We disdain betrayal. Refer to someone as “Benedict Arnold” and the recipient feels the weight of the reputation of a traitor. Children do not like to be deemed traitors. Neither do adults.

Reading the Gospel text this week begins with betrayal and the theme carries to the Cross. Judas betrays Jesus. Peter betrays Jesus. Humanity betrays Jesus. In something of a euphoric chant those for whom Jesus came to give life would betray his mission by taking his life. In the end though, Jesus gave his life betraying the power Pilate and the people thought they possessed.

Approaching Easter by traveling through Palm Sunday and Passion Week leaves us to consider our own betrayal. Sometimes we betray with a kiss. Other times we betray with a word. And often we betray with our own sense of wielding power.

Our words are harsh for Judas. We feel sympathy for Peter. We are shocked by the crowds. Yet, in them all we often find ourselves. Every time we feign a close relationship with Jesus but bear no resemblance to him we betray him. When attempting to represent Jesus in the arena of public opinion we often sound more like we are propping up our ideas of Jesus than portraying him. And, we all must confess somewhere along the way, we give in to the desire for power, on some level – any level, and become the crowd who shows Pilate how to wield his own.

Yes, I fear betrayal is more our common than uncommon. What then?

We hear from Jesus, “For it is written, strike the shepherd and the sheep will be scattered. But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.” And, My Father, if this cup cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.” And again, “My God, my god, why have you forsaken me?”

And we are left with our text. Jesus took the betrayals of us all. And, they died and were buried with him. And then . . .

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Jesus invites people into his life and his way. He takes what is and points to the new way of the Kingdom of God.  Come see what this journey is all about!

One way to think about the mission of Jesus - He calls into question the way things are and points to the way things may be in the Kingdom of God. 

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