It is good to change your mind when you contemplate doing something bad, but you must change before it is too late. Judas Iscariot “changed his mind” (Mathew 27:3) but it was too late. He “brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders saying, ‘I have sinned by betraying innocent blood’” (verse 4). They answered Judas with contempt, “What is that to us?”
Why was Judas so blind? John 12:6 gives us a clue, saying “he was a thief, and having charge of the moneybag he used to help himself to what was put into it”. Today, people might say quietly ‘I take my commission’. Human nature excels in justifying wrongdoing. What marvellous experiences Judas had had; in Matthew 12 Jesus sent out the 12 (including Judas) to perform healings and preaching the kingdom (verses 7,8).
How often did they try to arrest Jesus? John records, “Again they tried to arrest him, but he escaped from their hands” (John 10:39). At Nazareth they “brought him to the brow of the hill … so that they could throw him down the cliff. But passing through their midst, he went away” (Luke 4:29,30). So – would not Judas, with such a covetous human mind reason, I can make a pot of money out of these Pharisees – for the Master is sure to escape from them as he has in the past. Judas believed he could serve both God and money.
Judas was blind to the all-seeing God. Of course he would say he believed in God, but his vision was narrow. The more power we have, the more the danger of self-importance and self-centredness creeping into our attitudes. We have an outstanding example of this in Samuel today. Nathan the prophet came to David with a story about a rich man and a poor man – and the poor man had “one little ewe lamb” (2 Samuel 12:3). We should know this event well! What a shock David had when the prophet said, “You are the man” (verse 7).
The many blessings David had received had blinded him to his own behaviour. There is a similarity with Judas, but in Judas’ mind it had become an ingrained way of thinking. In the end “he changed his mind” but it was too late.
We must each ask ourselves, ‘Is there anything I should change in my thinking (and resultant attitudes and actions) before it is too late?’ How meaningful are David’s words, which we rather think were written in the maturity of his life, “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23,24). May that also be our prayer.