The Rev. Canon Stuart A. Kenworthy
Today’s Gospel: John 13:21-32
Holy Week (Passover) and the streets of Jerusalem are swollen with pilgrims from the known world. Storm clouds are building all around Jesus and his disciples as his three year ministry is about to close. In the portion of John’s Gospel we have today, it is a crucial moment of transition for Jesus and his disciples.
Judas is a disciple of Jesus. I have never met a Judas. There are probably not many in the world who carry his infamous name: Certainly not by choice. In the midst of this last supper with his disciples Jesus offers last words in long looping discourses of last instructions, foot-washing and more last words. It is filled with love as Jesus, the Son of God, is about to begin his own Passover into light and glory. Jesus, who can read every human heart, exposes this disciple whom he already knows will betray him.
Why does Judas betray Jesus? No one knows for sure. The Gospels offer some reasons and there are several speculations. The Gospels suggest it could be greed, or that the devil overtook him leading him into darkness and in that he was used to set up the final confrontation between God and the powers of evil, darkness and fall. Or perhaps it was his self-will to provoke a revolution as he looked for another kind of “kingdom.”
For whatever his reasoning, the act of betrayal is done. Immediately Judas went out, and as it is written, “it was night.”
I said earlier, I have never met a Judas. But maybe I spoke too fast. Perhaps I must consider how I have turned from Jesus at times in my life. And then, always to remember his rising to new life, from the tomb, with love, healing, forgiveness and reconciliation for all who turn to him.
Deep peace to you in Holy Week 2018
Ah Holy Jesus
Johann Heermann (1585-1647)
“Who was the guilty? Who brought this upon thee? Alas my treason, Jesus, hath undone thee. ‘Twas I, Lord Jesus, I it was denied thee: I crucified thee.
For me, kind Jesus, was thy incarnation, thy mortal sorrow, and thy life’s oblation; thy death of anguish and thy bitter passion, for my salvation.”