4/2/10

Was Judas too good for Good Friday?

It’s such a good Friday that I wanted to talk about Judas! Yes that one. I hate to be a Debbie Downer, wanh wanh…but I believe that Judas deserves some mention today.

Judas is known as a thief and a betrayer. But some of his actions were more along the lines of a whistleblower seeking justice. In John 12, John’s commentary and explanation to Judas’ reaction is understandable. But what if instead of just being a thief, Judas was offended, loathing, jealous, and self-righteous towards Jesus? Often times we dislike people for being the exact opposite of everything we dislike about ourselves…maybe this was Judas’s problem.

Maybe Judas desired to do good…to be as good as Jesus. In Judas’s mind he surely had to justify his betrayal of Jesus in some way or another other than just a coin purse. Leading up to the Last Supper, I can only imagine the debate between good and evil being waged in his mind. In his eyes, his betrayal could have merely been an act of goodness…an act of justice in the form of retribution. How though could Judas bring justice to something already just…how could Judas ever really shine a light, on something already lit? Don’t we all find ourselves in these situations, just trying to do the right thing?

But the above question begs another question. What’s the root of our self-loathing, our offensiveness, our jealousy, or our self-righteousness? Why are we trying so hard to do the right thing? Most definitely I would have to respond with pride and arrogance. Haven’t we all tried to do the right thing? On several occasions, I thought I was doing the right thing. I thought I was right, and they were wrong. But like Judas, I got so caught up in being so right that I was dead wrong.

We focus on what we don’t understand. We focus on our hurt. We focus on ourselves. This in turn becomes a downward spiraling act. We grab a shovel and keep digging until we find ourselves buried by all of our junk, with no hope of every getting out. That’s where we find Judas, so far, so gone, so lost that all he could think about was himself. An inward focus only leads to self-righteousness, pride, and arrogance. Because when you only believe yourself, you’re always right and everyone else is always wrong.

Ultimately Judas was dead wrong, and no pun intended. This Easter season, I wanted to highlight the fact that it’s so easy for us to look down upon others…even religious institutions or organizations. It’s easy to have an inward focus, and to not have compassion and grace for others…even ourselves. Jesus died so that all would be forgiven their sins. The difference between Peter’s denial and Judas’s betrayal is that Peter sought repentance.

Friends, give to others the grace, compassion, and mercy that you yourselves seek. Approach everything with humility rather than pride and arrogance. Don’t be so right that you’re dead wrong. Assume the best in people…why else would Jesus have washed Judas feet right before the Last Supper! And this Easter be reminded that no sin or action is too great for Jesus to overcome…especially if he lives in us!

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