Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Is It I?

Continuing our theme of betrayal, we come to the Lord's Supper. This is the final meal with the disciples, and the chief priests are waiting for Judas to hand Jesus over.

Following the institution of the Lord's Supper, Jesus tells his disciples that one of them will betray him. He says, "For the Son of Man goes as it has been determined, but woe to that man by whom he is betrayed!" (Luke 22:22)

As we read the Gospels, we know from very early on that Judas is the one who is going to betray Jesus. As Jesus calls his twelve disciples, we read 'and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.' (Luke 6:16) We know, but the disciples don't.

It's significant that when Jesus tells them one of them is going to betray him, the other eleven don't immediately point to Judas. They don't know it's him. Instead, they instantly think that it could be them. As Luke writes, 'And they began to question one another, which of them it could be who was going to do this.' (Luke 22:23)

Or, as Matthew writes, 'And they were very sorrowful and began to say to him one after another, "Is it I, Lord?"' (Matthew 26:22) They were all fearful it could be them. No one suspected Judas.

To all intents and purposes, he was as much one of the twelve as the rest. Indeed, he had some responsibility, being the keeper of the common purse - the treasurer of the group. On the outside, he was a good member of the church, never missed, always present, maybe even a member of the Select Vestry. Yet on the inside, he was ruled by Satan, used by Satan, and betrayed his Master.

On Sunday, I was talking to the Confirmation Class about the church, and was explaining the difference between the visible church and the invisible church - between the outward attenders and the Lord's people. We can't know the hearts of our brothers and sisters, but the Lord surely does.

Judas may have made a show of his membership of the twelve, but ultimately, he was found out when he completed his evil work of treachery and betrayal. May our outsides and our insides match up!

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