As we approach the night of Christ’s betrayal, we see the treachery unfolding already. In Matthew 26, after dinner with Simon the Leper, Judas can’t tolerate Jesus’ actions any longer. Jesus’ behavior and his waste of money and resources are too much for him and he looks for a solution to his frustration. How does he find it? In his pleasure of choice: money (John 12.6). Judas goes to the chief priests, who also are frustrated with Jesus, and he takes solace in 30 pieces of silver.
Judas puts Jesus’ “failures” at the forefront of his mind. He becomes consumed with having his passions answered. But the point of our faith isn’t to have our passions satisfied but to have them sacrificed. Satisfaction of our desires means that they will be sustained only for a short time, before the hunger returns. For Judas (as the gospels tell us), greed and monetary indulgence were part of Judas’ life already. What happens by the time Jesus’ betrayal goes down is that his hunger consumes him.
We fail twice. 1) We fail to understand sin, underestimating it’s effects and it’s hunger. 2) We fail to understand what Christ came to do. Jesus didn’t fail Judas, because Jesus didn’t come to appease Judas. Jesus came to appease God. And what is it that God wants? Restoration of his people for a relationship of love with God. Jesus came to save us—from ourselves, from sin, from Hell, but ultimately to save us TO God.
Judas had time to repent of his greed and his misuse of money, even up to the last second. But how does he act up to the end? The way he did from the beginning: selfishly. Judas took his own life, whereas Christ wanted to give him life. We gain our true life by laying down our false, self-created one. My challenge to you: if you’re anywhere near the exchange for your 30 pieces, there’s still time to leave it there. Walk away from the hunger and walk toward Jesus.
May it be so, O Lord.