Despair and Hope
27:1Early in the morning, all the chief priests and the elders of the people made their plans how to have Jesus executed. 2 So they bound him, 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.
6 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.” 7 So they decided to use the money to buy the potter’s field as a burial place for foreigners. 8 That is why it has been called the Field of Blood to this day. 9 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.” l 
The account of the demise of Judas is truly sad and tragic. Scripture is quite clear that he is responsible for his choices, even though his betrayal was in fulfillment of prophecy. In the mysterious paradox of God’s sovereignty and our free will, we never escape responsibility for all of our actions.
But what is truly tragic is that when Judas came to regret what he had done, he went the path of despair and took his own life. Could things have been different? We know that he would have found forgiveness from Jesus after the resurrection, as Peter and the other disciples did. But he couldn’t see this in his despair, and so put an end to the pain of regret that had gripped him.
So my prayer today is for those who are struggling with depression and despair, for those who can see no hope in the pit they find themselves, for those in a downward spiral of regret, and especially for those who are contemplating ending it all. I am praying for the Lord’s intervention in their lives. I am praying that the Lord bring someone into their lives to give them hope in their despair, and to help turn them from the path of self-destruction.
The good news of the resurrection is that there is always hope in even the worst of situations. I pray for those who need this truth today.
Lord Jesus, let your mercy and peace be upon those who are in a pit of despair. Send people into their lives as agents of hope.
What is the Word leading you to pray about today?
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