How many times have any of us kissed, drawn close to, or sought intimacy with Jesus, only to turn tail and betray him immediately? I don’t ask this question from any place of judgement apart from, perhaps, against myself. I find it all too easy to become mechanistic in my faith. ‘If I do this, in this way, God will do that in that way. He must, that’s what happened in Scripture/in the past/to someone I know’. ‘I need this from God, so I’ll say all the things I know he wants me to say, I’ll sing the right songs, and then I’ll get what I need or want.’ For Judas, it was money that he wanted, but for any of us it could be anything else, even things which, in and of themselves are worthy things, such as wellbeing for ourselves or a family member, the end to a conflict, or reconciliation. The challenge which comes to me as I read this passage this morning however is that my faith, my relationship with Jesus, is not something that I ought to enter in to on the basis that it will get me what I need or want. Those things might be by-products, but actually, when I play a transactional game with God with how I relate to him, am I not betraying him too? When I worship with piety on a Sunday and then turn round on a Monday and there is no evidence of transformation in my life, am I not betraying God, and making a liar of myself?
And yet, through it all, God loves me still. That is the heart of the gospel, for me, and it is stupefying.