Judas Offers His Services
by Rev. Kimberly Wecht
Director of Mission and Pastoral Care
“Then one of the twelve, whose name was Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, ‘What will you give me if I deliver him over to you?’ And they paid him thirty pieces of silver. And from that moment he sought an opportunity to betray him.” (Matthew 26:14-16)
Judas followed Jesus for three years spending most of his waking hours listening to, conversing with, and marveling at this profound and inspiring man who said and did things like no one before. Yet Scriptures indicate that Judas still did not understand who Jesus truly was – the Messiah and Lord.
Whenever Judas addresses Jesus it is never “Lord” like the others, but only “Rabbi”. Judas had most likely followed Jesus thinking that Jesus would be the mighty warrior who would overthrow the Romans and set the Jewish people in charge of the government. However, when it became increasingly clear that Jesus was not this type of Messiah instead talking about dying and loving and sacrifice – Judas did not have room in his heart to understand Him. Judas also battled the sinful desires of greed and so when Jesus did not meet his expectations of a Messiah he sought a way to turn Jesus in for a profit.
When looking at the tragic story of Judas we often wonder, “How could this happen?” How could someone who followed Jesus so closely and be a witness to the miracles and compassion of our Lord not get it? How could he be drawn to greed and betrayal instead of wonder and love? It also makes us think, “Could we who love the Lord also betray Him in our actions?” The painful answer is, “Yes, we have and we can.”
Pope Benedict XVI stated this reality beautifully in his October 18, 2006, message, “Jesus does not force our will when He invites us to follow Him along the path of the beatitudes. The only way to avoid the pitfalls that surround us is to give ourselves entirely to Jesus, to enter into full communion with Him, so that we think and act as He did, in total obedience to the Father.”
The other beautiful truth is that had Judas not taken his life in sorrow and deep regret for what he had done our Lord would have forgiven him as Jesus did for Peter. Jesus does the same for you and I when we also give into our sin and betray or deny Him and then confess our sin and seek His forgiveness. As we continue our journey to the cross let us seek forgiveness for those times we too have betrayed Jesus and given into our sinful desires and let us seek to live in the heart of Christ our Savior and Lord.