Oh Judas Iscariot, how did it come to this? You sat at the feet of the living God and you still betrayed Him. In some ways I suppose I should thank you. Without your betrayals Jesus would never have been arrested. Without arrest, there would have been no crucifixion and therefore no resurrection. Still, I ask, why? You had an opportunity many of us wish we could have. A true, face to face, living experience of the Christ, Jesus; Son of the Living God and King of all.
You betrayed him not once but several times. The evangelists have nothing good to say about you. You never really gave yourself fully over to His will and His teaching did you? You were only in it for personal gain. You stole from the common purse: not just from Jesus but from your fellow apostles. You criticized your Lord for allowing Mary to anoint His feet with expensive ointment (John 12:1-8). Perhaps worse, you hid your disdain behind a mask of charity, claiming you would use the money for the benefit of the poor. You would’ve skimmed at least some of if off the top though. My question is where you would’ve hidden that much money or what you planned to do with it, but I suppose we will never know the answers to those questions.
Why, Judas, why?
You killed yourself you know? No, I don’t mean when you committed suicide, you had killed yourself long before that time. Your faith was so weak, you are always listed last among the apostles, that you allowed the spirit of evil to enter you (Luke 22:3), You agreed to act as a spy and guide to the time and place of Jesus’ arrest. You sold out your Lord for a bit of silver, a bit of prominence, perhaps a feeling of power. You believed you gained when you really lost so much more.
Then, you went to the passover meal, where Jesus said: “And he took bread, and when he had given thanks he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 20 And likewise the cup after supper, saying, “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.”
You took part in this sacred time, the night before your Lord was to be betrayed by your kiss and you partook anyway. Did you stay because you needed to hear where he would be the next few days? Did you need to know what His plans were so you knew where to lead the temple guard? Did St. Paul have you in mind when he wrote in his first letter to the Corinthians (11:27-32): “Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. 28 dLet a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. 30 That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. 31 But if we judged8 ourselves truly, we would not be judged. 32 But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world.
If anyone has ever partaken of the bread and wine unworthily it was you. You certainly did not examine yourself, you knew you were up to no good. There is no evidence you showed any discernment whatsoever, except towards evil. You killed yourself through the steady betrayals of the Jesus and the image of God you were made in.
Judas, we don’t really know where you ended up after your suicide You seemed to be repentant of your actions, but instead of doing the handwork of reconciliation you gave away the precious gift of life. I certainly hope the love of God covered you in those final moments, because otherwise it was not all redeemed. What I mean is this: you betrayed the Lord into the hands of the evil one, but God, knower of all things, redeemed that evil act through the resurrection. So, I hope that your participation in the event was somehow redeemed. Not because you didn’t have personal responsibility, but because the evil you committed was directly connected to the ultimate plan of salvation set in motion at the incarnation.