Summary: We often pretend to be someone that we’re not, but probably someone we would really like to be.
The Great Pretender
You are all familiar with the 1956 song by the Platters ‘The Great Pretender’ with the lyrics, “Oh yes, I’m the great pretender, pretending that I’m doing well; My need is such, I pretend too much; I’m lonely but no one can tell.” I’m sure that this song brings back fond memories for many of you, but as I read today’s scripture and thought about the life of Judas, this song kept crossing through my mind. And as I researched the life of Judas, I began to find similarities with my own life and it disturbed me. And so to shake myself free from this Judas syndrome, I began to think how similar he is to all of us, and that helped to comfort me.
In a sense, Judas was The Great Pretender, pretending to be someone that he wasn’t, but someone he probably really wanted to be. How often do the those words seem to describe our very own lives? Pretending to be someone we’re not, but someone we would really like to be?
A 34 year old Maryland man was recently arrested for pretending to be a policeman. One evening, he pulled over a car by using his emergency lights only to find out that the driver of the car really was a policeman!
As boys, how many of us pretended to be some famous football or baseball player out in our back yard? I often pretend to be a singer when I’m driving alone listening to music.
As Christians, do we sometimes pretend to be something other than what we really are? Pretending allows us to hide in a comfort zone so that no one really knows who we are or how we are really doing. But like Judas, we can only hide behind our false pretenses for so long. Sooner or later, the real us is revealed and we have to deal with whatever it is that we have been hiding for so long.
Terry Bradshaw, the former quarterback of the Pittsburgh Steelers, won 4 Super Bowls during his career. After he retired, he continued to be a popular football analyst and even has appeared in a few movies. The personality he reveals is one of being a happy go lucky kind of person. But he has been pretending for a long time; he has been hiding behind a false smile and bubbly personality. Recently, he revealed that his private life has been miserable due to depression. The person we have seen on tv is not the person Terry Bradshaw honestly has been because he has been pretending to be someone other than who he is.
Paul reminds us in 2 Corinthians that even Moses hid behind a veil so that people couldn’t see who he really was. He had had a radiant face because he had been in the presence of God. When the people saw him, how impressed they must have been knowing that Moses had the presence of God all over him. But when the presence began to fade, perhaps Moses thought the people would no longer be as impressed. Perhaps they would see him for who he really was. So he covered his face with a veil, trying to be someone he really wasn’t.
How often do we hide behind a veil, pretending to be someone other than who we really are? Judas was a pretend follower of Jesus, hiding behind the veil of discipleship and no one really knew any different, no one except for Jesus.
So let me get personal with you: what is your veil that you hide behind to keep from being known?
Some people are good at conversation and can hide behind lots of small talk. They can discuss the weather or their favorite ball team and use their words to shield them from anyone getting to close to them. Some people hide behind the veil of laughter. They have a way of making you laugh and brightening your day and when the conversation turns serious, they will continue to joke, hiding behind their smiling face. Some people hide behind their work, others behind their intelligence, some will hide behind their accomplishments and success. Some people will even hide behind the veil of spirituality to make you think that everything is ok between them and God. They can quote scripture and say all the right things and their veil is as pretty as a stained glass window. But it’s still a veil and they’re hiding behind it.
Many people don’t want you to know who they really are so they pretend to be someone else, just like Judas.
No wonder Jesus loved children so much. Children never hide behind a veil, they reveal who they are and don’t care what you may know about them. Whether it’s an ice cream cone or spinach, or whether it’s time to play or time to take a nap, children’s faces reveal what’s in their hearts. Children are real but then they grow up and discover that being real can hurt so they too find veils to hide behind.