Today is known in the Anglican tradition as Spy Wednesday, a name that conjures up all sorts of nefarious images. As we read the story of Judas's betrayal we are left with one nagging question, why? The simple truth is, we will never know the answer, not in this life. If we go out searching the Internet we can find a mountain of speculation, including attempts to psychoanalize Judas.
What we know about about Judas is what we know about all human beings. We never directly intend evil. We always, at least in our own minds, intend some good. It may be a compleley selfish good, but we always intend some good for someone.
That being said, we are left to wonder what was the rationalization that Judas used to convince himself to betray Jesus. While Luke and John say that Satan entered him, Mark and Matthew place the betrayal immediately after the woman annoits Jesus with the expense nard and Jesus says that wherever the good news is proclaimed this will be told "in rememberance of her." Whether is was his desire for money, his desire to be remembered or something completely other, Judas probably in his own mind had a good reason for doing what he did. We adult human beings always do.
As we read the story of Judas, the man who went from not just disciple but Apostle to betrayor, we are all challenged as Lent ends to examine our conscience. Are there sins that we have rationalized away? One of our best is the way we declare that if lots of people do something it's not a sin. The good news is that God has placed in each of us a conscience and if we have the courage to sit quietly with it, unless we have completely suffocated it, it will cut through our rationalization. In the depths of our conscience we know what sin is.
On this last full day of Lent, as we hear the story of Judas's betrayal, let us have the courage to acknowledge the ways both large and small in which every one of us betrays the one who gave his life for us.