Judas was not a prostitute born
into a broken social context. He was
not a tax collector who simply needed
a new lease on life. When we think of
Judas, we don’t think of the endearing
brokenness often characterized in the
writings of folks like Donald Miller and
Anne Lamott. Judas’ sin is at the level
of unthinkability. When I think of Judas I
think of pedophiles, serial killers and the
global banking system.
When I think of Judas, I think of the
kind of evil that requires Satan to enter
your soul (Luke 22: 3). This is the kind of
sin where once you have committed it
you feel your only option left for you is to
end your own life (Matthew 27: 5). And
yet, despite the fact that the Devil himself has entered Judas, despite that the
fact Jesus knows all that Judas plans
on doing, Judas has his feet washed by
Jesus, and shares in the final supper of
his Lord and Saviour.
Why does Jesus do this? Judas has
no redeeming quality here. He does not
repent of his current and future actions
and denies he is even involved, even
when Jesus calls him out on it (Matthew
26: 25). Judas betrays the one who gave
all things life. When we ask questions
like Would God forgive Hitler? Judas is
the first person who comes to my mind.
When thinking about Judas and his
relationship to Jesus, I see Judas as a
figure for all the great evil found in both
Scripture and history. Judas represents
the men who rape, beat and chop the
unnamed woman in Judges 19 into little
pieces; he is King David as he sends
Bathsheba’s husband into certain death
( 2 Samuel 11); he is the Rwandan
genocide where fellow Christians rape
and murder their brothers and sisters
in the faith.
All we know is that
Jesus loved him.
And Jesus, the King of Kings, the Lord
of Lords, the ultimate image of all that
is good in the world, has the disturbing
audacity to share his final meal with the
man, to wash his feet and leave him to
complete his evil purpose (John 13: 27).
So why is Judas at the table? Why is
he included in the final meal of Jesus’
dearest and closest friends? The sim-
plest answer is because Jesus loved
him. In spite of all Judas has and will do,
Jesus loved him. We have no indication
as to whether Judas ends up in heaven
or hell. His ultimate destination remains
in the knowledge of God alone. All we
know is that Jesus loved him. Jesus
washes his feet as his servant, and eats
his final meal with him as he would with
a brother and a friend.
This is the mystery of Jesus. In His
death and resurrection, God’s loving
wrath is poured out on the sin and
brokenness of all creation; God’s justice
and His grace are reconciled as one.
The consequences of Judas’ sin ripple
into all reality, just as God’s love for all
creation extends into the very depths of
hell (Romans 8: 39).
It is important for to us remember that
the call of the Christian life is not to declare
who is the sinner and who is the saved.
The Christian life is not primarily about
human holiness (though it is certainly a
by-product), but it’s about recognizing
God’s unending and undeserved love
for us, and going out into the world as
messengers for this love.
at the Table?
By: Jesse Hove