|Posted by Baltimore Lutheran Campus Ministry on April 17, 2019 at 9:00 AM|
Now the festival of Unleavened Bread, which is called the Passover, was near. The chief priests and the scribes were looking for a way to put Jesus to death, for they were afraid of the people.
Then Satan entered into Judas called Iscariot, who was one of the twelve; he went away and conferred with the chief priests and officers of the temple police about how he might betray him to them. They were greatly pleased and agreed to give him money. So he consented and began to look for an opportunity to betray him to them when no crowd was present.
The story of Jesus' last week make us confront the worst in human nature- cowardice, fear, anger, jealousy and violence. They are things we know hide within humanity and they are on full display in the events of Holy Week. But of all the horrible things that happen this week, the one that is most debated is Judas' betrayal of Jesus. Why would someone who had been one of Jesus' closest followers choose to betray him?
Some say that he was frustrated with Jesus because he refused to be a political leader who fought against the Roman occupying force. Some say he didn't like the unrest that Jesus caused while turning over the tables in the temple. Two of the gospel accounts (Luke and John) say that Satan had something to do with the betrayal- how else can you describe turning the Son of God over to be arrested? And some applaud him as a martyr or a hero because he set in motion the events that would bring God's salvation to us.
You can struggle with the story and decide for your own self. But Judas' betrayal also makes us look at ourselves and see the moments when we have turned on those we once loved- sometimes because of how they hurt us or sometimes because we dislike something about ourselves that we see in them. And Judas makes us look at the times we have run away from God- when we just couldn't trust that love was for us or that it meant all that much, anyway.
But we don't remember these painful moments to beat outselves up. This week when we look at Judas, we also look at Jesus, whose cross shows us the length that forgiveness goes. Forgiveness that extends to us, even when we don't think we deserve it at all. Forgiveness that our loving God gives simply because we need it to be whole again. We need it to love others again. Today, do what you can to restore a relaitionship that needs mending. And also stop and enjoy the life-giving forgiveness that comes despite our mistakes.