"Then Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve, went to the chief priests in order to betray him to them. When they heard it, they were greatly pleased, and promised to give him money. So he began to look for an opportunity to betray him."
We cannot make our way through this holy week without confronting the dark issue of betrayal. Betrayal is an interesting idea to me because it dependent upon trust. One can't betray someone unless one has a relationship with him or her. And not just any relationship. It would have to be a relationship built upon a trusting friendship. I can't be betrayed by someone I hate or by someone who I do not trust; that would simply be an attack, rather than a betrayal.
Jesus was betrayed. Someone who was closest to him set the wheels in motion for the suffering of a horrible death. It was done intentionally and it was done for money. Jesus loved everyone, he had twelve very close friends, and one of those friends and followers used him for personal gain.
The story of Jesus' death is so horrible, that it's easy perhaps to skip right by this moment of harm at the hand of a friend. Yet, it's a very important moment, I think, because betrayal seems like the hardest of sins to forgive. Christians approach the story of Judas in many different ways, but to me, it's a reminder that the most personal of sins is front and center in the story. To say that Jesus forgives the sins of the world means that he forgives even betrayal. Can we? We are meant not simply to hear the difficult stories of this week, but to apply them. If we have been betrayed, Easter offers a chance once again to ask forgiveness and to forgive.