Today is Holy Wednesday. Sometimes this is called Spy Wednesday. It is called this because on this day Judas begins to actively pursue the magistrates in order to betray Jesus.
One of the twelve actively begins to betray him.
It is easy to be angry at Judas. Anger is always the easiest emotion to express.
We cannot imagine betraying Jesus in such a way. And to be honest, most of us would not stoop to that level of betrayal.
However, Judas is not the only disciple to betray Jesus. When Jesus is arrested, the disciples leave him. Peter even denies knowing him. All the male disciples betray the man they have been following for years. (Curiously, we see a faithful remnant of women disciples stay with Jesus, but that is another post for another day).
All of us are capable of this kind of betrayal. Of ignoring Jesus or walking away from his call on our lives. While we probably wouldn’t betray him to the point of killing him, we are capable of betraying him in more subtle ways. All of us fall short. We have all sinned in thought, word, and deed.
In response to his act of treason against Jesus the King, Judas is overcome with shame and guilt. He cannot withstand the burden of his sin and he tragically takes his own life.
While anger is the easiest response to Jesus being betrayed, the better response is sadness. A person who was desperately in need of grace ran from the only person who could offer it. Life and love were waiting and Judas chose death and shame.
The other disciples are different. In response to their betrayal, they enter into the presence of Jesus and receive grace. The one they have betrayed is the only one who can offer them forgiveness and new life.
So we see two responses to sin. One is to be so consumed with guilt that we flee from the presence of Jesus, which always leads to death of some kind. The other is to be so overcome with the love of Jesus that we enter his presence and receive the new life we so desperately need.
If we find ourselves guilty of sin and of betraying Jesus may we be consumed by the love of Jesus. May we enter into his presence knowing that he is offering grace over guilt, freedom over shame, and life over death.