In the Catholic tradition, the Wednesday of this week is sometimes referred to as Spy Wednesday. Today would be the day Judas Iscariot decided to betray Jesus, found in Matthew 25:14-16. In our tradition, the text about Judas is found from the gospel of John during Passover.
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.
Why did Judas do what he did? There is as much speculation and theories as there are people writing about it. Maybe he was held by an evil force. Maybe he was just hoping Jesus would stand up and become the almighty King and just needed a little help. Whatever the reason, what we do know is it didn’t catch Jesus unaware. Jesus knew and yet still chose to let Judas be at the table.
Our Thursday night women’s class was studying John Wesley’s 21 questions used during his Holy Club meetings at Oxford. We were in the questions dealing with being in a right relationship with ourselves. We struggled over some of the questions dealing with our pride, our grumbling and complaining, and feeling defeated. We all cried out how we felt unworthy of Christ’s love and it was hard to accept forgiveness and grace. But then we began to laugh, as we remembered the faithfulness of Christ who is never, ever surprised by our sin, our doubt, or even our fear of being unworthy. Think about it, there is nothing we can possibly come up with that surprises Christ in the least. Someone, somewhere in time has said or done the same thing, and just like Judas, he still sits down with us at a table of grace, and invites us to share a meal with him. Whatever it may be, Jesus already went to the cross to redeem. All we have to do is take our seat.
Holy God, for whatever I think I’m keeping from you, may I hear your invitation to dinner and grace. For that thing or moment, I allow to hold me back from grace, remind me how reckless God’s love is for me anyway. Meet me in my Judas moments, and help me not to run. But to sit and wait and receive all the grace you have to offer. Amen.