I have always been fascinated by the story of Judas Iscariot. It is said that he was preordained to betray Jesus, but if that is true, then could he help himself? Not much is written about Judas before his betrayal of Jesus. We know that he controlled the money the disciples had and that he was interested in the poor, but was he truly? In John 12:6, John states that he [Judas] stole from the purse for himself. His act of betrayal was unfathomable to many of us. To some of us, it is “there but for the grace of God go I”. Do we see ourselves in his act, in his life, his death, or in his weakness? Was Judas angry or was he manipulative? We will never know.. But we do see and read in the scriptures of the anger of the disciples. In both Matthew and Mark at the anointing of Jesus with nard, an expensive perfume, until Jesus spoke up and defended the act. Judas is then seen as going to make a deal with the Chief Priests. Was Judas angry or was he hoping to manipulate Jesus into the action he desired -perhaps overthrowing the Roman rule? Perhaps 30 pieces of silver was just too tempting to one who loved money. Judas regretted his actions and after the crucifixion he hung himself. He regretted, but he did not repent. He was filled with remorse, but still did not seek forgiveness -at least not in what is written about him. Was he used or a user? How many times are we sorry for what we do, but do not seek forgiveness? Sometimes it is because we don’t feel worthy… But by Christ’s words and actions, all are worthy of forgiveness and salvation. It is only when we accept this gift that we are set free from our sins. When we accept that Christ died for each of us, saint and sinner alike, then we know the magnitude of his love. Christ’s love was so great that he would have forgiven even Judas.
Then one of the Twelve—the one called Judas Iscariot—went to the chief priests and asked, “What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?” So, they counted out for him thirty silver coins. From then on, Judas watched for an opportunity to hand him over.Matthew 26:14
Lord be with us in this holy season. Our world is in turmoil, our hearts are hurting, our senses are reeling. We are beset by disease and greed. Help us to find our sanctuary in your love. It is our constant, our anchor, our hope and salvation. Be with those who are working to help, our medical personnel including assistants, doctors, nurses and those behind the desk and first responders, the pastors and priests and those who comfort those who are fearful and those who are ill and those who grieve. Be with those who mourn as they lose loved ones, be with those who are frightened may they find strength in you, be with those who feel alone may they feel your presence with them. Be with our Pastor and his family, bless his ministry as he seeks new ways to serve his church, be with us as we reach out and become the church. Be with those who have needs we can fill; may we seek them and find them. Be with our staff and leaders, bless them and guide them. It is in the name of Jesus we pray. Amen