Sometime after the 1st Palm Sunday, on either Tuesday or Wednesday, one of the 12, Judas, finalized his decision and made the arrangements to betray Jesus into the hands of the Jewish religious leaders. This is one of those parts of the story that we have a hard time feeling due to familiarity. When we see Judas mentioned we automatically go the, “Oh yeah, that’s the creep that stabbed Jesus in the back.” Let’s try this week to be shocked as if we were hearing the story for the 1st time. Remember, Judas was one of THE TWELVE! He was in the inner circle!
Let’s remember, of all the people that were following Jesus around, of all the people who were supporting and even a part of the ministry, there were only 12 (representing the 12 Tribes of Israel) that were selected. Here’s how they were selected:
Luke 6:12 It was at this time that He went off to the mountain to pray, and He spent the whole night in prayer to God. 13 And when day came, He called His disciples to Him and chose twelve of them, whom He also named as apostles: 14 Simon, whom He also named Peter, and Andrew his brother; and James and John; and Philip and Bartholomew; 15 and Matthew and Thomas; James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon who was called the Zealot; 16 Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.
So often we don’t read Jesus words about Judas with much pain, outrage or passion when He is talking to or about this. We hear a droning, “what you do, do quickly”. We hear a calm uninflected, “do you betray me with a kiss?”
Reading: Matt 26:14-16; Mark 14:10-11; Luke 22:2-6
Today we remember that part of the suffering of Jesus involved the bitter sting of betrayal. Most of us have felt this to one degree or another. Someone who we have opened ourselves up to, who we allowed to be in a position to hurt us, but trusted that they wouldn’t, DID! Hebrews 4:15 says that Jesus was tempted in every point as we are, yet without sin. That includes all the temptations that go with being betrayed. Compound that with being deserted and let down and denied by the rest of His friends and we begin to see what this week felt like and why we call it the “Passion Week”.
Remember some ways that you have been betrayed, let down, deserted by those that should have been your support. Take a moment to talk to Jesus about it – pour out your heart as to one who knows exactly what this feels like.
Take a moment to think about some of the times that you too have betrayed, denied and deserted Jesus. Remember this is one of the things that drive Jesus to the cross. Let the reality of His “UNCONDITIONAL LOVE” be more than a cliché for you.