Wednesday, April 8, 2009


What do you think about this guy? You know the story; becomes an apostle, gets a little greedy, sells Jesus up the river for 30 pieces of silver leading to the ultimate glory of God, regrets his actions and gets his comeuppance, hanging from a tree. (Or falling on a plow, depending which story you read.)

We look at Judas with contempt and ask how he, one of Jesus' closest and most trusted 12, could betray him so vilely. But aren't we all a bit like Judas? This is why on Palm Sunday during the gospel reading, where there is crowd participation, I have always hated the part where the congregations part is to say out loud, "Crucify him! Crucify him!" Some years I have refused to say it. I think, if I had been in that crowd, worked into a frenzy by the greedy, jealous, evil Pharisees, I would have said no. But would I have? Do I do it today?

If Jesus is in each of us, and we look for Jesus in each person that crosses our path, are we not shouting "Crucify him!" when we say something or think something against them? When we exclude others or are intentionally mean? When we lose patience, trust and faith? When we turn away from what is right? Are we collecting our 30 pieces at that moment?

Judas went down in history as the most despicable human, but here we are, judging. I feel a little sorry for him. In this story he is the warning, but also the whole point. Why did Jesus even associate with him if he knew all along what he would do? Was it that he was hoping he would change his mind?

Nope! He knew, and understood, and wouldn't have it any other way. Judas is the poster boy for "things happen for a reason" and this was a big reason. The final triumph over death, so that it held no power for us, a bunch of Judases. He was the ultimate sinner, and Jesus even forgave him! In the big picture, love is the reason... for everything.


trinity_ray said...

You yell "crucify him" during the reading? I've never seen things go down that way before. I could see how that would be a little uncomfortable. I think I'd sit it out too.
I've never thought much about Judas. Every great story has to have a bad guy. Judas is just one "bad guy" in the biblical story.
I suppose the thing to remember about the teachings of Christ is that the bad guys are never so bad and the good guys are never perfect. We're all a flawed humanity and posess at the same time the capacity for great good and great evil.

chrissyrudd said...

Yeah, it happens every year. But the tradition has a point, and now that I have more understanding, I don't sit it out. You're right though. Thanks for the comment!

carrie said...

its funny you should write about that becuase i too have always felt bad for judas. i mean he was essential for jesus's death and ressurection. someone HAD to do it. it was chosen for him. he is almost like a hero if you think of it that way. he suuffers infamy to fulfill gods plan. if it was Gods plan for jesus to die for our sins in this way what choice did judas have? if judas hadn't done it then would we have salvation? would that have screwed up everything? i don't know, but i have always struggled with judas as a "bad guy"...