I'm working on revisions for Wrestling with Wonder and added in little bit about Judas and the choices we make in the chapter about approaching the tombs in our lives. I was thinking about how we have the choice to approach our "tombs" with trembling, coming to Jesus even in our fear and sorrow, or we can be like Judas and run away from our failures, deny the truth, and end up dying in our despair.
We must come to the tomb, even when there seems no hope. Come, because Jesus is there . . .
And as I was pondering, I found an old story I wrote from Jesus' perspective, as if he's speaking to Jesus. I asked, "What would Jesus say to Judas . . .to you, and to me?" Would he condemn, despise . . . or speak of love and forgiveness, of hope, even on the eve of his betrayal?
Here's that old story:
Ah, Judas, what have you done? Did you not remember the days we walked together and talked together? Did you forget how we shared our sorrows, our victories, our dreams? Do you remember how your heart used to beat with mine, how much you loved me? You cared for me once. You believed. You loved. What happened to you, Judas? What have you done?
I know your frustration and your fear. I know the dreams that died in you. I have felt the stinging edge of your anger. Oh, Judas, through it all, I have loved you! When did it start, my friend? When did the doubts begin to eat away at your faith, until there was nothing left but betrayal? Was it when I treated you no differently than the others, gave you no higher place? Was not my love enough? Or, perhaps, the lure of the money box poisoned your soul? Was it worth it, Judas? When I did not conform to your demands, was that when your heart soured against me? Judas, do you know what you have lost?
I watched you beside me last night, and inside my heart I wept for you. If only my love could have brought you back to me. But it was too late, you had already been hardened by sin and satan. If only you had trusted me. If only you had not rejected my love. The mask you wore was a good one. No one else saw the intent in your heart. No one else dreamed of what you had planned. "Surely, not I, Lord," they all said. I saw you wince and turn away. Did you have your doubts then? Almost, you repented. But it was too late, your heart was committed to betrayal. How I ached for you!
Oh Judas, why do you betray me? Do you know my pain, my sorrow, my love for you? What more could I have done for you? Yet, you thrust it all aside, for what? What have you gained through your betrayal? Is the anger in your soul appeased? Your fear? Your frustration? Where are you now?
But Judas, you are no different than all the others. They will all betray me. Even my most beloved will turn the knife of betrayal in my heart. Judas, you are everyone, and they are you. No one is exempt. Will they see themselves in you and turn again to love me? Will they weep in repentance, or, like you, hang themselves with pride? Will they remember my love for them and turn from evil intent? Will they look to you and shudder, knowing that your fears are not far from their own? Yes, you are everyone, and they are you.
Judas, my friend, my betrayer, don't you know that I love you still, despite the thrusting knife of your betrayal.
Ah, Judas, have you not realized, this night I die for you. . .