On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus and said, “Where do you want us to prepare for you to eat the Passover meal?” He replied, “Go into the city, to a certain man, and say, ‘The teacher says, “My time is near. I’m going to celebrate the Passover with my disciples at your house.” ’” The disciples did just as Jesus instructed them. They prepared the Passover. That evening he took his place at the table with the twelve disciples. As they were eating he said, “I assure you that one of you will betray me.” Deeply saddened, each one said to him, “I’m not the one, am I, Lord?” He replied, “The one who will betray me is the one who dips his hand with me into this bowl. The Human One goes to his death just as it is written about him. But how terrible it is for that person who betrays the Human One! It would have been better for him if he had never been born.” Now Judas, who would betray him, replied, “It’s not me, is it, Rabbi?” Jesus answered, “You said it” (Matthew 26:17-25, Common English Bible).
“One of you will betray me,” Jesus said.
Then, in turn, each of the disciples asked, “It isn’t me, is it Lord?”
Even Judas, though he had to know it was he, took his turn asking Jesus, “It isn’t me, is it Lord?” I find it interesting that Judas, knowing the deal he made with the Pharisees and Sadducees, that he would ask Jesus the question. He was the only one who knew the answer. Well, him and Jesus.
The truth is, while Judas is the one who would betray Jesus, doing so for personal, financial gain, it could have been any of the disciples. More frightening still, if Jesus were to make the same statement today he made back then, “One of you will betray me,” we might respond by asking, “It’s not me, is it?”
When the disciples bickered among themselves, vying for the best spots, they betrayed Jesus. When the disciples tried to hush those in need so as not to bother Jesus, they betrayed Jesus. When Peter wanted to build three monuments and stay on the Mountain of Transfiguration, he betrayed Jesus. The list could go on. In truth, though Judas was the boldest about it, it could have been any of the twelve.
It could also be us. When we fail to love our neighbor, we betray Jesus. When we fail to worship God in the way God calls us, we betray Jesus. When we put other things in life ahead of our relationship with the Risen Christ, we betray Jesus.
In yesterday and today’s lessons, Judas openly betrayed Jesus. As for the rest of us, we are more often than not, much quieter in our betrayal, far less obvious than was Judas.
But, as we shall see, though the remaining eleven could have and did betray Jesus by the things they do, grace was present for them. When they betrayed, they weren’t banished from the group. As time would move forward, despite their betrayal they grew to fulfill their mission in the early church. That is grace.
That God continues to give us opportunities to serve represents opportunities for us to move forward with the ministries God has given us. Just as it was grace for the eleven, it is also grace for us. God still wants to use us. Despite all we may have done to hinder the Kingdom, God wants us to be at work for His glory anyway. That is grace.
Have a blessed day in the Lord.
Joy and Thankfulness,
Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved