As Lent began I shared my reflection on a ‘Character of the Crucifixation’, Peter. This past week I read two more reflections from the book about Judas and the High Priests. Judas’ story reflects some of the spiritual struggle of following Jesus, just as Peter’s life depicted. However, Judas and the High Priest figures also bring out the political shadow of the passion of Jesus. There are great lessons here.
There is the spiritual side of Judas’ life, of course, but, in the end, it was a betrayal of Jesus with political consequences. He helped destroy the threat to the establishment. It is estimated that Judas received about $10 (in today’s money) for turning in Jesus to the authorities. That was the going rate of payment for criminals. Somewhat like the bounty hunter theory. Judas began the death march of Jesus.
He is somewhat, in my mind, the personification of our dark sides. The human side of us that sometimes can not stand up to the temptations. It is sometimes all about ‘me’ rather than Jesus. In the end it was more than Judas could handle and he killed himself. Lent reminds us to embrace our dark sides with a repentance and desire for renewal.
What is the lesson for us? It calls me to be authentic to my beliefs, my sense of justice and my focus on the way of Jesus in my life. It calls me to face the challenges, to follow my heart even if it seems to be drowned out by pressures around me. Don’t sell Jesus short, don’t give in to others but remain steadfast in our desire to know Jesus beyond all else. Let Him show us the way we should go.
(The High Priests continue Judas’ betrayal by condemnng Jesus. The High Priest office was powerful, prestigious and passed on to sons, grandsons through generations. Like most politicans, High Priests (Annas and his son-in-law, Caiaphas) were entrenched in the system. They were caught between the officials, the religious elite and the people. At any rate, the High Priests gave into the voices of betrayal to condemn Jesus to death. However, they did not have to get ‘dirty’ as the death sentence was carried out by others. But, for me, the High Priests illustrate the whole politics of Jesus passion. Dirty politics with many lobbyists such as the Pharisees, Saducess , government officials etc.)