A reflection on Judas

On this Maundy Thursday, I would rather not look at Judas or even think about him for that matter. Judas, one of the Twelve, one who had walked with Jesus, seen the blind restored to sight, recognized the look of understanding when the deaf could hear, who witnessed the dead restored to life becomes the one to betray Jesus. Was it the cost of perfume, the equivalent of a year’s wage what tipped him over the edge? Was Judas repulsed by the extravagant expression of worship offered as she anointed Jesus head, declaring he was the Messiah? How could a woman dare to anoint a king? How could a king speak of anointing as preparation for a burial? What shifted for Judas, that in their last gathering he refers to him as Teacher (Rabbi), when the others acknowledged him as Lord?

 Was it the culmination of unfulfilled expectations? Had Judas hoped Jesus would be the one to set all things aright? Had he felt rebuffed when Jesus’ mission, his talk of dying did not align with his purposes? Within disappointment were seeds of distrust sown?

 I would like to not think I am like Judas, yet I too recognize how I have backed away from Jesus when the cost had seemed too high. I can see how I have held onto offenses when someone’s actions did not measure up to what I know is right. I know I have condemned those who have been unjust toward those on the margins. I remember the pain of unfulfilled hopes, the crushing fear of rejection.

 On this Maundy Thursday I see the possibility of betrayal in me.  

 What is the response? What can I do? Trust. Do not let your trust in Me erode is the whisper I hear. Brennan Manning reminds me, “There can be no faith without doubt, no hope without anxiety, no trust without worry.”[1]

Lord, we bring ourselves to you … our faith and doubt, our hope and anxiety, our worry and trust. We ask for courage to place our trust in your presence and abiding love.  

Matthew 26:14-27:10  

Post written by Carol McLaughlin. Carol has recently been “certified ready to receive a call” in the Presbyterian Church-USA and is an adjunct professor at Portland Seminary. Among the joys in life are time spent with family, walks near Puget Sound, reading, and conversation with friends.

[1] Brennan Manning, Ruthless Trust: A Ragamuffin’s Path to God (New York: HarperSanFrancisco, 2000), 104.