SOMETIMES IN OUR FAMILIARITY and haste we bypass verses of scripture. Because we already know the story of who “betrayed” Jesus, our attention in this passage [John 13:21-32] jumps quickly ahead to the conversation between Jesus and Simon Peter, the piece of bread, and Judas’s leaving the meal to meet with the religious officials.
But what of verse 22: “The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he was speaking?” …
Could it be that each of the disciples is humble enough, uncertain enough, to know that given the right set of circumstances or stressors, any one of them has it within him to do what Judas would in fact do?…
For only those who love Jesus can betray him. His enemies might hate him; others might disregard or ignore him; but only those who sit at the table can get up and leave, and only those close enough to kiss him can give the kiss of death. That Judas is the one who guided the soldiers to Gethsemane on fresh-washed feet, his breath smelling of sacrament, is a particular instance of what is possible for all disciples.
It is unfortunate that we so quickly rush to blame Judas, so quickly leave him and this verse of scripture behind; for indeed, this Holy Week calls us to examine ourselves, to hear Jesus’ prediction, uncertain of whom else he might be speaking.
Forgive me, Lord, when I turn away from you and your purposes. Amen.
– The Upper Room Disciplines 2012
From “Destination: Known,” readings for Holy Week by Thomas R. Steagald, in The Upper Room Disciplines 2012: A Book of Daily Devotion. Copyright © 2011 by Upper Room Books. All rights reserved. Used by permission. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.
Pray the prayer at the end of today’s excerpt. Share your thoughts.
13:15 For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you.
John 13:15, NRSV
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This week we remember: Margaret Clitherow (March 25).
(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)
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