Here is the reflection for Tuesday in Holy Week from Churches Together in North Baddesley. It is given by Ali Tuft from True Life Church.
We’re going talking about Judas a bit in this reflection this is day two of the Churches Together in North Baddesley reflections throughout Holy Week. We’re going through the final chapters of the book of Matthew looking at the Holy Week narrative and I’m going to read today from Matthew 26 verses 47 to 56.
Jesus is betrayed and arrested
And even as Jesus said this, Judas, one of the twelve disciples, arrived with a crowd of men armed with swords and clubs. They had been sent by the leading priests and elders of the people. The traitor, Judas, had given them a prearranged signal: “You will know which one to arrest when I greet him with a kiss.” So Judas came straight to Jesus. “Greetings, Rabbi!” he exclaimed and gave him the kiss.
Jesus said, “My friend, go ahead and do what you have come for.”
Then the others grabbed Jesus and arrested him. But one of the men with Jesus pulled out his sword and struck the high priest’s slave, slashing off his ear.
“Put away your sword,” Jesus told him. “Those who use the sword will die by the sword. Don’t you realise that I could ask my Father for thousands of angels to protect us, and he would send them instantly? But if I did, how would the Scriptures be fulfilled that describe what must happen now?”
Then Jesus turned to the crowd and said: “Am I some dangerous revolutionary, that you come with swords and clubs to arrest me? Why didn’t you arrest me in the Temple? I was there teaching every other day. But this is all happening to fulfill the words of the prophets as recorded in the Scriptures.” At that point, all the disciples deserted him and fled.
Judas is an interesting character in the Bible one of the most um despised characters in the Bible. His name has even come into like common parlance with calling people at Judas. Um I remember certain footballers, when followed football more in my youth, moving from one club to another and then when they’d go and and they’d play the team that they used to play for the fans of the team that they left would shout ‘Judas, Judas’ every time they touched the ball
but we have to remember that Judas was chosen by Jesus. Judas was one of the twelve that Jesus called, he left everything that he knew he left his
whole life behind him in order to follow this man Jesus. When the twelve was sent out on mission and empowered by the Holy Spirit to cast out demons and heal the sick – Judas was one of those people.
There’s not one sentence in the Bible that says ‘and the twelve was sent out on mission apart from Judas who was going to betray him so they left him out’. Judas was fully part of the disciples all throughout Jesus’s public ministry for his three years. Someone once wrote that Judas saw the clearest evidence, heard the finest teaching, followed the greatest example, and yet this man still betrayed Jesus.
I think one of the biggest hints that we have as to why this might be the case; why um why this man who spent so much time with one of the greatest historical figures the that has ever lived and the one who Christians like us believe was the Son of God the Messiah that was to come.
I believe that there’s a hint in how he referred to Jesus throughout the Last Supper narratives and then again at the beginning of this passage where all of the disciples are calling Jesus Lord, Lord surely not me Lord if you’re gonna wash my feet wash my whole body Lord we we would never desert you – Judas can only refer to Jesus as teacher. Something very significant is
yet to happen and we find out won’t happen in the life and heart of Judas.
Judas recognised Jesus’s general authority but he didn’t accept the personal authority that Jesus should have over his life. All of the other disciples refer to him as Lord they had submitted to him fully they had given their lives their hearts their everything to Jesus and following him and following his example but here we see Judas holding something back in stark contrast to the others he cannot call him Lord.
We see throughout the Gospels that Judas was always looking for what he could gain from following Jesus he was in charge of the purse and he would quite often skim from the top we’re told um, money for himself and he even looked to make money out of betraying Jesus. The true understanding of the gospel is not what we can gain from following him but how we can submit our full selves to his lordship.
There is a cost to discipleship that must be accepted before we can gain the life that Jesus promises. In the same way that Jesus died in order to be resurrected we too must die to ourselves there is a cost to our discipleship Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Bonhoeffer, sorry in ‘The Cost of Discipleship’ the great book that many of read many refer to, says this
Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought again and again and again, the gift which must be asked for, the door at which a man must knock. Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ. It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life. It is costly because it condemns sin, and grace because it justifies the sinner. Above all, it is costly because it cost God the life of his Son: ‘Ye were bought at a price’, and what has cost God much cannot be cheap for us. Above all, it is grace because God did not reckon his Son too dear a price to pay for our life, but delivered him up for us. Costly grace is the Incarnation of God.”
I want to encourage you in this reflection to examine your heart. Is there anything that you’re holding back? And to submit once again to the lordship of Christ he paid the price for you what should we pay what should we give up what should we count as nothing in our submitting to him.
Bless you all this Easter