April 21, 2013
Judas, who would betray Him, answered, "Is it I, Rabbi?" He said to him, "You have said so." Matthew 26:25
At Harvard University there was a very learned professor of zoology by the name of Agassiz.
He was so wise that one year his students went to special pains to try and put one over on their prof. Oh so carefully they took parts from a number of different bugs and with great skill attached those parts together to make a strange creation they were sure would baffle their teacher.
On the chosen day they brought the bug to him and asked him to identify it. Professor Agassiz inspected the specimen with great care. The longer the time passed, the more certain the students grew that they had managed to trick the school's resident genius.
Finally, Professor Agassiz straightened up and said, "Gentlemen, I have managed to identify your bug."
Scarcely able to control their amusement, the pranksters asked its name.
Agassiz replied, "It is a humbug."
The last supper Jesus shared with His disciples should have been a time to give last-minute advice and to reminisce about the "good old days." For Jesus part of the meal's harmony was marred by the hidden, upcoming betrayal of Judas.
When Jesus tried to call the traitor back from his soon-to-be-committed crime, Judas decided to try a bluff by echoing the question of the other disciples. "Is it I?" It was a mistake. As God's Son, Jesus knew everything about that plot. Like Professor Agassiz in our story, Jesus knew a humbug when He saw one.
Jesus isn't playing games, and He identified the traitor who promptly fled the fellowship.
It's sad so many people follow in Judas' footsteps.
They live their lives acting as if God does not know what is happening and what they're doing. They believe if they can fool their friends, they can also fool the Lord. All of us should know that none of our secrets can be hidden from God. Just as Jesus knew the sin of His disciple, He knows ours.
In short, like Judas, we are all humbugs and pretenders, filled with cloaked transgressions. But there is a difference. Because of Jesus, the Lamb of God, our sins -- no matter how hidden -- are forgiven, and we remain loved.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, how often have I, like Judas, played the role of a hypocrite. I give thanks You know a humbug when You see one. Change me so I'm not like Judas pretending to be something I'm not. I'm a sinner. I need Your grace. Thank You for it. In Your Name I ask it. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries