It seems likely that it was this day during the week that Judas makes his decision to betray Jesus to the religious authorities. Was he just an evil man who wanted to destroy Jesus? Was he in it just for the money? Was he bitter about not having been selected for more leadership (even if he was the group treasurer)? Was he a zealot, hoping to push Jesus to begin a violent uprising to overthrow the occupying Roman forces? Was he simply trying to force Jesus’ hand, to make him finally act and bring about this kingdom of God of which he so often spoke?
Jesus spoke about the divisive promise of his words when he taught about the mission he gave to his disciples and the fear and persecution that most likely would face.
34 “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.
35 For I have come to set a man against his father,
and a daughter against her mother,
and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law;
36 and one’s foes will be members of one’s own household.
37 Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; 38 and whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it. Matthew 10:34-39
Considering the hardness of his words, it’s not just Judas who face such a temptingly tough question of faithfulness to the teaching. We too are faced with the conundrum of continuing, of how faithful to be to the teaching, of how to live out what we suspect, trust or have accepted as truth. In Giotti’s famous fresco of the betrayal of Judas by a kiss inserted above, it’s composed to show Jesus as the center as the dividing line.
Questions for Examen
- Who and where do you struggle with what Jesus teaches? Where it might seem wrong?; or even just to be too much?
- How has the teaching of Jesus been divisive in your life, relational circles, our world? How has it been unifying and/or life-giving?
- What are you carrying in this season as the burden that might blind or bind you, keeping you from trusting Jesus, of walking his Way with openness, teachability, and a desire to serve?