Tag Archives: Resurrection

Betrayal

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John 13:30 So he (Judas) took the morsel and left at once.  And it was night.

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Judas, one of the original twelve, Jesus right hand man and treasurer.  So many of us know him as the one who betrayed Christ.  Yes, Judas was the betrayer.  Yet through his story, we are challenged to look at our own “judases” in perhaps a new, softer light.

Who among us has not felt betrayed?  Have we not all seen betrayal doled out to others in our lifetime. In my own family, we had a betrayer.  A supposed man of God, baptized and baptizer, treasurer of his church, well respected in every circle he ingratiated himself into.  Yet this man was a man of horrible choices and severe personality disorder who raped and pillaged the women in his midst. Who even in his dying breath was violent in that he killed his wife in cold blood because she suffered Alzheimer’s and then shot himself, rather than asking for the respite he most definitely needed.  Like Judas, a man, who through the many choices in his life up to his last breath chose the darkness over the Light.

In my Bible study today, I was reminded of this man from my past as we talked about Jesus, washing feet, eating one last meal with loved ones, and of course Judas and betrayal.  It is Passover, and Jesus knew that His hour had finally arrived. (John 13:1)  He had humbled Himself to become man to teach us a new way to be.  He had performed signs and taught of love and forgiveness. We find him in the upper room, ready to share what He must surely know is His Last Supper with these twelve imperfect humans whom He has tried over the previous three years to teach and strengthen and love. Judas is there among The Twelve, with his life of poor choices, self interests, and frustration at not being able to make The Son of God adhere to his whims.  Had Judas not recently complained when Mary, the sister of Lazarus, had anointed Jesus feet out of her love for Him and her foreboding of the changing attitudes that would only mean death for her Teacher?  Judas, who is about to make a very horrific choice, is to become the betrayer of Emmanuel, God Among Us (His creation).

So it is time for a Passover meal and The Twelve are at the table, reclining, dirty feet and all on the cushions set at table, waiting to be served.  Jesus, who in coming to us as a simple man and having disrobed His Glory when arriving here as a mere Babe to a poor carpenter’s family, arises to humbly serve His Twelve, in love and respect He takes on the humble service normally provided by the lowest of servants.  He disrobes and pours the water in a basin, much like He will soon pour out His Blood for the forgiveness of our transgressions.  Ever so tenderly, He takes each precious foot and begins to wash it and then dry it with the towel around His waist.  No one is left out of this washing.  Not Peter with his protesting nor Judas with his betraying nor those who most likely sat there in awe wondering if they were His favorite.

Has anyone ever washed your feet?  I’m not talking the pedicure you just received from the local salon so your sandals look pretty in summer.  I am speaking of whether someone you respect as a good man has taken your feet into their hands and washed and dried them with a cloth around their waist.  I have had this happen twice while participating in our church’s Christ Renews His Parish retreat.  The last service at this retreat is when our priest washes each participants feet.  When Father Paul washed my feet, I cried.  I cried because, who was I to have my priest lower himself and touch my stinking, dirty feet. I cried because I knew that it was my job to go out and wash the feet of others.  An overwhelming task of which I alone am not worthy of undertaking.  Yet, I hold fast when trying to humbly serve The One Who Sent Me to His Promise “I am confident of this, that He who began a good work in (me) will carry it through to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6) Yet in our lesson today, Christ, The Son of God, The Messiah, The Savior of the World, Emmanuel, is washing feet of everyone, those who love Him and the one who will betray Him.

When Jesus is done with the foot washing, he arises and puts his outer garments on, much as He will put on His glory at the Resurrection.  He, The Teacher, who has given so much of Himself to the ones He loves, continues in these final hours to reach out to The Twelve to teach them a better way to live; a life of humble, simple acts of love to all, to the least, even to the betrayers.

Jesus then gives them a warning, a prediction, of sorts while feeling troubled that one of them will betray Him. Of course, none of The Twelve know of Judas stealing from their coffers nor of his hardened heart nor of his being tempted by satan and allowing satan to enter him.  They are confused and questioning.  Jesus does not condemn.  He does not bring to light in front of the others Judas’ sins in the past nor the sin he is about to partake in.  Jesus simply places a morsel of dipped bread into Judas’ hand.  Judas has been caught so to speak.  He must surely know that Jesus is on to him.  It is his last chance.  Confess!  Confess! is what I want to yell at him.  It is about choice.  Judas, you have the chance right now to make a different choice, change your heart and your ways.  Jesus is offering you with love and respect a different way to be, just as Jesus offers this to each of us no matter our sin.  Alas, Judas is a stubborn one with a plan of his own, and no willpower against the temptation of satan.  He leaves quickly and heads into the night, into the darkness, leaving the Light of the One who came to Save him behind in the upper room.  Jesus, the Light of the World, must surely know that all of The Twelve in the end will betray Him in their own way.  Yet, He continues on through these Last Hours showing love and forgiveness even unto His Final Hour.

