Day four of Holy Week has dawned and another day of our journey is upon us. As I have journeyed this week I find myself getting increasingly focused on the range of emotions this week represents. I have also become very aware of the different people we encounter in the journey through scriptures in this final week of Jesus earthly life. Today I am thinking about Judas, and in the Gospel of Mark we find this short account: "Then Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve, went to the chief priests to betray Jesus to them. They were delighted to hear this and promised to give him money. So he watched for an opportunity to hand him over." (Mark 14:10-11).
This last week in church one of our worship leaders shared a prayer that stopped me dead in my tracks, She lifted to God, "we are so good a worshiping you and praising you on Sunday Lord, but by Friday it is our voice that mocks you." For me it was one of those moments when all the random thoughts in my mind, all the details of a worship service, heck the whole world seemed to come to a halt and there I was with God owning up to the fact that I am Judas.
I am not sure there is another person in the Scriptures who gets a worse wrap than Judas. There is no shortage of people in Scripture to not like or even to despise, yet when it comes to Judas there is usually a special place in our hearts for him. That place we reserve for Judas is often not a real good place. Here we have someone who journeyed with Jesus for the better part of three years. Judas participated in the most intense and perfect seminary experience ever offered. If there was a person who should know the very heart of God, it would be Judas and any of the other twelve. Still, given the opportunity Judas sells out on Jesus. As a result there are many through the centuries who have hated on Judas because he should have known.
It is important to be careful in how harsh we are with Judas. If we are bold enough to take a good look at our lives we might realize we could just as easily be Judas. I have been attempting to follow Jesus for the better part of 30 years, and I know there are times when I find my only company in following is that of Judas. Sure I spend Sunday worshiping God with all my heart, yet through the week I find ways to drift from Sunday's passion. Before long I find myself more readily complaining about Jesus than following him.
Now there is a big difference between complaining and turning Jesus into the religious leaders. However that distance is not as great as I would like it to be. Like Judas, I find there are ways I wish Jesus would act differently. When that does not happen I find ways to get what I want, even if it means betraying what I know to be good and true of Jesus. When my willingness to forsake Jesus is high I do not have to look real hard to find someone who is delighted to hear and see that I am so willing to turn my back on the One I have followed for so long.
This short passage in Mark may seem like a simple transition giving a historical detail. Obviously I think it is much more. These two little verses present for us an example of the distance that often exists between Sunday and Friday. When we follow Jesus there is a strong sense of I ought to know better. Still we often fail to do better than we know. All of this is true. What is also true is Jesus knows all this about us and continues to shower us with extravagant grace and love. While the distance between Sunday and Friday might be great, it is not greater than the love God has for us and the desire God has for us to place our lives in the hands of Jesus.