As we consider the legacy of Judas, there is the traditional image of Judas as a traitor, a betrayer. This version of the story of Judas gives us a Judas motivated perhaps by disillusionment or greed and getting paid by the religious leaders to hand Jesus over. This Judas would have known that this would make him an enemy of Jesus’ friends and followers and would cut him off from his primary community of support. He may have anticipated the personal anguish and guilt associated with betrayal. Judas would have suspected that he would be killed for this betrayal.
If we consider the story of Judas as the one who hands Jesus over at Jesus’ request, this version of the Judas story also leads to negative consequences for Judas. He would have known that this course of action would probably cost him his life as well as the life of his beloved teacher and friend.
Either way, the outcome is not in Judas’ favor. Obey or betray, it still costs Judas his life. There’s a lesson here about obedience to God. It may have very difficult consequences for us. Yes, Judas would know that he did God’s will, but it costs him his life and the life of his beloved friend. Obedience, too, has a cost. The story of Judas, and of Holy Week, invites us to consider what price we are paying for our obedience to God. What is it costing us to follow in the way of Jesus? It the cost is too small, maybe we are not being obedient enough.
Lectionary readings for today:
1 Corinthians 1:18-31
Prayer: May we have the courage and fortitude to obey God whatever the cost. Amen.