Tag Archives: Judas

Who me? Betrayer?

For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed. . . (I Corinthian 11:23)

In the Catholic church the Wednesday of Holy Week is often called Spy Wednesday, because it is the day we remember that Judas betrayed Jesus and spied upon him. Judas had been one of the twelve disciples, trusted by Jesus. But he arranged with the chief priests to turn Jesus over to them at an opportune time, when there would be no fawning crowd to interfere.  In the Garden of Gethsemane, Judas betrayed his master with a kiss.

People often wonder what motivated Judas to betray Jesus. Was it only the money? Or was he trying to force Jesus’ hand so that he would call down God’s angels to overthrow the Romans? Or did he simply lose faith in Jesus, choked by the worries and concerns of the world?

The scriptures are unclear. That non-clarity may be intentional because it can push us to think about the ways we may have betrayed Jesus. Probably not as openly as Judas, but we all betray, deny, run from, or avoid Jesus and his call upon us. We all fall short of his command to love one another. The story of Judas betrayal is both a warning but also a description of our own wandering hearts.

Yet the words of Paul in I Corinthian 11 are the opening words of Holy Communion, the supper Jesus gave to his disciples and to us. The meal holds the promise of forgiveness and grace. “This is my blood, shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.” Even in the midst of betrayal, Jesus gives us mercy and grace.

Though we be faithless, he is faithful. Praise be to God.

Lord Jesus, renew a right heart within me.

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Holy Week Story – Tuesday

Continued Reflections on the Holy Week Story

Readings for today: Matthew 26:17-46

And while they were eating, he said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me. Matt 26:21

And he gave (the cup) to them saying, “Drink from it all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” Matt 26:27-28

What a sharp contrast of emotions in today’s text!  We are again reminded that one of Jesus’ own disciples will betray him.   Jesus, who loved each disciple deeply, was wounded by Judas’ act.  Judas was not an outside official who simply wanted to keep the status quo.  Judas was a friend, who had seen, heard, and experienced Jesus’ ministry of healing and hope.  Scholars speculate what motivated Judas to do this.   Was it greed?  Or disillusionment that Jesus was not the Messiah Judas wanted?

I think the motivation is left unclear so that we can have identification with Judas.  At some time each of us has betrayed God or God’s children either in thought, word or deed.  We profess that we love Jesus with our lips, but our actions towards his children betray our fickle hearts.  We betray Jesus, when we do not love our neighbor as ourselves.

Yet on that night of betrayal, Jesus gave us the gracious gift of communion, the promise of forgiveness.  In Luke’s gospel, it is clear that Judas was still present when the cup of the new covenant was passed among the disciples.  God’s forgiveness was offered to Judas, even as he prepared to turn Jesus over to the high priest.   God’s forgiveness knows no boundaries, and here is a clear example of his gracious, forgiving love.  No matter who we are or what we have done, the promise of God’s forgiveness is declared for us.  We are forgiven people.    

When have you seen or visited someone who needed a tangible expression of God’s love?  How can you help that person realize how precious they are to God?

Prayer: Lord God, thank you for the gift of your own body and blood.  Let that gift strengthen me in the knowledge that you love me more than anything.  Amen