THE SERVANT GENERAL
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
HANDING JESUS OVER
In his third prediction of his passion, Jesus said to his
disciples, “the Son of Man will be handed over to the
chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to
death, and hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and
scourged and crucified” (Mt 20:18b-19a).
Judas had started the process of handing over. “What
are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?”
(Mt 26:15a). Jesus was arrested, and the chief priests and
the elders of the people “handed him over to Pilate”
(Mt 27:2b), who, after having Jesus scourged, “handed
him over to be crucified.” (Mt 27:26b).
Judas was an apostle, a disciple who was with Jesus throughout
his public ministry. The chief priests and elders were the
top spiritual leaders of Israel. But they betrayed Jesus and
handed him over. How about us? Betrayal is all about a turning
away from the good, a giving up of what is right and just
and true, an about face from the straight path of the Lord,
an abandonment of one’s appointed calling. In fact,
those who have been called and favored by God are those who
are in a position to betray Jesus.
Do we today continue to hand Jesus over to be mocked, scourged
and crucified? By sin in our lives. By unforgiveness. By gossip
and maligning others. By failure to boldly witness to our
faith, thereby effectively denying Jesus. By our inaction
or tepid action on our mission. By being self-referential
rather than denying self. By indulging in worldly pleasures
rather than giving up all for Jesus.
But there is a good handing over. Jesus went to the cross,
and suffered and died for us, winning for us our salvation.
“And bowing his head, he handed over the spirit.”
(Jn 19:30b). It is when we have been faithful to our calling.
It is when we have accomplished the task given us. It is when
we have given our all, even our very lives. It is in precisely
not betraying Jesus but rather following him to the end.
Such is the legacy we pass on to our children and our children’s
children. “For I received from the Lord what I also
handed on to you” (1 Cor 11:23a). Whatever
we receive from Jesus we hand over to others. What we hand
over is always for good and never for bad. What we hand over
is Jesus. Therefore our spirit, the very Spirit of God in
us, lives on.