Most of us Christians condemn Judas for betraying our Lord and Savior. We criticize what the Priests did, handing Jesus over to Pilate. We also do not like what Pilate did, handing him over to the soldiers to be crucified!
John Stott in his book, The Cross of Christ notes,
“If we were in their place, we would have done what they did. In deed we have done it for whenever we turn away from Christ, we ‘are crucifying the son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace (Heb 6:6)’ ”
Stott continues to argue that when we are asked by the old negro spiritual “Were there when they crucified my Lord?” we need to shamefully and remorsefully answer, “We were there, not as spectators only but as participants, guilty participants, plotting, scheming, betraying, bargaining, and handing him over to be crucified. ”
In his book, Watchers by the Cross, Canon Peter Green says,
“Only the man who is prepared to own his share in the guilt of cross may claim his share in its grace.”
Judas handed Jesus over to the priests out of Greed for money (Matt 26:14-16), the Priests on the other hand handed him over to Pilate out of envy (Matt 27:18) while Pilate handed him over to the soldiers to crucify him out of cowardice and ambition (Matt 27:26).
The above people, including the crowd who 5 days earlier on Palm Sunday had celebrated Jesus as their King but demanded to be crucified represent fallen and fallible human beings swayed by the dark passions which rule us all.
From the above, we learn that our sins must be extremely horrible! John Stott notes that what sent Christ at the cross was neither the greed of Judas, nor the envy of the priest, nor the cowardice of Pilate, but our own greed, envy, cowardice and other sins, and Christ’s resolve in love and mercy to bear their judgment.
We also learn that God’s love must be wonderful beyond comprehension. God could have left us to perish from our wrongdoing. He could have justly given us what we deserved: death and condemnation. However, because he loved us, God came after us in Christ.
In conclusion, we need to always know that Christ’s salvation must be a free gift. Nothing is there for us to pay, he claimed ‘it is now Finished’(John 19:30). Nothing for us to contribute! What we need to do is to humble ourselves at the foot of the cross of Christ, confess that we deserve nothing at his hand but judgment, thank him that he loved us and died for us, and receive from him a full and free forgiveness.