John 13:21-30 (ESV)
After saying these things, Jesus was troubled in his spirit, and testified, “Truly, truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he spoke. One of his disciples, whom Jesus loved, was reclining at table at Jesus’ side, so Simon Peter motioned to him to ask Jesus of whom he was speaking. So that disciple, leaning back against Jesus, said to him, “Lord, who is it?” Jesus answered, “It is he to whom I will give this morsel of bread when I have dipped it.” So when he had dipped the morsel, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. Then after he had taken the morsel, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, “What you are going to do, do quickly.” Now no one at the table knew why he said this to him. Some thought that, because Judas had the moneybag, Jesus was telling him, “Buy what we need for the feast,” or that he should give something to the poor. So, after receiving the morsel of bread, he immediately went out. And it was night.
Mark 14:17-21 (ESV)
And when it was evening, he came with the twelve. And as they were reclining at table and eating, Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me, one who is eating with me.” They began to be sorrowful and to say to him one after another, “Is it I?” He said to them, “It is one of the twelve, one who is dipping bread into the dish with me. For the Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.”
The betrayal that had to happen, and yet, Jesus said that it would be better for that man had he never been born. I was in a drama of the last supper once, many years ago. I played Peter, and at the end of each of our soliloquies we all asked, “Is it I? Is it I?” This was for me quite the moving experience, and I still think of that.
In a way, we each betray Jesus when we continue to sin. We know the measure of forgiveness, and we know the price Jesus paid, yet we continue to be rebellious and do things our own way. Everytime that I ignore what I know to be right, or wrong, and do my own thing, I am turning my back on Jesus, even betraying Him. For He made it a point whenever He was dealing with people, not to condemn, but He always said, “Go and sin no more!”
The amazing part is, that He knew this about me long before I knew Him, and yet He said, “Virg, I am doing this for you!” I know that this may sound extreme, but Jesus calls us to change. He calls us to be better. He calls us to set an example. The example of a changed life, following Our Lord. Peter believed that there was no way that He would even deny Jesus, and yet, just as Jesus told him, Peter denied Jesus not once, not twice, but three times, before the rooster crowed.
Today we celebrate Maundy Thursday, the night of the Lord’s Supper, the night of betrayal, the night of Jesus praying so hard that he sweated drops of blood. He knew what was coming, yet He did not shrink from it. He did it for you and for me.
So about that betrayal, we all need to ask ourselves: “Is it I, Lord? Is it I?”
by Virgil Stripes
photo: the stone in the Garden of Gethsemane where it is believed that Jesus had prayed. Now it is in the Church of Gethsemane.