We are moving into the final days of Jesus' earthly ministry in our readings. But these are not the waning moments. This is the height of His ministry. This is the time of ultimate victory, and the time of His greatest challenges. Jesus will now triumph over betrayal, over abandonment, over fear, over man's ignorance and inhumanity. Jesus will overcome torture, pain and death. He will accomplish all that the Father sent Him out to accomplish. For the praise of His glory, and the salvation of our souls.
First comes the challenge of betrayal. What a wound betrayal inflicts! Are you familiar with it? It is not the attack of a faceless enemy. Not the ongoing salvos launched by those who have long been your nemeses. Betrayal is that blindside blow to the heart from someone you cared for, and thought cared for you. There was history there; significant moments shared, investments made, hopes established. But now the kiss of that friend is a dagger to your soul. How do you spend three years with someone, living together and experiencing together the deep truths of God, only to have them sell you out - treat you like a thing and not a person? Betrayal is confounding and cruel.
Judas' betrayal of Jesus is out of greed, out of carelessness and selfishness. Peter's denial is anticipated in today's text and it is also a kind of betrayal, but a betrayal out of fear. Then, Jesus' closest disciples show their weakness in the face of the challenge to pray in Gethsemane. The spirit is willing, but... These critical hours are proving too difficult for them.
What happens in the critical moments of OUR lives? When prayer, loyalty, and faith are needed most, does our flesh dominate our spirit? Does Jesus find us asleep, in denial, in betrayal? All thanks and praise to the Son of God and Savior of the world who did not fail to give His body to be broken and His blood to be shed. He triumphs for us over our weaknesses, fear, and rebellion. In the Lord's Supper which He instituted that night, we have the reminder of His sacrifice for our salvation. "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world!"
Yes, when John the Baptist saw Jesus, he said, "Here comes my Savior."
When Jesus saw Judas Iscariot, He said, "Here comes My betrayer."
When you come walking down the street, what does Jesus say? "Here comes My ________ ..."
Pray: Help me, mighty God! I want to stand with You in the hour of my testing. I want to overcome my fear, my weakness and my callousness. I have pledged my love and my life to You. Help me never to betray that vow.