Mark 14:12–25 (ESV)
12 And on the first day of Unleavened Bread, when they sacrificed the Passover lamb, his disciples said to him, “Where will you have us go and prepare for you to eat the Passover?” 13 And he sent two of his disciples and said to them, “Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him, 14 and wherever he enters, say to the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says, Where is my guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ 15 And he will show you a large upper room furnished and ready; there prepare for us.” 16 And the disciples set out and went to the city and found it just as he had told them, and they prepared the Passover. 17 And when it was evening, he came with the twelve. 18 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.” 19 They began to be sorrowful and to say to him one after another, “Is it I?” 20 He said to them, “It is one of the twelve, one who is dipping bread into the dish with me. 21 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.”
22 And as they were eating, he took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to them, and said, “Take; this is my body.” 23 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, and they all drank of it. 24 And he said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. 25 Truly, I say to you, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”
I always find it very difficult as I read through this part of the narrative because I’m hit hard by the word “betray”.
Have you ever been betrayed by someone? I’m not talking about a broken promise or being cheated by someone. Betrayal cuts deeper than those things, wounding us to the bone. We may never fully recover from a moment of betrayal. We can forgive, but the mark of betrayal affects us so deeply that trust of that person, or of others in similar circumstances, is always something that we question from that moment forward.
Judas betrays Jesus. There is no getting around this. There have been many theories that have tried to explain Judas and his actions throughout the years. Some have suggested that Judas wanted to force Jesus’ hand, to be the military king which everyone wanted. Some suggested that Judas’ behavior falls in line with addictive behavior, offering the explanation that Judas was a drunkard. There are other theories swirling around Judas, but the truth is that we can’t know his rationalizations or what was in his heart. All we know is that Judas betrayed Jesus.
And I’m always caught off guard by the disciple’s response to Jesus when Jesus tells them that “one of you will betray me”. It’s surprising to note that they all ask, “Is it me?”
You see up until that moment all the disciples had been on the same journey with Jesus. They’ve heard Jesus’ teaching, they’ve seen the miraculous signs, they were there when Jesus came into Jerusalem with everyone cheering; Judas was just like the rest of the disciples. So perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised by their question, “Is it me?”.
And perhaps we need to consider that we’re not all that different from the disciples. As N.T. Wright wrote, “When we say that Jesus died ‘because of our sins’, we don’t just mean that in some high-flow, abstract sense. We mean that what put him on the cross was precisely the sins that we all not only commit, but wallow in.
We like to use words that don’t feel so heavy with guilt when we talk about our own betrayal of Jesus; “stumbled”, “fallen”, “wandered”, “slipped”, “messed up” and others, but the truth is that we’ve betrayed Jesus, just like the disciples and just like Judas (remember that soon Peter will deny he even knows Jesus and all the disciples will abandon Jesus as well when He is arrested).
“Is it me?” Yes but, and this is massive, remember what Jesus said before, “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45)
Jesus loves you and is ready and willing to forgive you if you will simply and humbly come. Jesus did die for our sins so that you and I can be reconciled to God the Father. Only Jesus could do this because Jesus never sinned.
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.
2 Corinthians 5:21
For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
God bless you and know that you are constantly in my prayers!