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Holy Wednesday: A Lament of Judas



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“Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one--the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts,...Your affectionate uncle, Screwtape.” ― C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

What is the cost of your devotion? 

What is the price for your betrayal? 

Holy Week should call us to reflection. It is a chance to pause and to feel ourselves all at once swept along by the echoes of church history and purely present in our current state. While the world around us rushes by, hurried and hurtled through another day, another week, another year, we are invited to momentarily stop time in that way that only happens when we are in the presence of the one who holds it. 

Will you? 

And if you do, will you weep?

Will you shed a tear as you consider this man of sorrows (Isaiah 53:3)? Will you grieve and mourn your own sin for which He paid the price (James 4:8-9)? 

I wonder, would you even weep for his betrayer, Judas? 

Judas, a man like any other. Judas, who walked with Jesus. Judas, who must have witnessed miracle after miracle, who had to have felt the calloused hands of the Savior as they embraced, who surely cracked a smile or laughed alongside the Son of Man over dinner. Judas, who was paid a paltry fee (the same fee due to the owner of a slave in the instance they were accidentally killed by an ox (Exodus 21:32)) to lead the King who came not to be served but to serve, to slaughter. 

Would you weep for this Judas?

In the grand context of Holy Week, it is easy to dismiss the suffering of the guilty while celebrating the suffering of the innocent. But for a second, consider your own life. Even for those of us who walk with Jesus, who have given our lives over to him in adoration and obedience, have you not traded His love, his purposes, his plans away for even less? This week is a week to focus on Jesus, but in doing so, how can one fully embrace the sweetness of the sacrifice without acknowledging the severity of the separation that it solved?

Judge not Judas lest you for even a moment consider yourself above the same betrayal. Then, in realizing your sin, pour out your praise upon Jesus even more graciously, for he has saved you from it. The grace you know and are tempted daily to take for granted Judas never knew. The relationship with the Father you ebb and flow to and fro from was never felt by him. In his omnipotence God used the pride of Judas, but that does not mean he was absolved from the consequences. 

Make no mistake, Jesus was not fooled by Judas. He was not snookered at the last moments of his life into a trap he never saw coming. No, fully aware of what he would do, Jesus chose Judas as one of the twelve (John 6:70-71) and invited him in. Perhaps that is our merciful message to walk in today. The King is not threatened by your sin, nor is He casting you out of the city walls because of it. Instead, he calls you even closer, inviting your questions and confessions. Judas cast his coins at the feet of the high priests; you are invited to cast yours at the feet of the one who holds the authority over Heaven and Hell. He is not demanding your perfection. His is enough. 

Sit with his presence today, and thank him for his mercy. Ask to be conformed to his image, made daily more and more like the savior. In these quiet moments, consider where you have sold your affection for pennies on the dollar and what you are willing to walk away from on the altar of devotion. Then turn your eyes once again to Jesus, and in a whisper, if need be, thank him while you yet have breath to do so for Judas does not.

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Scripture References

  • Matthew 26:14-16
  • John 6:70-71
  • Exodus 21:32
  • Zechariah 11:13
  • James 4:8–9
James Vore James Vore serves Passion Equip as our Content Director. After graduating from The University of Georgia, James has spent the last decade writing for ESPN, Catalyst, and Passion. He lives in Atlanta with his wife, Victoria, and their two children. He loves movies, being outside, and (like Jed Bartlet before him) will watch almost any sporting event possible.