Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Meditation XI -- Betrayal

Judas, who would betray him, answered, "Is it I, Rabbi?"
One might argue that Judas was no more evil than the other disciples, and that he believed he was doing good in handing Jesus over to the chief priests. Sure, he had pilfered from the treasury of the group, but maybe he had convinced himself that doing good to himself was doing good for the group, and this was good for the Master.
Note that Christ's disciples all asked Jesus the same question: "Is it I, Lord?" All except Judas, who addressed our Savior as "Rabbi." Shall we read into this that Judas had not accepted Jesus as Lord, but as merely a teacher? Was Judas, as one who expected a military conqueror as Messiah, hoping to force Jesus' hand? I do not know, but I'm struck that all the other disciples, even Peter, thought it possible to betray the Lord, though they loved Him.
Remember Judas left the group and sought the chief priests after the incident with the woman who anointed Jesus for burial. Others said the ointment could have been sold and the money given to the poor. Did Judas see himself as "the poor"? Did he figure, with Jesus doing so much talking about death and end times, that it was incumbent up on him to steer the course of Jesus' ministry?
It ultimately does not matter what Judas' motives were, except to say that he probably thought he was doing the right thing. What we should note is not just the betrayal itself, but the possibility that Judas deceived himself (or was deceived?) so much that he thought he was doing good in doing evil. And we should tremble at how close to such thinking we may all be.
Jesus, help us to remember to ask "Is it I, Lord?" from time to time, not only that we avoid betraying You, but that we not betray what You are to us. Be Lord and not Teacher only. Whether we are whore, tax collectors, priests, paupers, or princes, let us fix ourselves to Your will and mercy. Amen.

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