Wednesday in Holy Week, April 5 “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, “Very truly I tell you, 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, the son of Simon Iscariot. 27 As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him.

So Jesus told him, “What you are about to do, do quickly.” 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 festival, or to give something to the poor. 30 As soon as Judas had taken the bread, he went out. And it was night.

Some thoughts:

Betrayal is one of the most difficult, if not the most horrendously 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. Betrayal is an evil, malicious disregard of the friend and relationship. In order to betray, one must connivingly gain complete trust from the one betrayed.

Judas was all about money and power. 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 betrayed. Knowing what was to happen, Jesus washed the feet of Judas anyway. Can you imagine what was going on in the mind of Judas?

The last four words of this pericope are so significant on several levels. I’m reminded of the passage in Isaiah (9:2), “the people who walk in darkness have seen a great light . . .” Judas walked for several years next to the Light of the world. He heard Jesus say, “If the light you think you have is actually darkness, how deep that darkness is!” Yet, at a crucial moment Judas sought the darkness of night and the cover of darkness. I would guess more evil happens in darkness than in light. In Judas’ descent into night, he opened his soul to Satan, the epitome of evil and betrayal. Satan consumes all who make a deal with the devil.

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. On the other hand, Jesus offers forgiveness to the repentant sinner. Just ask Peter. When betrayed, Jesus is our model. When we betray, Peter is our model.

Music: “My Song is Love Unknown”    Sylvia Burnside   (I know I’ve used this before, but her rendition is gorgeous!)

Bonus: “My Song is Love Unknown” St. Martins Church Choir, Beautiful setting! Great singing

Prayer: I bind unto myself today the power of God to hold and lead, his eye to watch, his might to stay, his ear to hearken to my need. The wisdom of my God to teach, his hand to guide, his shield to ward; the word of God to give me speech, his heavenly host to be my guard. I bind unto myself the name, the strong name of the Trinity; by invocation of the same, the Three in One, the One in Three, of whom all nature hath creation; Eternal Father, Spirit, Word, Praise to the Lord of my salvation, Salvation is of Christ the Lord.           –Patrick of Ireland 390? -461?