Every so often, the awful news comes. Another one has left the faith. Walked away from God. Abandoned family and friends. Had an affair. Joined a cult. Gone off the deep end. Ended their life. Failed. Fallen. Denied Christ.
As with all sin, these tragedies threaten our churches, our ministry, our unity as the body of Christ, our name as “Christians,” and sometimes even our closest personal friendships.
Maybe that’s what it felt like to Peter, and James, and John, and the rest, when their twelfth friend turned on them out of nowhere. They had befriended Judas all along, and he was very much one of them. They may have had their suspicions, but when Jesus said, “One of you will betray me,” it seems they couldn’t imagine whom!
A loathsome jerk in the midst of Jesus’ closest friends? Seriously?
Have you ever thought about how or why Judas got involved with this group? Did it have to happen that way? Why does the gospel narrative involve a rotten reprobate? What shame!
From a serpent and a piece of coveted fruit . . . to a kiss and some coins . . . and now the story continues, as “one out of twelve” followers in our dainty little Christian bubbles turns, defames, and walks away to their death.
I pray it’s not one out of twelve, but some days it sure seems that way.
No matter the statistic, we must fight the inevitable realities, my friends, and make them not so. And when such horrors do invade our world, we must remember Judas. And with holy anger and abiding sorrow, we must rejoice still that the outcome of such atrocities was a victorious Savior and a glorious salvation.
My shame found me hiding in that perfect garden blaming anything that breathed. And my shame kissed Jesus with lying lips, gifting him to murderers.
Adam’s and Judas’ shame – and mine, too – held that Blessed Man there until it was accomplished.
Oh what God chooses to do with one out of twelve.
[image credit: pixabay.com]