“Jesus replied, ‘The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me. The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.’ Then Judas, the one who would betray him, said, ‘Surely you don’t mean me, Rabbi?’ Jesus answered, ‘You have said so’” (Matthew 26:23-25).

Here we see the compassion that is the key word of the Savior’s life. Except for His pity, most of His miracles never would have been wrought. He wept. He sighed. He pitied. He compassionated upon those who were needy and in pain or in great distress. He worked miracles for the supply of their necessity. Jesus has compassion for Judas Iscariot. He does not turn upon Judas and utter these words in a tone of exasperation and resentment. He interprets the great decrees: He stands fast in the tabernacle of God’s eternity, and there might have been tears in His eyes when He said, “Woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man.” Not, “I threaten you with woe,” not “I will one day repay you for this,” not, “This is the day of your triumph, but one day I will punish you.” Such a tone would have been out of rhythm with the gospel of His love and also with the thunder of His almightiness. He regarded it as a fulfillment of prophecy, the final expression of that which had been decreed from eternity. Jesus pities the man who has fitted himself to carry out this purpose though it be old as the decrees of eternity.

There is an aspect of every sinner that touches Him, not only with anger but also with pity and real grief. When He sees the man breaking His command right in two, He cries over the poor fool as He sees him doing wrong. This does not excuse the man, but Christ’s sorrow when He looks on Judas is real. We are all traitors like Judas. Jesus never looks with pity upon the sin, yet He never looks without pity on the sinner. His offer of redemption remains.

Adapted from In His Presence