Reader: “He went to the leading priests and captains of the Temple guard…”
Response: “to discuss the best way to betray Jesus to them.”
Scripture: Luke 22:1-6
The Festival of Unleavened Bread, which is also called Passover, was approaching. The leading priests and teachers of religious law were plotting how to kill Jesus, but they were afraid of the people’s reaction. Then Satan entered into Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve disciples, and he went to the leading priests and captains of the Temple guard to discuss the best way to betray Jesus to them. They were delighted, and they promised to give him money. So he agreed and began looking for an opportunity to betray Jesus so they could arrest him when the crowds weren’t around.
Reader: “This is the troubling word of God.”
Response: “Lord, have mercy.”
Betrayal is one of the most despicable acts one person can do to another. It is all the more hideous because it is dependent upon the noble character of trust. Trust must be established for betrayal to “work.” With trust comes depth of relationship, love, confidence, affection, dependability, comfort, admiration, gratitude, and serenity in the relationship. One act of betrayal destroys all of these qualities instantaneously. The betrayer puts self and self-interest above the relationship in total disregard for the other person. If trust is ever regained, it is a difficult, painful process. In these most difficult hours of his life, Jesus experienced betrayal from one of his followers, a man who had traveled with him for three years, a man he had chosen to be one of the twelve. What makes it all the more difficult is that Jesus knew who the betrayer was. Even in this circumstance, Jesus did not override the freewill of Judas and call him out on what he was about to do. In honoring those he created, God does not usurp a human’s free will, and, in this case, even if it brings about his own crucifixion and death. That is love. What was Jesus’ response to betrayal? He continued on in the course his Father had laid out for him. He did not get pushed off center by it, nor did he dwell on it, even though only hours later the other eleven disciples fled in another kind of betrayal. In Jesus’ case, there were more things of significance at hand, namely the redemption of the world. Perspective, friends, perspective. Jesus never lost it, even in betrayal.
Music: “What Wondrous Love Is This” Robert Shaw Chamber Choir
-Appalachian folk hymn
What wondrous love is this,
O my soul, O my soul
What wondrous love is this, O my soul,
What wondrous love is this,
That caused the Lord of bliss
to bear the dreadful curse
for my soul, for my soul,
To bear the dreadful curse for my soul.
Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son so he can give glory back to you. For you have given him authority over everyone. He gives eternal life to each one you have given him. And this is the way to have eternal life-to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the one you sent to earth…I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message…Father, I want these whom you have given me to be with me where I am. Then they can see all the glory you gave me because you loved me even before the world began!
―Jesus praying for us, from John 17