Judas, John 12:4-8
I don’t think that Judas was just trying to get back at Jesus, I think he was trying to ‘help’ him.
It has long been believed that Judas was associated with the Zealots – a sect within Judaism that wanted to get rid of the Romans, and for them it could not happen fast enough. All the sects within Judaism had their own expectations of what the Messiah would do, but to restore Jerusalem to the Davidic rule was understood by all parties to be part of the bargain. The different sects just had their own understanding of how it would happen. Zealots were quite comfortable with a direct, in your face type of encounter while the others hoped for a more peaceful solution. For Judas and his friends, now was the time.
You can just hear them – “it’s Passover, the holiday when God freed us from the Egyptians. All our supporters are in the city, we can do this. Now is the time to free ourselves of the Roman rule once and for all. One word from Jesus is all we need. The wind and the water obey him, so the Romans do not stand a chance. If Jesus won’t step up, we will get the chief priests and leaders to make him take a stand, and won’t they be surprised at what he can do. This is going to work.” (Wasn’t it sweet of Judas to give Jesus the help he needed?)
I can’t tell you the number of times that I have tried to give God a little help. I often try to help God, especially when God is not moving fast enough on the things that really matter to me. Sometimes God needs our help, right? God needs us to fix things or move things along. Surely if God knew what we know, God would just see things from our perspective. God would agree that our situation needs our help in this way and now. We never learn. I know I haven’t so I am not about to cast stones at Judas.
The journey to the cross is learning to take things in God’s time and to do things God’s way, even if it is more painful and doesn’t accomplish what is important to us. Our definition of ‘most effective’ and God’s is different because our goals are so different. Let us all try, at least for the next few days, not to insist on having things our way and let God call the shots and the timing. God promises that it is all for our benefit – can we believe that?