Readings: Isaiah 50:4-9; Matthew 26:14-25
"From that moment he looked for an opportunity to betray him." (Matthew 26:16)
The worldwide web can be a wonderful means of informing and connecting people. However, the web is like any other crowded public space: those who enter it need to keep a careful hold of their valuables. Personal identities have market value. Scam companies are after the details of people's bank accounts and passports, even their diplomas.
Thirty pieces of silver was the sum offered to Judas for information about Jesus. It was not, of course, his bank card number or online data that the Temple authorities were after, but the details of his whereabouts and movements. They schemed to arrest him discreetly, away from the Passover crowds. Today's Gospel reading, from Matthew, speaks of Jesus' transparency, as he revealed which private house in Jerusalem had been made available to them. However, he was not naive: he knew who his betrayer was. Judas feigned innocence: "Not I, Rabbi, surely?" he protested.
When it comes to giving away personal data, we, likewise, may exclaim, "Not I, surely?" None of us would deliberately set out to betray a friend, but how easy it is to let something slip during conversation. Careless talk may not cost lives, but it can cost someone their privacy, even their reputation, especially when social media is involved. Jesus was betrayed, he said, by someone who dipped into the same dish with him. The internet is a very large "dish". We should dip into it with respect.
Lord, safeguard us from all danger, seen and unseen. Keep us from ever being the source of any harm. You fed the disciples from your own hand. May we be worthy of the confidences that people share with us and deserving of their trust. Amen.
St. Andrew's Methodist Church
The Stow, Harlow