Ash Wednesday, March 1
Then one of the twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “What will you give me if I betray him to you?” They paid him thirty pieces of silver. And from that moment he began to look for an opportunity to betray him.
When I was young I was a tomboy. The boys I played with and I went to see westerns on Saturday afternoon and then made up our own stories about the Good Guys against the Bad Guys. Judas was a Bad Guy—he took money to tell on a friend because he was bad.
When I was older, I read about the Zealots. I got involved in causes of my own time—protesting racial injustice, arguing for women’s rights, and working to improve education. I thought that perhaps Judas had thought that Jesus came to usher in a kingdom of this world and was angry when Jesus rejected that goal. So Judas betrayed Jesus because he was disappointed in him.
Still older, I realized that all sin is a mystery. Some tell us that Judas is theologically necessary. But that seems terribly cruel—why should he be lured into an act of betrayal to fulfill a biblical prophecy? And the resulting despair that led him to take his own life? So Judas betrayed Jesus for mysterious reasons.
Let us pray…Lord, help me to be strong in the face of temptation to betray those whom I have loved and admired, even when it is easier to remain quiet. Amen.