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Who Is the Betrayer?

Today’s Reflection

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.

Today’s Question

Pray the prayer at the end of today’s excerpt. Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

13:15 For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you.

John 13:15, NRSV

This Week: pray for opportunities to serve. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section below.

Did You Know?

In need of prayer? The Upper Room Living Prayer Center is a 7-day-a-week intercessory prayer ministry staffed by trained volunteers. Call 1-800-251-2468 or visit The Living Prayer Center web site.

Saints, Inc.:

This week we remember: Margaret Clitherow (March 25).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2016 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA


{ 5 comments… add one }

  • robert moeller March 24, 2016, 4:05 am

    “For only those who love Jesus can betray him.” How true! Why it was Judas and not another disciple, we can only guess. Someone had to do it, it came to Judas, he did the task, and later recognizes the terrible deed. He commits suicide. The human side of the story is done, Jesus’ prophesy is fulfilled. The agony and suffering of a terrible death are on their way. Good Friday is coming.

    The feet washing lesson and partaking of communion at a passover dinner
    turn to sweating blood during prayer, arrest, a mock trial, abuse, two more trials where Jesus is declared innocent a total of three times, and yet is brutally flogged, and crucified. Very thankfully, God is love, and love overcomes and covers a multitude of sins. Unlike the believers, disciples of that time, we know the joy that is to come. Thank You, Lord, for Your love, grace, and mercy.

  • Jill March 24, 2016, 4:07 am

    Forgive me, Lord, when in my tunnel vision and selfish desires – I choose not to see the path You lay before me and am not obedient to Your call. Lord – in Your abundant mercy – receive my prayers. Holy Spirit – thank You for praying on my behalf – when I am unable, unaware – You are my constant support.
    Grateful for stillness this morning. Grateful for the family that gathers here. Grateful for spring break which begins at the end of the school day today.
    Betsy – praying for protection for your Kairos team – though Satan schemes, our God reigns. May your team and those you minister to find strength in Him as you serve Him.

  • Rusty March 24, 2016, 6:17 am

    Well said, Jill. God reigns. Yes, Betsy. Thank you for your Kairos work. May you see fruits in your efforts soon, experience joy, and know that God who knows all is already seeing them.

  • Betsy March 24, 2016, 7:00 am

    I’ve never look to see myself in the actions of Judas. This reading makes clear that we who love Him are capable of betraying in our actions and also our inaction. Help me to continue to be open to Your call, Lord. The joy in working for You is immeasurable. Thank you, Jill and Rusty, for your words of encouragement in this new step out in faith. God is in control. I pray that God sends us the women who need this ministry in their lives.
    Grateful today for lunch with dear friends, errands to run and the anticipation of the Maunday Thursday service as we continue toward Easter.

  • Mary Ng Shwu Ling March 24, 2016, 10:17 pm

    Thank you Father God for the selfless and sacrificial example of Christ on the cross and also his obedience. Thank you for the gift of salvation and your amazing love for us. Reveal to us the ways we can serve you wherever we are. Open our eyes so that we can be your hands and reflect your love.

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