Wednesday, March 27, 2024

          On this Wednesday of Holy Week, we think about Judas’ betrayal of Jesus.  Matthew recorded this plot against Jesus in this way, “Then one of the Twelve—the one called Judas Iscariot—went to the chief priests and asked, ‘What are you willing to give me if I deliver him over to you?’ So, they counted out for him thirty pieces of silver.  From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand him over” (Matthew 26:14-16).  Judas’ behavior suggests a few sobering truths for us to consider. 
          First, it appears that he was looking for an occasion to betray Jesus.  Some people suggest that Judas was convinced that Jesus would never be the kind of Messiah that Judas wanted Him to be.  Likely a passionate zealot, this disciple Judas was a fierce anti-Roman partisan.  He would have wanted a Messiah who challenged Rome and rallied up an army to confront Rome and reconstitute Israel’s glorious and golden days under David and Solomon.  He would have been glad to take up arms against Rome.  He only wanted someone to send the signal to report to the battle stations and unleash a siege against Rome.
          Second, Judas probably did not recognize the greater problem that Jesus addressed—the matter of human sin and sinful hearts.  Jesus did not come to be a political messiah, a military leader, a conquering general or a fan favorite who subjected every action and decision to a popular poll or vote.  Jesus knew it was the Father’s will for Him to go to the cross to pay the price for human sinfulness and rebellion.  By His stripes, Isaiah noted, we are healed.  For Judas, the solution to all the problems of his day was getting rid of Rome.  But Jesus came with the Father’s will in His heart and knew the biggest problem of all was the abundance of sin that separated us from the Father.
         Third, we have to question Judas’ love and loyalty for Jesus.  He willingly sold out his friend, teacher and Lord for a mere thirty pieces of silver.  Matthew says that Judas “went to the chief priests.”  He was looking for an occasion or opportunity to do the evil that he wanted to do—sell out Jesus and perhaps hasten along his desire to confront and defeat Rome.  He chose his ways and passion over Jesus’ way.  Selfishness prevailed over love. Disloyalty reigned in Judas’ heart.  
          As we approach the cross on Good Friday, we must consider our sins as well.  We have much in common with Judas.  We conspire.  We sin.  We prefer our ways to His ways.  We want Jesus to look, act and behave like us.  We want Jesus to sign on to our agenda.  We can easily betray our Lord too.  And we have betrayed Him.  We all like sheep have gone astray.  We have chosen our ways above His ways.  We have chosen the darkness of sin above the Light of the World.  Today, we recognize and acknowledge our sins and betrayal.  

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