Isaiah 50:4-9 /Psalm 69:8-10,21-22,31,33-34 / Matthew 26:14-25
The first reading from the book of Isaiah today foretold in astonishing detail, the treatment Jesus received during his trial and crucifixion by the Jewish people. The Lord was well trained in the scriptures and was a good public speaker. However in the gospel readings from Sunday and today as well, Jesus allowed his accusers to answer their own question. Pilot and Herod asked Jesus if he was the king of the Jews, but he turned the question back around and said “you said so”. Jesus did the same in today’s gospel when Judas asked him if it was he was the one that would betray him. Jesus answered “you have said so”. It’s like the Lord was saying, “you said it, not me”. In other words, you know the truth so why are you asking me? It’s like Jesus knew the words that they themselves spoke, would one day come back to convict them at their own judgment.
We need to be careful what we say to other people, even if it is the truth. Our words do not just find fault with the other person, but will also be turned around to either convict or acquit us at our own judgment before God one day. Do the words that we speak to others build them up or tear them down? Maybe we should pause before we point out the truth in someone and ask ourselves that question. When we tell someone the truth is it an act of love and concern, and we truly desire the good for another person? Or am I speaking the truth just to hurt the other person, maybe to feel better about myself? Sometimes people spout off something unkind to another person when a group of people are watching, just to make themselves look better.
In Judas’ case in the gospel today, he didn’t just make himself look better in front of the chief priests because of his privileged position in Christ’s inner circle, but he also wanted to benefit from it monetarily. He must have felt very powerful indeed, to be able to turn over such an important public figure to the authorities.
And the disciples, they were so naive and gullible that no one even noticed his strange behavior, but Jesus did. You can fool some of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool the Lord. Judas was among them the whole time, yet no one in their group seems to have befriended him, because they didn’t know what he was up to. That would have been a hard secret to keep from a close friend. This too is something for us to think about, especially with the widespread violent crimes in our society. Chances are that we also know a loner who just doesn’t seem to connect with those around them very well. In our country, the worst crimes are often committed by loners that act on their own and the people closest to them didn’t even have a clue as to what they were thinking.
Jesus called him out on it though. Jesus acknowledged to Judas that he knew what was going on. Dark secrets need to be brought to the light to be confronted and dealt with before they can ever be healed. But, Judas’ heart had hardened so much that he had to pretend that he still had one, when he said “Surely it is not I, Rabbi?”
The moment we quit focusing on Jesus, and the people around us and start focusing mostly on ourselves, is the moment we begin to move away from our rightful place in heaven. Small steps lead us away from loving God and one another and we do not ever want to end up in a place, where we too wish we had never been born. For we were born to love God and one another and spend eternity together in our Father’s kingdom. Let us not get distracted from that today and work toward being interested and involved in the lives of the people around us, as we journey toward to our Father’s Kingdom.