Day Forty three, Wednesday of Holy Week
Awakening to peace and bliss.
Matthew 26: 14 - 25
Then one of the twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “What will you give me if I betray him to you?”
They paid him thirty pieces of silver. And from that moment he began to look for an opportunity to betray him. On the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Where do you want us to make the preparations for you to eat the Passover?”
He said, “Go into the city to a certain man, and say to him, ‘The Teacher says, My time is near; I will keep the Passover at your house with my disciples.’”
So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them, and they prepared the Passover meal. When it was evening, he took his place with the twelve; and while they were eating, he said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me.”
And they became greatly distressed and began to say to him one after another, “Surely not I, Lord?”
He answered, “The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me. The Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that one by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that one not to have been born.”
Judas, who betrayed him, said, “Surely not I, Rabbi?”
He replied, “You have said so.”
The way John tells the story he is blunt and to the point. Jesus was a wanted man by the Chief Priests and Judas became the bounty hunter. For Judas it was all about the money so the story goes and whether there was more to his disloyalty and betrayal we can only speculate. Judas obviously loved money more than Jesus and for most cultural Christians the same is true today. Some popular Christian celebrity preachers even capitalize on this desire of the ego by preaching what is called the “prosperity gospel,” meaning that God’s favor is manifested by enabling people to obtain lots of money.
Jesus knew that His teaching of God’s unconditional love and the innate holiness of every human being was falling on deaf ears. The situation, though, was not only the ignoring with deaf ears by those in power, but the vengeance to attack, and silence by killing. Jesus, apparently, could feel it in the air and knew that His days were numbered.
Did Jesus silence Himself and drop His teaching? No. He was true to Himself and to the God He believed He was working for and moved ahead anyway. This takes tremendous integrity, courage, fortitude, and mindfulness. Jesus manifested clearly His choice and power to walk the path of the Spirit instead of the path of the ego.
It is Jesus' example which motivates and vivifies the purpose of Lent which is to remind us that the path of the ego will not make us happy but only lead to betrayal, disillusionment, suffering, and death while the path of the Spirit leads to an awakening to peace and bliss.