So we are left with the knowledge that our choices will draw us closer to the Light of Christ or leave us wondering in the darkness.  Just like Judas, our life is made up of a multitude of choices every moment of every day.  These choices will culminate into the whole of our life.  A life, if we choose, of living in the Light of God or wandering in the night of separation from His Light.  “As long as it is day, (we) must do the works of Him who sent (us).” ( John 9:4 )  Those works include how we deal with our judases.  Are we filled with anger, condemnation, darkness?  Do we plot our revenge so that everyone might know of the hurt we have been dealt?  Do we hold that grudge for eternity?  I’d like to think that though we are human and prone to grudge holding anger, we might look to Jesus and walk in His Light of humble love and respect. It is not our place to condemn nor judge.  It is God’s place to judge with a Holy Judgment at the time He sees fit.  For God does not leave us to deal with our judases alone.  He strengthens us and endures our pain with us, no matter the situation.  He also provides us with an unending peace that surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:7) when we give Him the darkness and stay to the Light.

Though many were angry when the man in my family passed, I was not angry, nor filled with condemnation for him.  Rather, I was then and most days still am filled with an incredible sadness that he chose as an example for his life the same darkness that Judas chose.  So many choices he made could have been different and would have brought him despite his sin to Christ.  Jesus, who watched over this man’s life as He watched over Judas’ life would have welcomed both of them Home to Him had they only realized their sin and asked forgiveness from the Great Forgiver.  If Jesus had been willing to forgive them, then who am I to hold on to my unforgiveness?

Praying that each of you find your path to forgiveness with the judases in your life.

May you find Gratitude and Peace in every moment,

Joan

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Via Dolorosa, Way of Sorrows

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Stations of the Cross

i.  Jesus is condemned to death.

 

condemned

sinless Lamb of God

innocently guilty

unafraid, blameless, yet condemned

sinless Lamb of God

you take away the sin of mankind.

majestic reign

humbled as Perfect Sacrifice

sinless Lamb of God

Savior


 ii.  Jesus carries his cross.

 

cross

i am forgiven

sin, separation

my burden is heavy

i am forgiven

daily, Jesus carries my cross with his

grace given

faulty footsteps following Him

i am forgiven

salvation

 

iii.  Jesus falls for a first time.

 

fall

your majesty protects

weakened, vulnerable

most powerful Jesus falling

your majesty protects

God’s weakness is stronger than man’s strength

Angel strengthened

sinless burdened with sin

your majesty protects

Arise

 

iv.  Jesus meets his mother.

 

Mary

full of Grace

humble, willing

Ark of the Covenant

full of grace

knowing Jesus would be about God’s work

prayerful submission

in this suffering moment

full of grace

obedient

 

v.    Simon helps Jesus carry His cross.

 

simon

carrying His burden

human weakness

your cross bearing shoulders

carrying His burden

offering your strength to the Son of Man

comforting the Great Comforter

carrying His burden

servant

 

vi.  Veronica wipes the face of Jesus.

 

veronica

gentlewoman’s loving kindness

tender mercy

wiping His sacred blood

gentlewoman’s loving kindness

mark of Jesus’ love imprinted on her

veiled image

offering all she had

gentlewoman’s loving kindness

compassion

 

vii.  Jesus falls a second time.

 

downtrodden

we all fall

oppressed, persecuted

the Lord lifts up

we all fall

come you weary and burdened to Him

Jesus fell

the burden so great

we all fall

arise

 

viii. Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem

 

weeping

tender mercy of God

Jesus’ suffering

let us weep too

tender mercy of God

along the road He saw ALL women

reaching out

compassion, healing for them

tender mercy of God

comforting

 

ix.  Jesus falls a third time

 

weakened

falls…falls…falls

Jesus carries

every sinner’s tragic fall

falls…falls…falls

twisting, winding sorrowful way to God’s glory

Spotless Victim

undelivered from wicked hands

falls…falls…falls

arise

 

x.  Jesus is stripped of his garments.

 

naked

nothing separates us

vulnerable, indignant

God is with us

nothing separates us

Love of God is with us ALWAYS

embarrassment, shame

God is with us

nothing separates us

Love

 

xi.  Jesus is nailed to the cross

cross

Christ lifted high

Fragrant Offering

Divine Love for us

Chris lifted high

my redemption is found in the cross

Perfect Sacrifice

all people drawn to Jesus

Christ lifted high

crucifixion

 

xii.  Jesus dies on the cross.

 

death

arms spread wide

humble submission

as He embraced all

arms spread wide

may His sacrifice bring gratitude and peace

every moment

into this sinner’s heart

arms spread wide

rebirth

 

xiii.  Jesus is taken down from the cross.

 

dismounted

holiest of sorrow

unbearable task

burial of our Lord

holiest of sorrow

joseph, nicodemus, love won out over fear

profound grief

Mary held her son

holiest of sorrow

Pieta

 

xiv.  Jesus is placed in the tomb.

 

burial

laid to rest

joseph’s tomb

Jesus wrapped in linen

laid to rest

we grieve his death.  God promises life.

stone closed

yet opened and empty

laid to rest

Resurrection

 

xv.  The resurrection of Jesus

 

Resurrection

go to Galilee

empty tomb

intense desire to encounter Jesus

go to Galilee

now let us be on our way

Risen Lord

Holy Light overcame darkness

go to Galilee

proclamation