At the moment of betrayal, Jesus said to Judas, “Friend, do what you came to do” (Matthew 26:50).

This, I do not think, is sarcasm or a social nicety. It was genuine.

Judas was one of the twelve Jesus chose.

He was included in those sent out on their inaugural training. He was in the boat when Jesus talked to nature (and it responded). And he saw the plethora of sick and hungry, both healed and fed.

He was special.

As readers, knowing how the story plays out and what Judas did, it’s easy to hate him. We’re supposed to. He’s the villain.

But God never saw it that way.

Later in Romans, Paul would write that we were all “against” God, “enemies,” when he decided to love us (Romans 5:8-10).

The story of Judas is very close to being the story of us all.

It seems, perhaps, this story is not about vengeance or poetic justice (Judas hated himself for what he did), but about love, and mercy.

Ours, that is.

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