Tuesday, March 31, 2015


By Colleen O’Sullivan

Though I thought I had toiled in vain, and for nothing, uselessly, spent my strength, yet my reward is with the Lord, my recompense is with my God…   It is too little, he says, for you to be my servant, to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and restore the survivors of Israel: I will make you a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.  (Isaiah 49:4, 6)

Reclining at table with his disciples, Jesus was deeply troubled and testified, “Amen, amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me.”  (The one whom Jesus loved) leaned back against Jesus’ chest and said to him, “Master, who is it?”  Jesus answered, “It is the one to whom I hand the morsel after I have dipped it.”  So he dipped the morsel and took it and handed it to Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot.  (Later) Peter said to him, “… I will lay down my life for you.”  Jesus answered, “Will you lay down your life for me?  Amen, amen, I say to you, the cock will not crow before you deny me three times.” (John 13:21, 25-26, 37b-38)

Have mercy on me, God, in accord with your merciful love;
in your abundant compassion blot out my transgressions.
Thoroughly wash away my guilt;
and from my sin cleanse me.
(Psalm 51:3-4)

Jesus, the Suffering Servant, was sent into the world that salvation truly might reach to the ends of the earth. He has done nothing other than be faithful to the mission his Father gave him.  But here he is sitting at the table troubled and distressed as he’s sharing a final meal with his disciples.  He’s the best friend anyone could ever have, and it’s difficult to sit back and watch what goes on.
Jesus knows his betrayer will be Judas.  We watch Judas as he takes the morsel from Jesus.  He doesn’t even hesitate or look upset in the least.  He’s one calm, cool, collected actor.  You’d think his hand would tremble or he would wince at Jesus’ words.  But, no.  He shares what Jesus offers like this is just any other day.
And then there’s Peter wanting to know where Jesus is going if he’s leaving them.  Jesus tells Peter he can’t go with him right now.  He’ll have to wait till a later time.  Peter’s response is: Why not?  I would lay down my life for you.  He’s sincere, but we know that he doesn’t live up to his word just a few hours afterward.

It’s tempting to be judgmental, but we wouldn’t have a leg to stand on.  Maybe we’ve never sold Jesus out for a pile of coins, but every time we sin, we betray him.  We say we’re going to follow in his footsteps, but sometimes we find ourselves taking long detours.
And who among us could point a finger at Peter?  We always think we’re going to be faithful.  We don’t get up in the morning intending to sin, but the truth is that like the apostle Paul, we find that when we “want to do right, evil is at hand.”  (Romans 7:21) 
Spend some time today asking the Lord to forgive you for your betrayals.

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