Brothers & Sisters,
I ponder the passion of Christ quite often. From praying in the garden of Gethsemane, His betrayal by Judas, His own disciples denying Him, His arrest, trial, beatings and finally death on the cross. I tend to get caught up on one of the aspects and find myself meditating on it for days on end. Lately, I've been contemplating Jesus' betrayal by Judas.
It shouldn't be astounding to me that Judas betrayed Jesus for money. Even two-thousand years ago we found that money had the power to corrupt and it doesn't care who you are. But this letter to you isn't about money, it's about betrayal. It's easy for us to look back on that series of events and shake our fist at Judas and ask ourselves how could he have done such a thing? The thing is we all do odd and sometimes terrible things in moments of weakness and desperation. And I am by no means saying what he did was ok because it indeed was not, but it is apparent that we are witness to a devastating moment of human weakness.
I wonder how many of us have done the same to a loved one. How many of us witnessed that moment of betrayal with pain and horror as the realization of what we had just done washed over us? I know I have, I'm human just like you. One could point to the apparent lack of faith Judas had in Jesus (always calling him Rabbi instead of Lord, for example) as the initial crack in the foundation that led to his decision to betray Jesus. Look back to when you deceived someone, what was the initial break? You might have to search pretty hard to find it, but I guarantee something was there that planted the first lousy seed. The truth is we are all vulnerable to temptations tremendous and small, and it is up to us to understand them when they happen and do something about them. We're given a choice to turn our backs on God or to discern the right and just choice and follow that path.
Even Judas realized what he did was wrong:
"Then Judas, His betrayer, seeing that Jesus had been condemned, deeply regretted what he had done. He returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, “I have sinned in betraying innocent blood.” They said, “What is that to us? Look to it yourself”" (Mt 27:3–4)
We all know what happened after that as he didn't go back to Jesus but rather went and hung himself. Remember my friends, that realizing that we turned our back on Christ is the first step and the second is going back to Him. He'll be there, waiting for us. We must follow through with that reconciliation, or we're no better off than the man who betrayed Christ.