Our church, The Branch, has been journeying in the shadows of Jesus through the Book of John since May of this year and it definitely has been thrilling rediscovering the heart of God through Him, as well as, learning new things about His humanness. From Jesus’ sarcastic remarks toward the Pharisees to His ninja-like skills evading the crowds when they wanted to make Him king, it’s comforting to know that Jesus has been in our shoes on many occasions.
But one story that tells the tale of our humanness is the struggle that Judas went through post the betrayal.
The disciple in charge of the treasury felt immediate remorse for his actions after seeing His Teacher brutally beaten and left for dead. He gave into the temptation of money and felt guilty almost immediately after the famous kiss.
Judas, as a result of the inner turmoil, threw back the thirty pieces of silver and hung himself.
As we reflect on the decisions that Judas made, it’s easy to look at him as the ultimate bad guy in the story of heroes and villains. It’s easy to write Judas off as a person deserving of his actions and to condemn him to hell, which I’m not quite sure he’s currently a resident of. It’s easy to look at Judas and tell ourselves that we would never betray Jesus, let alone commit suicide for our remorseful actions.
It’s easy to distance ourselves from him.
But I’d be lying if I said I’ve never contemplated the idea. With the pressures of ministry, managing a print shop and making sure my family is taken care of, giving up and ending it all seems like the easy route. Sure my family would be left in a bind, my boss would have to find a replacement and my faith community would have to find a new place to call home, but, at least, I’d be off the hook. Selfish? Sure. But there are days when I just want to hang it up and call it quits. There are moments, after the bills are all paid and I look at what’s left, and think to myself…this life I’ve chosen isn’t worth it. There are tiring days of work where I have nothing left to give to ministry and guiltiness creeps in because I can’t dedicate time to our church. Similar to my family, the two external works sometimes consumes me so much that I feel bad that my family doesn’t get my best.
Following in the footsteps of Judas just seems easier at times.
Will I ever pull the trigger? Probably not. I just don’t see myself having the guts to. But there sure are days when I’m “this” close.
At the end of it all, what does keep me going is my amazing family (three crazy kids and all). My gorgeous wife who challenges me, messes around with me, and laughs with me keeps me inspired. Her love fuels me. My kids’ smiles lift me up. Their tears of joy and sadness simply make me want to wrap my arms around them every chance I get. And my faith community, eager to discover Jesus together, drives me forward.
But one thing is for certain. There’s a Judas in all of us that we all have to first acknowledge. We can’t ignore the fact. Because once we do, I truly believe owning up to it will help us through those difficult moments in life.