-11,25; Jeremiah 5:22; Nahum 1:4). When Jesus woke up and “rebuked” the wind and told the sea to be calm, it immediately obeyed His voice. Only God has that power.

Read Psalm 29 about the voice of God. Think about Jesus as you read this, but also think about the “storms, winds and floods” in your life. Where is our faith? We are in the boat with the God of the Storm.

Psalm 29:1-11

A Psalm of David. Ascribe to the LORD, O heavenly beings, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength. (2) Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness. (3) The voice of the LORD is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the LORD, over many waters. (4) The voice of the LORD is powerful; the voice of the LORD is full of majesty. (5) The voice of the LORD breaks the cedars; the LORD breaks the cedars of Lebanon. (6) He makes Lebanon to skip like a calf, and Sirion like a young wild ox. (7) The voice of the LORD flashes forth flames of fire. (8) The voice of the LORD shakes the wilderness; the LORD shakes the wilderness of Kadesh. (9) The voice of the LORD makes the deer give birth and strips the forests bare, and in his temple all cry, “Glory!” (10) The LORD sits enthroned over the flood; the LORD sits enthroned as king forever. (11) May the LORD give strength to his people! May the LORD bless his people with peace!

Jesus rebuked the wind (Mark 4:39). He also rebuked the fever in Peter’s mother-in-law (Luke 4:39), he rebuked unclean spirits (Mark 9:25). Peter tried to rebuke Jesus and Jesus turned around and rebuked Peter (Mark 8:32-33). After His resurrection, Jesus rebuked his disciples for their unbelief (Mark 16:14). When James and John wanted to call down fire from heaven upon the Samaritans, Jesus rebuked them (Luke 9:55). There is authority and great power in the rebuke of Jesus. Let’s let Him rebuke our storms and winds.

Friend, Do What You Came to Do

Jesus said to him, “Friend, do what you came to do.” Then they came up and laid hands on Jesus and seized him.
(Matthew 26:50)

but Jesus said to him, “Judas, would you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?”
(Luke 22:48)

Even my close friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted his heel against me.
(Psalm 41:9)

For it is not an enemy who taunts me– then I could bear it; it is not an adversary who deals insolently with me– then I could hide from him. But it is you, a man, my equal, my companion, my familiar friend. We used to take sweet counsel together; within God’s house we walked in the throng.
(Psalm 55:12-14)

“Friend, do what you came to do.” That’s what Jesus told Judas.

It was “determined” what Judas would do. Jesus knew from the beginning of the world that Judas would betray Him. Several prophecies came through David as to the betrayal of Jesus through Judas. It was no surprise to the Lord that Judas had sold him out. This is not to say that Judas didn’t have a choice in the matter, though. Jesus said it would have been better for Judas if he never was born. Although God knew beforehand what Judas would do, ultimately it was Judas’ choice to give in to his desires and carry out his betrayal of Jesus. Judas rolled out the red carpet for Satan, and Satan walked through the door.

Jesus didn’t stop Judas. All that being said, Jesus told Judas to do what he came to do (see also John 13:27). Jesus didn’t stop Judas from being a two-faced backstabber, did he? If Judas wanted to come up and kiss Jesus on the face, and if Judas wanted to line his pockets with Jesus’ blood money, then Jesus would let him do it. Earlier when Judas was going around seeking an “opportunity” to betray Jesus, Jesus didn’t chase him down and stop Judas (Matthew 26:16; Mark 14:11; Luke 22:4-6).

Jesus won’t stop us, either, at least for now. If we come to Jesus with the wrong heart and motives, He will tell us to do what we came to do. When we worship Him and work for His church with ulterior motives, He will tell us to do what we came to do. Jesus is not going to force you and I to have honest hearts and pure motives. If we are seeking to betray Him with a kiss, then He will offer His cheek to us. But keep in mind how it turned out for Judas.

I don’t believe that Jesus had any less love for Judas than he did for Simon Peter. Both men did awful things to Jesus, but the same loving Lord wanted both of them to come home and repent. Judas could have repented and returned to Jesus. We know the heart of Jesus – He would have welcomed Judas with open arms.

“Friend, do what you came to do.”