One of the Twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot,
went to the chief priests and said,
“What are you willing to give me
if I hand him over to you?”
They paid him thirty pieces of silver,
and from that time on he looked for an opportunity
to hand him over.
Often on Palm Sunday, I think of Jesus parading in on a donkey, the palms waving in respect, and the beginning of the best and the worst week of his life. So, today when I read the beginning of the Gospel, I realized that my focus went to Judas.
Judas, the traitor.
My eyes couldn’t move past that part of the scripture.
Judas comment, “What are you willing to give me, if I hand him over?” was pretty telling of where Judas was in life. He was looking for an opportunity, but what opportunity exactly?
Judas was confused, scared, and falling into the hands of materialism and pride. Money and pride can get the best of anyone, but for Judas he would go down in history as the worst friend ever.
Judas is known by almost every Christian – even children – as someone NOT to be. It is easy to pretend that achieving the low status of Judas is next to impossible, but is it?
“I may be bad, but I am never as bad as Judas. Have you ever thought that to yourself before?”
Yet, I have been Judas.
I have hurt others reputations by talking about them and selling them out. It wasn’t the Son of God I was doing it to, but it was the children of God.
People sell out people all the time. It doesn’t even take someone who needs money to sell out someone else. As a society, we cast blame on others, we take money from those who need it most, we take bribes to do things we normally wouldn’t do, and we sell off someone else’s reputation to make us look better.
You might think – not me, I am never Judas.
Unfortunately, Judas is more relatable than you think. He is representative of our humanness. He comes into the story of Jesus for a reason. We are to reflect on him – not to say we will never be like him – but to say we are just like him. Jesus forgive us.
What we cannot copy is his end path. Judas allowed sin to bog down his soul. He could no longer live with himself. Instead of asking forgiveness from Jesus, Judas took his life. Can you imagine Jesus ever saying no to Judas asking for forgiveness? Even throughout the story of Judas, I can feel Jesus’ compassion and empathy for Judas’ sinfulness. Jesus feels the weight of Judas’ sin.
Jesus feels the weight of our sin too. No matter what it is. He feels our pain, our sorrow, and the weight of our burdens.
So, as you think of waving your palms today – think of waving down Jesus to ask forgiveness. Think of your palms as a sign that you are a sinner, and you need Jesus. Don’t let the weight of your sin bog you down like Judas. Think of your palms as a way to get Jesus’ attention and say, “Yes, I have been Judas.”
Come, forgive me.