Letter to Judas
“One of the twelve, Judas, went to the clergy and asked,
‘What will you give me to betray Jesus?’
The clergy gave thirty pieces of silver,
about $7500, to Judas for the job.
During Passover, Jesus instituted what we now call The Lord’s Supper.
During the meal, He said, ‘One of you will betray Me.’
One after another, each disciple asked, ‘Is it me, Lord?’
When Judas asked, Jesus said, ‘Yes.’
When Judas realized what he had done, he changed his mind.
He tried to undo what he had done by trying to give the
blood money back to the clergy. He cried, ‘I have
sinned.’ The clergy replied, ‘We could care less
about you. If you don’t want the money, we
can always find something to do with it.’
They used the money to buy a cemetery for strangers.
Judas hung himself.”
I have never baptized a baby named after you.
That’s a clue!
Everybody knows you as the greatest traitor in history.
It’s hard to believe you were so close to Him – one of only twelve men who got to know Him better than anybody else at that time as you traveled and studied with Him for three years – and still conspired with clergy to kill Him.
We know why clergy wanted to kill Him.
They hated Him for challenging their religion. He made fun of their religious traditions, clothes, sense of entitlement, legalism, and said they were twice as fit for hell as people that they got to buy into their religion.
They were jealous of His increasing popularity and reports that He could raise the dead, give sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, exorcise demons, control storms, heal all kinds of diseases, and perform all kinds of miracles.
They hated His message; because while they were saying you have to earn salvation by doing good things, He said it’s impossible to do enough good works to warrant salvation and that all anyone has to do be assured of salvation is trust in Him as Lord and Savior. The clergy, who are always coming up with rules to suit their prejudices and fancies, talked about salvation as something to be earned. Jesus talked about it as something anyone can receive by grace through faith in Him.
That’s why they hated Him.
He wasn’t religious by their standards.
What about you?
Why did you betray Him?
I know you didn’t do it for the money; or you would have kept it.
You were too smart to say the devil made you do it.
Maybe you were tired of waiting for Jesus to take on church and state and decided to force His hand.
I don’t know.
Like everyone who has ever betrayed Him, by what they’ve said and done or haven’t said and done, everybody’s motivations, intentions, ignorance, and irresponsibility about their eternal consequences just come down to living like He doesn’t really matter now and then.
Using a kiss to target Him for those contracted to take Him out was especially repulsive.
God being love and Jesus being the greatest expressed enfleshment of that love betrayed by a symbol of allegiance and affection is as grotesquely ironic as today’s Christians in name only who hate each other in a Christian kinda way and don’t even blush; reminding me of my buddy Harold who often warned me in the early years of ministry, “The most dangerous people in the world are people who have no shame.”
Maybe that’s why today’s traitors are especially uncomfortable with that question begging affirmation, “Is it me, Lord?”
Every time we don’t love like He loved – mercifully, compassionately, graciously, forgivingly, redemptively, sacrificially, selflessly, lovingly – we’re more akin to you than Him.
Like you, we can show up in a worship service or two and maybe even be listed on a church membership roll or any number of other religious shows of loyalty that are proven meaningless by not really giving to Him what He wants the most – our hearts.
If there’s anything that we’ve learned from you, it’s that betraying Jesus without confessing it and repenting from it will kill us in the end.
Your suicide is repeated daily whenever people reject Jesus or ignore Jesus or defy Jesus or turn from Jesus and to anyone or anything less than Jesus for safety, security, survival, and salvation.
Martha urged me long ago, “You love ‘em and let God judge ‘em; but love ‘em enough to tell ‘em that God will judge ‘em.”
Well, I didn’t get a chance to warn you; but I’m gonna take her advice and not pretend to know what God has done with your soul.
All I know is He’s always proven to be far more forgiving than anybody that I know; including me.
So maybe Buechner was right: “There is a tradition…that his suicide was based not on despair but on hope…[that somewhere somehow Judas and Jesus would meet up again]…only this time it…[would be]…Jesus who was the one to give the kiss, and this time it…[wouldn’t be]…the kiss of death that was given.”
Don’t know for sure; but I do know He is far more forgiving than most anybody, including me and most self-proclaimed Christians, and maybe Tony was right when he said to me, “I’ve had this vision that God greets people who’ve committed suicide and says, ‘Welcome! I know it was too hard for you down there. It was almost too hard for Me. Welcome!’”
I don’t know if that’s true; but it sounds a lot better than some of the other things that I’ve heard about Him from people who’ve created religions about Him without the benefit of a relationship with Him.
God knows it’s more true to Him than you were.
I just hope that when I hear that question again – “Is it me, Lord?” – I’ll know I’ve been more true to Him than you.
Part of the Family
Blessings and Love!
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