April 17

Wednesday in Holy Week    “One of you is going to betray me.”

Scripture: John 13:21-30

21 After he had said this, Jesus was troubled in spirit and testified, “I tell you the truth, one of you is going to betray me.”

 22 His disciples stared at one another, at a loss to know which of them he meant. 23 One of them, the disciple whom Jesus loved, was reclining next to him. 24 Simon Peter motioned to this disciple and said, “Ask him which one he means.”

 25 Leaning back against Jesus, he asked him, “Lord, who is it?”

 26 Jesus answered, “It is the one to whom I will give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.” Then, dipping the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, son of Simon. 27 As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him.

   “What you are about to do, do quickly,” Jesus told him, 28 but no one at the meal understood why Jesus said this to him. 29 Since Judas had charge of the money, some thought Jesus was telling him to buy what was needed for the Feast, or to give something to the poor. 30 As soon as Judas had taken the bread, he went out. And it was night.

Reader: This is the word of the Lord.   Response: Thanks be to God.

Some thoughts:
Betrayal is one of the most difficult, awful acts between supposed friends. To be disregarded and despised by a friend is horrible. The betrayer must put self and self-interest above the relationship and the other person. In the case of the disciples’ forsaking Jesus and all running away, that form of betrayal was pure cowardice. Judas’ situation was far worse. I was a calculated betrayal. For this kind to work, the betrayer must have the complete trust of the one who is to be betrayed. That is what makes it so despicable. Betrayal is a complete and hostile disregard of the friend and relationship. Judas was all about money and power. I believe he wanted to force Jesus’ hand against the Romans figuring he would be in a position of power should that happen. He was apparently a crook long before this incident. One who looks out for the best interest of another, will not betray. Jesus shows us how to respond when we are betrayed. Jesus washed the feet of Judas right before Judas left to collect his betrayal money and tell the Romans where to find Jesus.  Jesus knew what Judas was about to do, even as he washed the feet of Judas! Jesus let the consequences of Judas’ action deal with Judas. Jesus’ words were “I did not come to judge the world but to save it.” Remember, betrayal pays its own horrendous dividend, always. Can you imagine Jesus saying this about you? “It would be better for you if you had never been born.” On the other hand, Jesus offers forgiveness. Just ask Peter who also betrayed his Lord. When betrayed, Jesus is our model. When we betray, Peter is our model.

Please plan to be with us tomorrow noon at 12:15 PM for the Maundy Thursday service and then  for the Good Friday service with the Chancel Choir. I’ll be preaching on “What All Happened on Good Friday?” at 7:00 PM. Being a part of Holy Week services will change your perspective on Easter Sunday morning!

Music: “And He Never Said a Mumblin’ Word”

www.youtube.com/watch?v=NgiCVwOZDEY          arr. Moses Hogan       Solo

www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Qy_1QdWe80             Derric Johnson      Choir

Hymn: “Ah, Holy Jesus”            Johann Heermann ,  early 17th century

Who was the guilty? Who brought this upon thee?

Alas, my treason, Jesus, hath undone thee!

‘Twas I, Lord Jesus, I it was denied thee;

I crucified thee.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, like Judas, we have betrayed you; like Peter, we have denied you; and like the other disciples, we have forsaken you. Yet you remain faithful to us unto death, even death on a cross. We plead for your forgiveness and mercy. And we ask that you strengthen us so that we do not turn aside but follow you to the very end-for the final victory belongs to you.
-The Worship Sourcebook, p. 597