Aren’t We Judas Everyday … But Jesus Loves Us Anyway!

Posted: May 8, 2015 in Gospel of Luke

Luke 22:1-6 — Judas Iscariot. What a name he has made for himself. His name is synonymous with deceit, treachery, and betrayal. Even non-Christians know what “being a Judas” means. He was so distraught by what he had done that he killed himself. He is the subject of our passage today. Up until Judas becomes part of the picture, the Jewish religious leaders wanted to eliminate Jesus but could find no way to trip Him up. They could find no error in Him. They wanted to kill him and get him out of the way because He threatened the very power that they held in their minds. However, the truth of God that Jesus was preaching, the love of God that Jesus was preaching, the miracles that He was performing and the perfection of his logic and theology was making Him a very popular figure in all of Israel but especially now in Jerusalem when Jews from all over the known world were in Jerusalem for Passover Week. They wanted to eliminate Him but they couldn’t. Not without help from within Jesus’ band of disciples. Judas betrayal of Jesus remains a seminal moment in human history.

Why did Judas betray Jesus to begin with? He was an educated man. Before beginning to follow Jesus, he was a scribe, the equivalent of a lawyer in today’s world but it was not legislative law he interpreted and litigated it was the Law of Moses. He thought Jesus was a revolutionary breath of fresh air to Jewish society. He thought Jesus was the Messiah who would start a political rebellion and overthrow the status quo both of the religious establishment of Judaism and of the Roman overlords. He figured he would be given an important position in this new society of the Messiah because he was part of Jesus’ inner circle. But with all of Jesus’ talk of death here lately he must have begun to realize that Jesus didn’t see his ministry in that way. Jesus was immensely popular. Judas must have rationalized that Jesus needed to capitalize on it so, with the help of Satan in his ear, Judas went about trying to force Jesus’ hand. If he could just get Jesus in front of the Sanhedrin, he could get the leaders to see that Jesus was the answer to all of their problems. Judas was power hungry. His theft of money from the disciples’ treasury is an example of his pragmatic, personally oriented lust for power. He betrayed Jesus because he wanted the Messiah to be something more than a suffering servant that come to the world to die for our sins. Die for our sins? He wanted a conquering hero.

As we stand here 21 centuries later, we condemn Judas. But many of us today are Judas. We often throw Jesus under the bus to keep ourselves from being called out as Christians. We often associate ourselves with church for the wrong reasons. But yet Jesus loved him anyway.

How often do we throw Jesus under the bus today? We often keep quiet at work or in public or in any setting where we are outside church. We do not want to be called out as one of those Bible thumpers. You and I often throw Jesus under the bus to keep ourselves from being singled out from the crowd. How often do we feel ashamed and say nothing of our faith. How often are we given divine appointments to share the gospel with a non-believer but we do not do it because of fear or because other people are watching. How much of a Judas are we then?

How often do we use church for our own personal desires? We often choose our churches because of who goes to church there. We often choose our churches because of the the political connections that we can make there. We often choose our churches for what they can do for us. Oh we left that church because they did not allow me to have a position of power. Oh we left that church because I disagreed with how they do things there. Oh we left that church because no one hand picked me to be a leader. Oh we left that church because they expected me to not be in a ministry where I could be seen. How much of a Judas are when we use Jesus as a pretense to get what we want?

Judas had misguided understanding of the purpose of the Messiah. He was full of pride and selfish ambition. Very susceptible to the siren’s song of Satan. Yet, Jesus loved him anyway. Jesus knew what He was going to do but loved Him anyway. Jesus washed Judas feet even though He knew He would betray Him. How often are we judge and jury in such ways. Judas chastised Mary for anointing Jesus with oil instead of seeing it as an act of recognition of Jesus’ deity. How often are we Judas and complain about acts of charity. How often do we question whether a person seeking charity from the church has a scam going or is truly in need? How often do we question whether someone we help will just go by liquor with the help we give. Jesus loved Judas regardless of what he was going to do with the three years of instruction that he received from Jesus. We are not to judge those we help as to whether they are worthy of being helped. Judas in the end was not worthy but Jesus loved Him anyway. Are we not being Judas when we do not extend the unconditional love of Jesus to others without questioning their motives. It is for God to judge their motives. We are simply to love. Jesus loved Judas even though his actions would lead to Jesus being crucified. Jesus loved Him anyway. Jesus loves you and I even though we are dreadful sinners. We are only reconciled to God through His love for us. He loves us anyway just as He loved Judas. Let us not set conditions for loving the world around us. Let us love the world anyway.

Are we not Judas everyday? We betray Jesus daily. We disappoint Him daily. We succumb to the personal lusts of daily life. We often ignore the real reason for church. We often judge others when it is time to show charity. We often ignore our divine appointments to share the gospel because it makes us uncomfortable. Are we not Judas everyday but Jesus loves us anyway?

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