Character counts in leadership. It’s possible to have all of the right experience and still lack the character qualities to be an effective leader. One can be close to other effective leaders, possibly even on a great leadership team and still not pick up the skills and qualities that leaders need to take the reins during times of crisis.
I’m talking about Judas.
Today, the Wednesday of the Passion Week, marks a day when nothing much happened. Every other day of the week was packed with action; confrontations, miracles, and teaching that amazed the huge crowds.
But on Wednesday everyone laid low. Jesus and his team were tired from the hectic pace of the first three days of the week. They were also resting up for the celebrations at the end of the week, or so they thought.
Nothing much happened, except…
…one disciple slipped out of Bethany and made the 2 or 3 mile walk back into Jerusalem. Once there he arranged a meeting with a group of people whom Jesus, had just the day before called snakes, scorpions, wretches, blind fools, and robbers. To make matters worst, he told the most self-righteous men in town to get in line behind prostitutes and tax collectors if they hoped be a part of God’s Kingdom.
In what may be the worst case of poor judgment in world history, Judas surmised that this was a group with whom he could work.
Judas struck a deal. For the equivalent of about $3,500 he agreed to help them find Jesus when he was away from the crowds who were amazed at his teaching and wondering if might be the answer to their prayers for liberation from the Romans.
Judas had been there when Jesus walked on the water.
He picked up the leftover crusts of bread after one or two miraculous feedings.
And just a few months earlier he had watched in amazement as Lazarus stumbled out of the tomb still wrapped in burial clothes.
Judas is proof that being around Jesus isn’t the same as becoming one with Jesus.
That recognizing him as a pretty good guy isn’t the same as recognizing him as the one true King.
And worst of all for Judas, he proved that recognizing ones mistakes isn’t the same as repenting from them. After Jesus was sentenced early on Friday Judas wanted out of the deal, but apparently he still wasn’t willing to let Jesus change his heart.
Judas wasn’t just unfit for leadership. He was unfit for citizenship in God’s Kingdom.
This is a week for self-assessment. Where do we fit in the story? With whom do we identify? Will we be like Judas and decide that Jesus is not for us? Or, will we be like many in the crowds who take a wait and see approach, putting off a decision about Christ for a later day?
My suggestion. Let’s take our cue from a thief. Two of those crucified were in Paradise by the end of the day, Jesus and the thief who was willing to recognize his sin and seek God’s forgiveness.
One is not fit for leadership in God’s Kingdom if he or she is following someone down the wrong path.
Want to find your way into God’s kingdom? Follow Jesus.
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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this blog reflect my thoughts and opinions as an individual, not the formal positions of our church. Central includes people with a wide range of opinions on important issues like those addressed in my posts. It is also a place where we can discuss these issues with civility and grace.