Delivered on April 13, 2022 at Christ Church, Alexandria, VA
Scripture: John 13:21-32
Betrayal is an awful feeling and many of us are certainly unsympathetic and maybe even angry at Judas after hearing and reading this Gospel text. It is hard to see God working in this passage. It appears to be a pretty sad story in the history of our faith, to say the least. Friend betraying friends – man betraying God – one person’s selfishness embodying all that it means to resist God’s love.
And yet, I find it interesting that out of all the works of Christ, all the miracles that were performed, all the signs that Christ gave during his life on Earth, all the lives that were changed through encounters with Jesus, it is in this moment of betrayal that Jesus says, "Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him.”
The disciples were expecting Judas to do the work that Jesus inspired them to do– to buy supplies in order to break bread together; to give something to the poor – the things that we think (even today) are the righteous things to do. Yet, Jesus knew that Judas would rebel and would be glorified because of it.
Our faith is rooted in the idea that from the beginning we have misused our freedom and made wrong choices and yet God still gives himself to suffer for our sake.
The story of this interaction between Judas and Jesus reminds us that even in our resistance to the revelation that is right in front of us, God will still work to save us. Our salvation is not about what we can do. While one of Jesus’ closest friends was carrying out what would go down as one of the most infamous betrayals in history, Jesus himself was carrying out the most spectacular victory of all time. While we ignore the grace and love of God today, God still finds a way to work despite us or through us.
And as the Psalmist reminds us, despite all that we want to do to put ourselves in the place of God, our help is still right in front of us. Thanks be to God. Amen.