There’s a quote making the Internet rounds lately. It says, “Christianity is not loving Jesus. It’s loving Judas.”
We know, of course, it’s both.
That you won’t love Judas if you don’t love Jesus. Judas is the betrayer. We see him as the ultimate example of treachery and sin. We need divine inspiration to pull off showing love to such a scoundrel. The message is, though, you aren’t loving Jesus if you aren’t loving Judas. Scripture calls us liars if we say we love God but hate our brother (1 John 4:20).
So, let’s reflect on that by asking, Who is the Judas in your story? Who are the people you see as betrayers of God? Sometimes they are people close to you. I can’t tell you how many passive-aggressive comments I’ve heard in church meetings! Some are those who have wronged you. Still, others are people you’ll never even meet.
Jesus didn’t use that quote we’ve seen online. But I imagine he’d like it. He did say similar things. Who else tells us to love our enemies? Notice, too, he didn’t say be nice to them or even do loving things for them with a haughty attitude. No, love them.
Who has the holy audacity to suggest we pray for those who make our lives difficult? The One who lived his life that way! Jesus knew how easy it is for us to only love those who love us. It’s so easy even those wretched people you know do it. It’s almost natural to despise Judas. Would you sit next to him on Sunday morning?
And speaking of when we gather to worship, it’s almost as if Jesus is challenging us directly. “And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others (Matthew 5:47)?
Receiving the good news of Jesus is salvation. God has redeemed you. But that isn’t merely heaven’s pass. Part of our salvation is being freed from the cycles of animosity and hatred. They lead to death, after all. You are free to love God fully. And you know you are by how you love Judas.