No Self-Solution for Sin

Posted on June 13, 2016.

Read Matthew 27:1-10

      Whatever Judas imagined his motives to have been, he now sees better just what his betrayal has meant, and the meager and terrible bargain he has made.  Did he return to the chief priests and scribes to try to somehow undo what he had done?  Or was it for spiritual counsel or consolation for a sinner such as himself?   In either case, Judas was sorely disappointed.  As for Jesus’ condemnation, that was the whole point of the arrangement, and the religious leaders wouldn’t work to free the innocent Jesus even if they could.  As for Judas’ sudden pangs of conscience, that was his problem.  “See to it yourself,” they said coldly (27:4).  But there is no self-solution for sin.  Judas’ remorse did not remove his guilt, nor his throwing away the profits of his betrayal.  Even adding the sin of suicide could not make up for the crime of helping arrange the murder of God’s own Son. 

      There were two major defections from among the Twelve during the days of Jesus’ passion; this one by Judas, and the other of Peter, who vigorously denied having anything to do with Jesus.  Peter’s bitter tears (26:75) couldn’t wash away his sin any better than could Judas’ remorse.  But for Peter, forgiveness and restoration did come.  He received these gifts of grace from the risen Jesus in an encounter whose details have been hidden from us (Luke 24:34; 1 Corinthians 15:5).  There is no self-solution for sin.  No self-help is possible.  We can only go to Jesus, who hears our confession and “is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).