With Easter just a few days behind us, reflection on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ are still in the forefront of many minds, and continue as a topic of conversation and debate. Listening to the commentary of some, I often marvel at how extremely short-sighted we are, even as we criticize the apostles’ lack of vision.
Take for example, the hatred we have for Judas Iscariot. The ironic thing about that relationship is that Jesus still loved him as a brother. He knew Judas had never fully let himself enter in to a full relationship with Christ, and, he knew that Judas was one of the keys to ensuring that God’s plan for humanity came to fruition. I wonder sometimes what Judas was really like as a man; why he couldn’t open his heart in the light of all the miracles and grace he experienced firsthand? What was his childhood like? Was he truly an angry, evil person, or a man who could never get past his own pain? In the end, who Judas realized he had been, drove him to end his own life.
Sometimes, I wonder if I am a Judas.
Yet another key player in the story of the crucifixion of Jesus is Pontius Pilate. A man often described as weak in character, and villified tremendously, he too played an important role – had he stood up against the mob, not only would his city have possibly fallen into riot, but we would have no occasion for chocolate bunnies or Peeps. Ultimately, Pontius Pilate chose to sacrifice the one for the many. Undoubtedly (and scripture lends to such speculation), he was very torn between the crowds, the warnings of his wife’s dream, and own conscience. In the end, common sense had to take over for him as a ruler over many.
When practicality meets up with faith, I sometimes am a Pontius Pilate myself.
Or, take the disciples themselves. Pretty much everyone but the women fled. Driven by fear of death, doubt in belief, and questioning of their allegiance to what seemed like a much different end, they scattered like rats into hiding.
I don’t know about you, but I call myself a disciple…
When I read the scriptures, more often than not, I feel more tender-hearted and broken for these men than anything else. It’s so easy to judge someone else’s decisions, and even easier to choose sides, but ultimately, Jesus himself held no animosity for those who betrayed him because in the end, he DID see the big picture. If we were completely honest with ourselves, I am quite certain we can relate to each of these men at some point in our own spiritual journey. Hopefully, we’ve also allowed the gracious love of Christ to wash away any guilt we may have and usher in his great grace.
A moment in time over an eternity with God – seems like a pretty decent trade. If we want to be angry with someone, perhaps we should start looking a little closer to home. Would the real traitor please stand up…