Immediately, while he was still speaking, Judas, one of the twelve, arrived; and with him there was a crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders. Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, ‘The one I will kiss is the man; arrest him and lead him away under guard.’ So when he came, he went up to him at once and said, ‘Rabbi!’ and kissed him. Then they laid hands on him and arrested him. But one of those who stood near drew his sword and struck the slave of the high priest, cutting off his ear. Then Jesus said to them, ‘Have you come out with swords and clubs to arrest me as though I were a bandit? Day after day I was with you in the temple teaching, and you did not arrest me. But let the scriptures be fulfilled.’ All of them deserted him and fled. A certain young man was following him, wearing nothing but a linen cloth. They caught hold of him, but he left the linen cloth and ran off naked.
Betrayal hurts, it unravels friendships and trust.
The tragedy of how the Easter story unfolds on the way to the Cross is littered with betrayals.
If we’re tempted to put ourselves in the shoes of any of the disciples would/could we have done any better? Would we have stayed awake in the garden? Would we have denied we knew Jesus? Would we have sold him for a few silver coins?
Who knows what motivated Judas to end up wanting to hand over someone who he had followed for three years. Surely it wasn’t about the payment?
Was it frustration and maybe a realisation that Jesus wasn’t going to overturn the rule of Rome with Pilate and the puppet King Herod, he wasn’t going to fight like a warrior to establish a more just and fair earthly Kingdom.
Is this Easter a chance to atone for our betrayals? An opportunity to forgive those who we feel have betrayed us?
If we ever feel unwelcome around the table to join and take the bread and wine for whatever reason then “let this house proclaim from roof to rafter, all are welcome…” Or maybe we feel too welcome, it has become too comfortable and routine?
What the road to Golgotha shows us is that even those who have doubted, failed to trust or betrayed, those who have run away or not stood up for Jesus can find redemption and salvation. It can take bravery on our part to accept that need to repent or atone and then to display the humility and openness to accept a fresh start.
For those who are already perfect, walk on by there’s nothing for you to see here. But for the rest of us, this is hope snatched from despair, this is comfort snatched from grief and this is life conquering death.
God of salvation and redemption Meet us on the road the cross Where we are carrying burdens, help us to lay them at your feet If we are forcing burdens onto others forgive us Help us to find a way to step from despair to hope From grief to solace And from death to life Amen