Wednesday, January 23, 2008

I am Judas.

There are a handful of biblical characters I like to identify with from time to time.

Jonathan for instance, is a great model of faith in action. David, for his failures and subsequent return to the Lord. Joseph, for his endless patience and trust even when his path led through the depths of jail. There is no shortage of heroes in the Bible.

But what about the villains?

Clearly, satan must be listed as the first among their rank. Countless verses describe his evil, a mouth that only knew lies, hands that only knew pain. But besides him, who else is considered the "bad guy" in the Bible? Certainly Pharaoh and his enslavement of the Israelites. Baal and the pagan worshipers that prostituted themselves as his cloven feet. There are people groups that killed their children to different Gods and maybe without much thought our list of enemies in the word can grow long. But one that often sticks out is Judas.

Judas betrayed Christ with a kiss. Judas turned the Lord over to his eventual death. Judas sold the savior of the universe for only 30 pieces of silver. And here in my safe, comfortable little life it's easy to point the finger at Judas. To marvel at his depravity. To judge his willingness to sell Jesus for such a small sum.

And it was small, or at least that is what scholars argue. There is debate about shekels or drachmas or denariis and some authors place the value of those 30 pieces of silver at around $15,000. The value doesn't really matter though, because if I'm honest, I've sold Jesus for much less.

When I choose to watch a movie with questionable content, I am selling Jesus. When I engage in a conversation or mocking gossip that wounds others, I am selling Jesus. When I lie or exaggerate, I am selling Jesus. When I choose anger instead of forgiveness, worry instead of worship, impulse instead of prayer, I am selling Jesus.

At the end of the day, I have sold my savior for much less than $15,000. I am Judas. I am the one desperate for forgiveness. I am the one tempted. I am the one in need of grace.

And the next time I try to judge someone as a "bad guy," I hope I'll remember that.


Anonymous said...

wow. thank you. i am gonna be mulling over this for a long time...

robyn collins said...

and then thank Him for not allowing you to hang yourself to teach the world...