“They began to be distressed and to say to him one after another, ‘Surely, not I?’”
Betrayal has a different kind of sting to it. It is different from so many other types of relational brokenness. On this side of history, we can anticipate the betrayal with Jesus. We know it is going to be Judas Iscariot. We know that he will not be able to live with himself afterward and will be overwhelmed with despair and brokenness. Reading our text today, Jesus seems to know as well.
Jesus announces the betrayal to the disciples, knowing that the bounty on his head is attractive and enticing. Instead of confronting the betrayer with anger or frustration, Jesus takes the same gracious approach that he has taken with people throughout his life. He shares a meal with the one who is about to make money on his imprisonment. Jesus even serves Judas in anticipation of his betrayal.
As we follow the Jesus story through to the empty tomb, it is important for us to pause here for a moment and acknowledge our capacity for betrayal. Sure, we are never going to have the opportunity for betrayal of Jesus to the degree that Judas had. However, we can participate in smaller, more subtle betrayals along the way. Like Judas, we can place a value on our allegiance to Jesus. This betrayal begins with distraction. Judas becomes distracted by the allure of the money and status that he could get by turning in Jesus. We can be so easily distracted by money or status that we may not even realize betrayal as it is happening.
The disciples were in denial that one of them could ever betray their beloved teacher. They thought that surely, they would never succumb to the pressures of the world. We are called to earnestly and authentically reflect on our capacity for betrayal. What do you value above Jesus? What are you distracted by? The grace here is that Jesus chooses to still share a meal with Judas. Betrayal doesn’t get the last word, but we are still called to reflect on our capacity to cause relational brokenness.
God, you give us a pattern for relationship. In your very being, you are relational and have created us to be as well. We pray that you would illuminate our tendencies that allow brokenness into our relationships with you and with our neighbors. Amen.