Someone had to betray Christ. Someone had to set the wheels in motion.
Judas was a guy who tried to do good but like every other person who has ever lived.....he made mistakes. He betrayed his friend the same way any of us betrays someone who trust us; out of pain, fear, need and confusion.
Jesus knew that a betrayal was going to occur, perhaps he even understood that a betrayal was necessary to start the final chapter.
Jesus himself requested forgivenness for Judas and many others when he said:"Father. forgive them for they know not what they do."
If Jesus were here in my community right now, performing miracles, challenging authorities....I would be aftaid. Especially, if I were one of the 12. I would be deeply afraid. I like this guys ideas, he seems cool but he associating with the the lower levels of society, content with the company ofwackos, prostitutes and other disenfranchised people ( the working poor, AIDS sufferers). Openly loving them, holding and touching, sharing meals with them where ever they are.
He is challenging those who hold religious and political power by the simple facts of his daily choices. He is attracting attention. I am sitting in the midst of this, I believe in the "cause", I want to help the poor and someone is pouring expensive ointments on him when we have hungry people to feed, sick people to care for?
Maybe I am afraid, or jealous, or angry at the wasted money and and public reproof or confused by the constant refrences to betrayal?
Maybe, I get the idea that betraying is necessary so that something great can come of it.
Maybe, the miracles cause me to believe that he will in some spectacular way save himself and prove himself to the world.
Whatever was going on in my head and heart.....I make a choice.
Then, having betrayed my friend whom I love, I see what I have set in motion and am struck by a despair so profound that I kill myself.
If I am honest....Oh, yeah. I could betray Jesus...in a heartbeat.
In fact, if I am honest...I am Judas. I know far more than Judas did. I have the advantages of religious tradition, a faith and a trust in this aspect of God.....yet, I betray.
Judas was no better than me and unfortunately no worse. Judas and I are human, struggling to make sense of the life we lead, trying to do good and manage our internal turmoil and failing sometimes while succeeding at others. Judas recognized who Christ was while the others were blind until the resurrection.
In some traditions, Judas is respected and honored. I worshipped in a church that had 13 stained glass windows. One for each of the 12 Apostles and Judas. Who was depicted with one hand upraised in blessing, a stigmata on that hand. The other held 3 silver coins, a small pouch at his feet spilled forth more silver coins. He wore a square halo which was red. The red was for his blood not that of Jesus.