Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Lenten Reflection 1 (and Week 9 of Only One Thing)

Since this is the Bible Study for Bad Christians, I think it is only fair to feature one of the most villainous characters in the New Testament:


It must have been super uncomfortable around the Passover table when Jesus laid this zinger on his Disciplines:

"Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me, one who is eating with me" (Mark 14:18)

Their responses are Surely, not I! Is it you? Or him? Or you? Is this guy totally paranoid or what? None of US would ever betray Jesus of Nazareth. Who would do such a thing?

They all look around, hoping they are not one who will lead their teacher to the cross. Praying it is someone other than themselves. 

Of course, we all know the truth. Judas betrays Christ. Peter denies him. Pilate condemns him to death. Judas hangs himself . Christ dies. Then He is risen. 

We move through the story each Lenten season for 40 days. Every time I heard the story of the Last Supper, I hear it:

Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me, one who is eating with me.

It is harsh. It is shocking. It is brutally honest. 

Judas betrays Christ for a few coins. I've betrayed Christ for a lot less. 

I betray Christ hourly. Minute by minute there are little betrayals; some days the list of betrayals are endless. I betray him with my fear, with my doubt, with silence and with my voice. I betray my Savior, while he sits at the table offering me bread. 

While the story of Christ’s crucifixion focuses on the betrayal of o Judas---the truth of the matter is that we are all traitors. We can look around and hope he is talking about someone else; but he is talking right to us. 

Truly I tell you, you will betray me.

Christ knows who we are—he was, after all, one of us.

Truly I tell you, you will betray me. 

It sounds like a condemnation. But, really, really, what if it is not? What if this is just the truth we need to know and understand.  What if he is saying:

Truly I tell you, you will betray me. But, I love you still. 

I often wonder, why was Judas in such a hurry to end it all. What would have happened if he simply waited it out—sat with his sin, owned it and waited to see what Christ had for him.

But, instead,  Judas races to his own death before he can see how the story of Christ really ends. He forgets all the things Christ predicts; he forgets all the lessons he was taught and instead he tosses everything away in one final moment of weakness and sin. 

He heard: Truly I tell you, you will betray me and I will punish you.

He did not heard: Truly I tell you, you will betray me and I will love you, still. 

Lent is a about making a choice—we can either hang from the noose with Judas or we can walk away from tomb with Christ. 

We can live with our own betrayal, the same betrayal that led to the crucifixion and waiting for the forgiveness that comes with resurrection. We can live for 40 days and nights knowing that we will betray Christ, but that he loves us still.

When we are patient and repentant and ask for God's forgiveness, when we give ourselves fully to God, we can simply walk away from the darkness and walk hand-in-hand with Christ to the life everlasting. 

As I begin my annual Lenten reflection, I am going to be honest with my betrayal—but I won’t let it hang me. Sin that is not repented becomes the noose around our neck. Sin that is forgiven becomes a hand we can grasp in the night. 

And it is that hand, that I plan to take straight past the empty tomb and right to the love of the Father. 

Thanks be to God. 

Wonder what you've stumbled upon? Catch up on Only One Thing, the Bible Study for Bad Christians  here.


  1. today is Ash Wednesday and a good day to read this. thanks for the post! good things to think about and forgiveness.

  2. I think it's always good to reflect.