A vicar recently reminded me that the most important part of remembering is how you choose to live in response to the remembering. During these past two weeks, like many, I have been thinking about war, remembering those who fought and died. I’ve also been praying about the conflicts around the world happening now. At our College worship service, we had a Remembrance service and prayed for those affected by war and conflict– past and present. We were invited to take a red flower petal and pray for a situation that needed God, and then we were invited to take a white flower petal and pray hope into that situation. As we prayed, I thought about how efforts to do good can sometimes make things worse. Which led me to think of Judas, the follower of Jesus who got it so wrong, who just couldn’t bring himself to let go of his ambitions and to surrender his ambitions to God. Do nations/people in thinking they are acting to help God and his mission in the world sometimes get it wrong too? Can they turn around and turn back to God?
The following is a reflection.
Can Judas know peace?
Someone needed to force the matter.
The people needed liberating.
The occupying government was oppressive.
They could have forced us to worship their gods.
They could have forced us to change our ways of doing things and adopt their ways.
Someone needed to act.
Someone needed to see what would happen when they finally did arrest him.
The silver was not my idea.
I never did it for the money.
I did it for my people.
I led them to the Messiah, so He could fight.
And in fighting, reign.
We sat down to share the Passover meal.
What better way to usher in the Messiah’s reign?
God would again free His people from oppression.
They would arrest him after supper.
Then everyone would know who the Messiah really was.
Then they would see!
But when Jesus spoke of betrayal,
I knew he knew.
I don’t know how he knew, but he knew.
As I dipped my bread in the same cup,
I knew he would understand.
He was the Messiah after all.
I carried on with my plan.
Which was now our plan!
Because Jesus knew!
I raced to the chief priests and scribes.
The plan was simple.
I would lead them to Jesus.
Jesus would take God’s land back.
It was never about the money.
But as we approached the garden,
as Jesus finished praying,
as my brothers woke,
I kissed my Messiah.
Oh my God, I just knew things would change!
But then Jesus looked at me.
In His eyes, I saw.
I had messed up big time.
Oh my God, had I messed up!
It was the woman with the perfume all over again, but worse.
This time wasn’t about selling perfume to feed the poor.
I’d sold the Messiah to wage a holy war.
A war that was never mine to wage.
He knew what I had done, yet he had shared the Passover meal with me.
Oh my God, the whole time he knew!
As we remembered our ancestors in Egypt, the plagues, and the blood of the lamb,
Jesus knew what I had done.
The salty tears streamed down my face as they arrested him.
They wouldn’t take the silver back.
They wouldn’t undo what I had done.
There was no turning back.
And He knew.
All along He knew.