Before we begin, read John 13:21-33, 36-38.
He was betrayed.
We’ve all been betrayed. If we’re honest with ourselves we can also say we’ve all betrayed someone. I think that’s what makes today’s part of the story so hard to read. We can all sit on both sides of this table. It’s easier to remember a time when someone did us wrong. We remembering the hurt and pain, the horror and agony we felt at the moment we realized that someone we loved had in fact turned against us. It’s much harder to look back and remember the times we’ve been the ones causing the pain.
Here today stand Judas and Peter, the betrayers. We often rank these betrayals in our minds. Judas’ seem the worst. He sells Jesus out for some silver. How often have we thought to ourselves who could do that? But really upon reflection how often have we done it ourselves? We betray Jesus when we put things and money ahead of people, when we see value only in more. We betray Jesus when we focus on our own needs instead of those our community. We have at times (if we are honest with ourselves) sold out our faith, our God at the expense of immediate comfort. It’s painful. It’s uncomfortable. It’s real.
Peter doesn’t look so bad after thinking of all that, does he? After all we know the end of the story. Peter becomes a great leader and teacher but Peter’s betrayal is not unknown to us either. How many times have we turned from God, have we downplayed our faith not intentionally but through silence? How often have we not spoken out, not shared the truth because we were afraid?
These betrayals, these moments within the story seem foreign to us. They are a part of a story long ago yet we live them time and again. Upon reflection we see moments in our lives that are Judas and Peter moments. These moments grieves us and they should. But there (like most stories with Jesus) is more to the story than what lays on the surface. These betrayals, as hard as they are seem strangely accepted by Jesus. As things unfold he doesn’t stand up and yell, or break down in tears. Jesus doesn’t throw them out or demand reasons. In this moment of agony and betrayal he stands firm in grace; he stands tall in truth. In this moment of pain he shows us once again how to live, how to love and how to move forward in life. He teaches us as much about living through what he doesn’t do as when he does something.
Today as we sink into these texts let’s really reflect on both sides of the matter. Let’s reflect on how we have been the betrayer but also let’s look at who we are when we are betrayed. Our actions, our choices they all reflect who we are inside and as we look to Jesus as an example, there is much we can learn here about a grace filled life.