This summer, we will have weekly studies available for each of 12 weeks from May 13 through July 29. Each week, we’ll focus on one of Jesus’ 12 disciples. We’ll look at a short passage involving that disciples (actions, words, attitudes, etc.); we’ll have a short reading putting the passage in context; and we’ll have some discussion/reflection questions that can be contemplated alone or discussed in a group (a youth small group, friends, family, etc.). One of the main questions we’ll be asking is whether what we see from the disciple is “good” (something to be imitated) as we try to be disciples today — and the answers will not always be as easy as we think. This week, we look at the disciple Judas Iscariot, and especially at his regret and remorse after betraying Jesus.. READ Matthew 27:1-10 (NIV below):

1 Early in the morning, all the chief priests and the elders of the people made their plans how to have Jesus executed. So they bound him, led him away and handed him over to Pilate the governor.

When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders. “I have sinned,” he said, “for I have betrayed innocent blood.” “What is that to us?” they replied. “That’s your responsibility.” So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself. The chief priests picked up the coins and said, “It is against the law to put this into the treasury, since it is blood money.” So they decided to use the money to buy the potter’s field as a burial place for foreigners. That is why it has been called the Field of Blood to this day. Then what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled: “They took the thirty pieces of silver, the price set on him by the people of Israel, 10 and they used them to buy the potter’s field, as the Lord commanded me.”
READ this: We know Judas well for his betrayal of Jesus, which is depicted clearly in all four gospels. We don’t talk as much about what happened with Judas after that. This is one of two accounts we have — the other is in Acts 1:18-19, which also involves Judas dying and a field, though the details are a bit different. There are a lot of questions people have about Judas in this passage, and there are good reasons, because there aren’t a lot of answers. We’re told Judas was “seized with remorse” when he “saw that Jesus was condemned.” But this was exactly what Judas was aiming for. We know from Matthew 26:3-5 that the chief priests (and elders) were scheming to arrest Jesus and kill him, and we know from Matthew 26:14-16 that Judas volunteered to turn Jesus over to them for the set price. Maybe Judas didn’t think the charges would stick and Jesus would actually be crucified? Or maybe his remorse just kicked in when he saw everything actually happening? Judas says he has betrayed “innocent blood,” but Judas must have assumed Jesus was innocent before — nothing has changed, aside from Judas’ sudden remorse. So now we wonder why it really was that Judas turned Jesus over to them in the first place. Was it for the reward money? In Matthew and Mark, we learn that Judas agreed to betray Jesus right after disciples complained about a woman anointing Jesus with expensive perfume — was it because he realized his priorities didn’t match with Jesus’? And then the questions we hear more often than the rest: Where is Judas spending eternity? Was his remorse the same as repentance or asking for forgiveness? Was his returning the money an act of repentance? Could he be forgiven for such a horrific offense as this betrayal? We don’t have to have answers to all these questions — which is good, because we can’t. Use the questions below to think a little bit about regret and remorse in your life, what you might choose to do with it, and what you might say to others dealing with it. ANSWER these questions: What do you think about all the things Judas did in this passage? When have you felt remorse about something you’ve done? What changed to make you feel that? When you’ve felt “seized with remorse,” what do you imagine Jesus would say to you? As a follower of Jesus, what would you say to someone who didn’t think they deserved to live anymore? READ Romans 8:38-39. LIVE YOUR LIFE knowing that’s true. REACH OUT to your youth pastor or a youth leader or a friend you trust if you ever feel like your life is not worth living.
Disciples: Judas Iscariot — Emerge Remote Lesson July 15
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