Then one of the twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “What will you give me if I betray Jesus to you?” They paid him thirty pieces of silver. Matthew 26:14–15
Judas is the great villain of the Gospels. He is derided as the devilish student that handed his teacher over to the authorities who wanted him dead. Judas’s name is synonymous with acts of betrayal. When someone goes behind our back and mistreats us, or hangs us out to dry, we refer to them as a “Judas.” The most offensive aspect of Judas’s betrayal is the kiss he bestowed upon Jesus. We struggle to reconcile an act of affection that signals an arrest. All this for thirty pieces of silver!
While Judas is forever branded the great turncoat of our Lord, the truth is, whether it was Judas’s betrayal, Peter’s denial, or the disciples’ desertion of Jesus, those closest to Jesus were not able to stand with him in the end. Everyone failed, except Jesus. Judas got the money, and Jesus paid the price. Perhaps the ultimate and uncomfortable truth of the events that led to Jesus’ crucifixion is that we fail, but Jesus does not. Therefore, it is best not to put too much faith in ourselves, and to trust in Jesus instead. Jesus can do what we cannot!
How does it feel to be weaker than Jesus?
Lord, I am told that I am supposed to be self-sufficient, self-confident, and self-satisfied. My culture tells me that my life is “all about me” and my ability to be more and do more and earn more and get more. How many times have I taken thirty pieces of silver in pursuit of my own self-interest? In ways both great and small, I have betrayed and denied and deserted You and others when I have been needed most. Judas is not some guy who two thousand years ago cut a deal to bring about Your death. I am Judas. Our weaknesses are the same. I just pray Your strength is enough to save me before I am completely lost. In Your name, I pray. AMEN.