Judas has agreed to betray Jesus to the religious leaders. He is watching for an opportunity.
Fast forward to the Upper room
A meal prepared according to the Jewish custom of Passover, in remembrance of when God “passed over” the first born sons of the Hebrews when the first born sons of the Egyptians died. It was this seventh and final plague that broke the heart of Pharaoh and he let the Hebrews go.
Passover celebrates their freedom from slavery in Egypt and acknowledges their deliverance by mercy and grace of God.
It is often called the Fast of Unleavened bread, since the Israelites left in such a hurry, there was no time for the bread to rise.
Jesus tells his disciples He is anxious to share this meal with them, before He starts His suffering. “I won’t eat this meal again until its meaning is fulfilled.
Jesus is the Passover Lamb.
We read this passage knowing what happens in the days following the Last Supper.
But the disciples lived right in the middle of its unfolding…
Imagine Jesus reclining at the table, surrounded by His closest friends. The Passover meal stretched on for hours as was the custom, each part having significant meaning and purpose.
Have you enjoyed meals like this… ones that stretch long into the night, filled with good conversation and a growing depth of relationship with your friends around the table. These evenings are always bittersweet in their ending, as we celebrate what we enjoy, but long for it linger on…
This is the atmosphere of the Passover meal.
However, tonight it is marked by 2 significant words
Jesus speaks of the suffering He is about to endure.
what He must endure…
hatred, false accusations, physical pain, and soul level wrenching we cannot understand He takes upon Himself the sins of the world, and bears the separation and death from His father this requires.
one of his closet friends will deny Him, as friend, Lord and Savior.
another of His friends for whom this meal is prepared, for whom Jesus will die… is looking for a way, a time and place to betray Jesus.
He knows what is ahead…
He speaks of it now in the midst of the meal –
the band of brothers, caught off guard by these words… “One of you will betray me.”
Looking around the table, questioning eyes… wondering who it is, each disciple, each friend asks, “is it me Lord?”
“The one who has just eaten from this bowl with Me- he will betray Me.”
“The Son of man must die as it was written long ago- but how terrible it will be for the one who betrays him.”
Judas, knowing full well that is the one who will betray Jesus, looks at Him and asks. Teacher, am I the one?”
Is this a test?
- Does Judas really think Jesus doesn’t know?
- Or is Judas so caught up in the moment, the meaning of this Last supper, of Jesus sharing the significance of His death, that he wavers…Wondering if maybe he will not follow through with the plan he has made.
- Was he frightened, hopeful, or just greedy…?
- was he already plotting and scheming to find a way to betray Jesus?
We don’t know.
Rabbi, Judas asks…. Is it me?
Jesus replied, “you have said it yourself.”
- I want to believe that Judas we overcome by the evil one, and thus chose to betray his friend, Teacher and Lord. We know he regrets it in the end. But Judas has no idea the agony and grief the Lord will endure, or his own pain and regret for this choice.
- I want to believe that three years of walking with Jesus, being cared for, taught and loved by Him would make it too difficult for Judas to go through with the betrayal, let alone imagine it or agreeing to do so.
- I want to believe that Judas was changed by Jesus, that the past three years were not face, but a that something happened… as the evil one entered Judas’ heart and deceived him into thinking this was a reasonable course of actions…
betrayal is a word used for a friend.
strangers don’t betray us, we don’t expect loyalty and love from them..
but a friend…
Only a friend can betray a friend. Causing pain of a broken relationship, an ending of something treasured and enjoyed.
Judas is such a friend.
I often wonder how Jesus sat through this meal… How he chose the timing to say these words and almost set into motion the inevitable. Judas leaves the table; he breaks from the others, going his own way.
- Have you ever been betrayed? How did it feel, How did you deal with it?
- Have you ever been the one who betrayed? How did it impact your heart, your relationship? was there ever repairing of the relationship/ friendship broken by betrayal.
I have judged Judas, thinking in my younger years that I would Never do such a thing as betray Jesus. But as I continued in my walk with God, I realized that I too have betrayed Jesus
betray: (paradidomi)– abandon, hand over, break a trust, to hurt another by doing them wrong, be false to another, to deny, deliver another up to someone or something.
If I am really honest, I must admit, I have done these things to Jesus.
- Have you?
- How did you seek forgiveness? Have you let go of the pain and regret of your decision/ actions.
We live in the shadow of the Resurrection, so we know the forgiveness available in Jesus.
Listen to the words of this song. “Why” by Michael Card (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ph_t_SmR-ko)
He asks some hard questions about the events unfolding during Passion week.
Read about the Jewish customs for the Passover meal- the Seder
Read Luke 28:44-48 and how Judas chooses to betray Jesus and His response.
Read Matthew 27: 3 about Judas after he betrays Jesus
Daily Lectionary Readings:
Isaiah 50:4-9a; Psalm 69:8-10, 21-22, 31-34; Matthew 26:14-25
If you want to read through the New Testament during Lent (about 1/2 hour a day)
Read on Day 43: 1 John, 2 John, 3 John & Jude