Then one of the Twelve—the one called Judas Iscariot—went to the chief priests and asked, “What are you willing to give me if I deliver him over to you?” So they counted out for him thirty pieces of silver. From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand him over.Matthew 26:14-16
I have essentially two things I want to talk about today. The first is – or at least I intend for it to be – the context for everything. The second is a lesson that has been seeping through this week as we journey through the stories of Jesus’ passion.
This is a spectacularly beautiful spring here in Wake Forest. I have shared a series of posts over the past couple of weeks, featuring a lot of photographs, and if you have been paying attention at all you have to agree that 2023 has been special.
Just these three examples from my new camera should be enough:
Yesterday, then, when I was doing some gardening (which also means filling my eyes, mouth, throat, and lungs with pollen!) I stopped for a moment to look for a different perspective to share. The result is this short video that I hope communicates:
Jesus “Handed Over”
This Holy week meditation was sparked by a translation of the word “betrayal” a writer referenced in The Christian Century magazine. Instead of betrayal, he felt a truer representation of the original language, and the power of the story, would be “handed over.”
“So from that time [Judas] sought opportunity to betray Him (to hand Jesus over).”Matthew 26:16
The more I think about that, the more truth I see there. To hand something over – or somebody – is essentially an exchange.
Handing over is active. It’s a conscious choice. It’s a weighing of importance/preference/priorities. Judas “handed over” Jesus in exchange for some silver coins.
We may say that we would not could not ever “betray” Jesus. But what we do manage to do on a regular basis is to hand Jesus over in exchange for something else.
- I would rather have an extra $300/$400/$500/$600 a month than support the church financially. That’s an exchange.
- Exchange worship for another activity on Sunday mornings.
- Exchange prayer in favor of ten more minutes of television, or social media, or just about anything.
- Exchanging Jesus for politics in terms of what guides my thinking and priorities and speaking and acting….
This would be an easy list for any of us to expand.
Handing Jesus over. Choosing something ahead of Jesus. Betrayal.
As this week rolls forward, towards The Last Supper and then Christ’s arrest, let’s think about how – and why – we hand Jesus over so readily so much of the time.
Because He Lives – DEREK