Matthew 27 vs 3 & 4. “When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty silver coins to the chief priests and the elders. ‘I have sinned,’ he said, ‘for I have betrayed innocent blood”.

It is a very striking thing to note how the very innocence of Jesus tormented the conscience of those around him. Here was Judas who betrayed him now realising the full weight of his deed. His conscience cannot bear it and he returns the money given to him by the authorities.

Most of us do not realise the power of conscience. It has the power to drive us to despair or to help us rise to the most noble of deeds. We are told in Romans 1:18 that it is possible to suppress the truth. That is indeed possible to do. We can suppress the truth and with it our conscience. But we can never destroy the truth nor entirely obliterate our conscience. Thus for Judas his conscience drove him to despair and he finally committed suicide.

Of all the most foolish things that occurred at the crucifixion of Jesus, the accusation that he was in some way evil or a blasphemer was the most foolish of all. His unblemished life was open for all to examine. Witnesses were difficult to come by, to prove Jesus was a blasphemer. Eventually fake witnesses had to be bribed and Jesus’ own words twisted to make the charge stick. Behind all their frantic activity to make Jesus out to be a malefactor was the pulsating rage against him for his most important claim. He claimed to be the Son of God.

It is today, as it was then, a dreadful provocation of the human spirit of fallen beings to be confronted by the Son of God. Why this immense hatred? Because not only does He have the power to save the world, but also in his hands he has the power to judge all beings. And so He one day certainly shall do.

In his presence, our lives, and secret wickedness are all shown up. We see ourselves for what we are – shabby and soiled by sin and totally out of sync with God.

Listen again to Judas: “I have betrayed innocent blood”. Jesus was innocent. Judas was guilty. Are you innocent? What will you do with your guilt? The best thing to do is to take it to this very same Jesus, now risen and glorified.