On Wednesday of Holy Week we find this occurring:
Then Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve disciples, went to the leading priests to arrange to betray Jesus to them. They were delighted when they heard why he had come, and they promised to give him money. So he began looking for an opportunity to betray Jesus.
Mark 14:10, 11 NLT
Judas’ betrayal is not spur-of-the moment. It is planned. “He began to look for opportunity…” Those words break my heart because they show that Judas has truly turned against Jesus, against his mission and ministry. Judas is no longer focussing on bringing the Kingdom of God into reality. He is looking for an opportunity to betray the One who fulfills the Kingdom.
I always find myself sort of outraged on Jesus’ behalf. I ask myself, “How could he?” How could Judas who was Jesus’ friend and disciple, betray everything that Jesus is about. Those of us who love Jesus in today’s age, WISH we could have had the chance to walk and to talk with Jesus as Judas did. How could he squander that opportunity?
And then I remember something Peter Wilson wrote:
Without equivocation or hesitation I fully and completely admit that I deny the resurrection of Christ. This is something that anyone who knows me could tell you, and I am not afraid to say it publicly, no matter what some people may think…
I deny the resurrection of Christ every time I do not serve at the feet of the oppressed, each day that I turn my back on the poor; I deny the resurrection of Christ when I close my ears to the cries of the downtrodden and lend my support to an unjust and corrupt system.
However there are moments when I affirm that resurrection, few and far between as they are. I affirm it when I stand up for those who are forced to live on their knees, when I speak for those who have had their tongues torn out, when I cry for those who have no more tears left to shed.
And I realize that far too often I have stood in Judas’ shoes. Denying Jesus, betraying him, turning away from his mission and ministry in favor of my own desires.
I am humbled by this realization. And once again amazed that the power of Christ’s forgiveness is wider, deeper and more persistent than my sin.