It is the day we hear of Judas’ decision to hand over Jesus for thirty pieces of silver. Why does Judas, one called by the LORD who witnessed the LORD’s miracles, betray the Son of God? The Gospel of John gives us moments when Judas is in contradiction to the Master: after the Bread of Life Discourse (John 6:67-71) and his agitation when at Bethany Mary used precious ointment to anoint the feet of Jesus (John 12:4-6). Perhaps in these moments, Judas saw what appeared to be a vulnerable facet of his Master. Judas wanted to see instant results to the so-called Messiah and did not want his Savior to be presented weak; therefore, he thought he would take the matter into his own hands, running on his own ambitions. Yet, the result of his choices led him to such despair to the point where he no longer believed in forgiveness.
On the other hand, Peter may have had the same hopes for a Messiah who would come to save his people with power and might. Yet, what makes Peter different is that he loved and trusted Jesus and desired to be in communion with him. Even after he denied his friend, brother, and Master he repented and returned to strengthen his brothers.
I wonder, upon my own reflections, if Judas had not fallen into such despair, would he have come to the foot of the Crucified One, filled with sorrow for his sins, only to hear his king say, “Judas, I love you. Today, you will be with me in paradise.”
Do we betray the LORD for our own thirty pieces of silver? Namely, do we betray him for our own ambitions for our own way of doing things in advancing heaven here and now? More personally, have I betrayed my LORD wanting things in my own journey of formation to go a certain way? Have I betrayed him by not trusting that he is working in my life and trying to hold on to my own ambitions of being a future priest? Yes. I have. Yet, through the honesty of friends, through the grace of the Spirit, God has led me to turn away from my own personal ambitions of discipleship and has invited me to trust him time and time again.
Today is Spy Wednesday. We are reminded that even in a plot to betray his Master, Judas was loved by Jesus. Jesus loves us no matter how many times we turn away from him. He washes our feet, he gives us the greatest sermon ever preached from his cross, and he will invite us to the emptiness of the tomb this Sunday. These days are holy because it is not about us. It is about him: the Jesus of history, the Jesus of faith, the Jesus who loved us in his suffering.