Friday, May 3, 2024

Jesus and Judas

Many years ago, I heard it said (and I have heard it a few times since) that the measure of your Christian faith is not how you sit at the table with Jesus, but how you sit at the table with Judas. 

The question is meant to create a polarizing choice - the Lover and the betrayer; the Friend and the enemy. The faithful who are gathered all around you and the one who will turn their back on all of it. 

But there's more to Judas than just his betrayal of Jesus. 

Yes, the betrayal of Jesus stung the other disciples, who had given up so much to follow the Rabbi and who had put their lives on the line and staked it all that this was the Messiah. This Rabbi, who was now hanging on a tree (even though, remember, He kept telling them that this was going to happen). Certainly, that would be enough. 

But we have stories about Judas that aren't about just his betrayal of Jesus, and that's important to think about when we consider this question, too. 

Judas was a man who was always more concerned about what he could get than what he could give. He was always looking out for himself. He was the disciple who managed the money bags, and when he saw an expensive gift being "wasted" on Jesus, he grumbled under-his-breath-out-loud so that everyone could hear him, and the Bible plainly tells us - he wasn't upset about the gift; he was upset that there was no way that he could cash in on it. 

He was also the kind of guy who would rather go out into a field and commit suicide than confess that he was wrong about something and try to make amends for it. He was a guy who didn't believe anyone cared enough about him to forgive him, that anyone would care if he was dead because no one was willing to welcome him back. Not even the guys he'd spent three years with and who had taken to heart Jesus's teaching on forgiveness - not seven times, but seven times seven times! If anyone is willing to forgive Judas, it has to be the guys who saw Jesus wash his feet, right? The ones who saw Jesus break bread and give it even to him? But no, Judas was the kind of guy who would rather die than be humbled. 

Know anyone like Judas?

See, it wasn't just that Judas was a betrayer. That would have been enough. The contrast between Jesus and Judas is that Judas could not be more unlike Jesus if he tried. He could not be more opposite what Jesus stood for if he was trying to be. 

So the question when it comes to Jesus and Judas is not just how do you sit not only with your Lover, but also with a betrayer? The question is do you sit with the One who is so hung up on you that He gave up Himself, and how do you sit with the one who is so hung up on himself that he gives you up? 

No comments:

Post a Comment