Stage 3. Judas Repented, but not to God.
Jesus was taken the following day to Pontius Pilate to be interrogated. He was exhausted and battered from His experiences the night before. His friend and disciple Peter denied him three times. When Peter heard the cock crow, as Jesus had told him that he would, he wept sorely and repented. Matt. 27:69-75 says:
69 Now Peter sat without in the palace: and a damsel came unto him, saying, Thou also wast with Jesus of Galilee.
70 But he denied before them all, saying, I know not what thou sayest.
71 And when he was gone out into the porch, another maid saw him, and said unto them that were there, This fellow was also with Jesus of Nazareth.
72 And again he denied with an oath, I do not know the man.
73 And after a while came unto him they that stood by, and said to Peter, Surely thou also art one of them; for thy speech bewrayeth thee.
74 Then began he to curse and to swear, saying, I know not the man. And immediately the cock crew.
75 And Peter remembered the word of Jesus, which said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And he went out, and wept bitterly.
Judas, the betrayer of Jesus, attempted to reverse the outcome of his betrayal by repenting to the chief priests and returning the blood money. But the chief priests refused to return the thirty pieces of silver into the treasury. Judas’ repentance reflected remorse at the consequence of his sin rather than deep remorse for the cause of the sin.
Judas did not go to the other Apostles or seek the forgiveness of God for betraying his best and only true friend. He repented to the chief priests, but he did not repent to God. Had he done so, the outcome for him would have been much different. Instead, he went out and hanged himself.
Matt. 27:5 And throwing down the pieces of silver into the temple, he departed, and he went and hanged himself.
Pontius Pilate was the Roman governor of Judea from A.D. 26-36. He served under Emperor Tiberius and is most known for condemning Jesus to death on the cross. Pilate ignored his conscience, knowing full well that Jesus was an innocent man. In Luke 23:14, he said unto them,
14Ye have brought this man unto me, as one that perverteth the people: and, behold, I, having examined him before you, have found no fault in this man touching those things whereof ye accuse him:
He ignored the warnings of his wife, who sent him a note in Matt. 27:19:
19 When he was set down on the judgment seat, his wife sent unto him, saying, Have thou nothing to do with that just man: for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him.
And finally, Pilate tried to compromise with the people, offering them an opportunity to choose between Barabbas, a man jailed for murder and insurrection against the Roman government, and Jesus. Because the people desired to have Jesus killed and Barabbas set free, Pilate sanctioned that Jesus was first scourged or severely beaten and then crucified. Barabbas was set free, and Jesus died in his place. Barabbas’ story is no different from our own, however. We, too, are guilty of a multitude of sins, but Jesus took those sins upon himself and died in our place.
The Bible reports that Pilate attempted to absolve himself of the guilt of his actions toward Jesus by washing his hands. Matt. 27:24 states:
24 When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it.
It is interesting that although Pilate believed Jesus to be innocent and even attempted to absolve himself of the guilt of his murder by publicly washing his hands, he is, even today, over 2000 years later, known as the person responsible for the death of Jesus. Pilate knew that Jesus was innocent, and yet he is forever recorded as the individual accountable for the crucifixion of Jesus. He compromised what he knew to be valid for status, position, and personal gain. Pilate was a pagan, yet he knew that the Jews wanted Jesus murdered because of religious prejudice. Oh, would that he had stood on the courage of his convictions. But he did not, and the rest is history.
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