“Truly, truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” And with those words of Jesus, the disciples looked at one another.
It’s easy to see the betrayal in others - harder in ourselves!
Simon Peter takes it beyond just looking at others - he wants a name (v24)
The emphasis throughout these scriptures is on the extraordinary betrayal of Jesus, by Judas, one of his disciples. He’d left everything to follow Jesus and was one of the twelve. Note the very specific naming: 12:4 - Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was about to betray him) 13:2 - During supper, when the devil has already out it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him... 13:26 - he gave it to Judas, son of Simon Iscariot
The irony in the text is that Judas wasn’t the only one to betray Jesus that night. Peter ends up disowning Jesus three times.
Where are we quick to judge the actions of others?
Where do we seek to use the words of Jesus to reveal the shame of someone else, rather than to reveal our own?
The word of God must speak to us, to reveal our own betrayal, and our own need for forgiveness and mercy.
The great tragedy in the story is that Judas never goes back to Jesus for mercy and forgiveness. In Matthew 27:3-5 we read even more tragically, that he goes back to the chief priests and elders, returns the silver, saying “I sinned by condemning innocent blood”. Judas confesses his sin to those who were supposed to mediate between God and those who had sinned, and they said to him, “What is it to us? See to it yourself”. Again, note how easy it is for them to point the finger at someone else, without considering their own complicity and sin, which at this point is greater than even Judas’ betrayal. How easy it is for us also. In “seeing to it himself,” Judas knows he is guilty under the law and takes upon himself the punishment of the law. Hanging was the legal penalty for capital offences under Jewish law (Deut 21:22-23), and the guilty person was thought to be under God’s curse. In contrast to this judgment and consequence for Judas under the law, Jesus, the innocent one, is hung on a tree, cursed, and yet declares the guilty forgiven. Peter, although he also betrays Jesus, encounters the forgiveness of Jesus, and his life is reborn and he becomes one of the first messengers of the gospel and a leader in the church. As we walk through Holy Week, let's not miss the magnitude of our own sin, but equally importantly, let's not miss the astonishing grace, mercy and forgiveness of God toward us. Don’t miss how great his love for you must be to go to the lengths he would to restore you to himself. In our bubbles, or phone trees, let’s share our testimonies and encourage one another with stories of God’s great mercy in our lives.
How can the recognition of our own sin, and God’s amazing forgiveness in Jesus, produce mercy in us for others who fall short?
How can we mediate this grace and mercy of God in our world today?