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. (Mat 26:14-16)
Jesus’s reaction to his betrayal is strange in our ears, but also resonates. When have we felt betrayed perhaps by a close friend? Jesus loved his disciples, and Judas was one of them. Part of Jesus’s heaviness over being betrayed was surely over not only his loss, but the loss that his “friend” experienced, Judas. And yet at the same time in some mysterious way this was all in fulfillment of the prophets. This surely is not about God preprogramming everything to happen in just a certain way, but working out his plan even through the evil that will take place.
Jesus was betrayed, and we surely have felt some betrayal in our lives, which maybe is trivial in comparison. And we too have betrayed Jesus at certain points. And yet he keeps reaching out to us as friend. Even as Judas sold Jesus for thirty pieces of silver, how might we have done something of the same in our lives? Remember that Peter himself denied knowing Jesus, but unlike Judas, Peter repented. Judas sadly did not, but in remorse hung himself.
Ted M. Gossard
Lord God, We tremble to think that it was one of Jesus’ own friends who betrayed him, One who sat by him and broke bread with him. Give us strength we pray to walk faithfully with Jesus, even when the road we walk is rocky, even when the message of the cross seems foolishness, even when we feel betrayed. You Lord are always faithful. We stumble, become lost, but you are steady and sure. Give us the grace to endure our troubles and reveal to us the glory of your kingdom. Through your son Jesus Christ. Amen.