The Search for a Friend

Matthew 27: 2 – 5
2 So they bound Jesus, led him away and handed him over to Pilate the governor.3 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. 4 “I have sinned,” he said, “for I have betrayed innocent blood.”
“What is that to us?” they replied. “That’s your responsibility.”
5 So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself.

A friend of mine was talking with the local Primary School about Easter one year, and in particular, Holy Week. He had gone through the week and what Jesus did each day. To finish he asked the class what they thought Jesus did on the Saturday? It was no surprise when several hands went up, but the answer he got was,  instead of the expected “he lay in the Tomb”, the young girl he asked to give her answer said “Jesus went down into Hell, to look for his friend Judas, and tell him it was OK, and that they were still friends!”
The wee girl understood what so many adults find difficult; that Jesus died for all our sins, not just the good people who slip up now and again, but everyone, even those that we might consider way beyond hope, like a friend who betrays our love.
No one is beyond the reach of God’s love, not even those like Judas, who think that no one could ever forgive their sins.
Jesus died for Judas with his betrayal, Thomas with his doubts, Peter with his denials and you and me with all our faults and imperfections.
Easter tells us forgiveness is at hand, redemption and salvation are ours for the asking.

Lord God, our loving Father in Heaven, may we not be like Judas, convinced that you will not forgive us..  Help us, instead, to accept that forgiveness. To accept the love you offer to us all as a free gift of grace.
In your Mercy hear our prayer,