What Were You Thinking?

Today’s Gospel Passage:  John 13: 18-31a

I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen. But it is to fulfill the scripture, ‘The one who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.’ I tell you this now, before it occurs, so that when it does occur, you may believe that I am he. Very truly, I tell you, whoever receives one whom I send receives me; and whoever receives me receives him who sent me.” After saying this Jesus was troubled in spirit, and declared, “Very truly, I tell you, one of you will betray me.” The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he was speaking. One of his disciples—the one whom Jesus loved—was reclining next to him; Simon Peter therefore motioned to him to ask Jesus of whom he was speaking. So while reclining next to Jesus, he asked him, “Lord, who is it?” Jesus answered, “It is the one to whom I give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.” So when he had dipped the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas son of Simon Iscariot. After he received the piece of bread, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, “Do quickly what you are going to do.” Now no one at the table knew why he said this to him. Some thought that, because Judas had the common purse, Jesus was telling him, “Buy what we need for the festival”; or, that he should give something to the poor. So, after receiving the piece of bread, he immediately went out. And it was night.

Judas…Judas…Judas…what were you thinking?  How could you betray Jesus?  What in the world could have compelled you to do that?  The truth was that all the disciples were wondering, “Is it I?”…”What in the world have I done?”  We all wonder the same thing.  The truth is that the disciples are us…diverse, bumbling, questioning, slow to get it, insecure, betraying, denying, regretting…they are us.  There’s a little Andrew in all of us.  There’s a little Peter in all of us.  And yes…there’s a little Judas in all of us.

The truth is that we’re not always right there with Jesus.  We come closer, we stray, we come closer still, we stray farther…  We figure out better ways for ourselves.  We make excuses.  And then when the cards are on the table, we, too, betray.  It’s hard to swallow, but it’s us.  But notice that Judas is right there at the table.  Jesus knew.  He knew who would betray him.  He saw the writing on the wall.  He probably could have avoided it by ousting Judas from the last dinner altogether.  But that’s not what happened.  Judas was there.  We all are there…betrayer and forgiven.  That is the story of our lives.

The point is…we don’t earn forgiveness.  It just comes.  We just have to realize that it comes.  In other words, we don’t have to be perfect people (well that’s a good thing!).  We just have to desire to be with God.  Don’t we all?  And when it’s all said and done, in that place called heaven or the afterlife, or however you imagine it, all of us Judas’s will be there together, surrounded by love, and grace, and unimaginable forgiveness.  After all (read yesterday’s passage), Jesus will be lifted up and will gather all of us in.  That is the message of the Cross…for the Judas in all of us.

Go this week, all ye Judas’…and know that you are forgiven!


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