As we approach the week of Jesus’ betrayal, suffering and death, it’s fitting that we consider the betrayer Judas Iscariot. Much of the New Testament teaches us by principle and by example how to follow Jesus. We enjoy feel-good stories of obedience and blessing, but we need warnings from bad examples as much as encouragement from good ones.
Apart from the crucifixion itself, the story of Judas’ betrayal is probably the saddest past of the Passion Week narrative. If you wonder about the relevance of this story for your Passion Week experience this year, remember how each of the disciples responded when Jesus told them that one of them would betray him. Instead of immediately guessing the betrayer was Judas, each of the disciples wondered whether he was the betrayer of whom Jesus was speaking. Just as Jesus’ prediction of Judas’ betrayal led the first disciples to introspection, so the story of Judas should lead us to examine our hearts this year. Apart from grace we are no better now than he was then.