Another character writ large in the tale of Jesus' death is Judas. Judas's plotting and treachery are well-known.
We last looked at the role of Mary, the sister of Lazarus, who poured the expensive perfume over Jesus. It was a tremendous act of honor, but many of those present criticized her for this "waste" of good money - over a year's wages worth of perfume. Jesus, however, lauds what she has done. "She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial" (Mark 14:6-8).
While his words uplift Mary they disappoint Judas. Judas, who probably expected that Jesus had plans to overthrow the Roman oppressors, now sees that Jesus' kingdom is not about collecting money or gathering followers in order to raise an army. And if Jesus is not going to do that, then Judas is not going to have a prominent position in any new government. As treasurer, he has just lost out on a great deal of money. So he has lost hope of personal and financial gain. Add to that the fact that Jesus keeps talking about his death and Judas realizes there is no future with this guy. He has wasted several years of his life in following Jesus. And so he betrays him.
Yet, after selling Jesus out to the chief priests, Judas sits at table with Jesus to celebrate the Passover. On the one hand we can easily be shocked by the hypocrisy of celebrating a religious feast with a man he has sold out. But on the other hand we might examine our own lives for hypocrisy in relation to Jesus. Do our actions always match our words? Do we say we love Jesus and then mistreat our families? Do we say we follow Jesus and then neglect to help the poor? Rather than criticizing Judas, let us look to our own actions. Our actions may not be as well-known as those of Judas, yet they can be just as deadly.
Let us pray. "Exalt the Lord our God and worship at his holy mountain, for the Lord our God is holy" (Psalm 99:9). Jesus, I say I love you, whom I cannot see, and yet I have trouble loving others, whom I can see. I want to be more like you. I want to be more loving. I want to be more caring. I want my actions to match my words and your words more closely. Help me, Jesus, to root out the hypocrisy, the treachery, in my own life.
I started this website and blog on May 1, 2012. I am a Catholic who has been in ministry for many years. I first developed what I would call a close relationship with Jesus in the early 1970s. Ever since then I have been praying with people for healing and other needs. It is because I have seen so many of these prayers answered that I am so bold as to offer to pray for you individually through this website and phone line.