“It’s almost time,” Jesus thinks to himself. His eyes slowly gaze upon his disciples. They are settling down as they take their places at the table. The sounds of boisterous talking, as they recount the act of the woman and her alabaster jar of costly oil.
“Why would he talk about his burial preparations?” Thomas wondered.
“Brother, you remember what the Rabbi told us. The time will come when He will suffer great things for the sake of mankind,” responded Peter boldly.
“So now you are confident in this?” retorted Thomas sharply.
“He is the Messiah, the son of the living God,” Peter answered. Thomas looked at Peter with a questionable glare.
Jesus overhears the conversation taking place, but his concern lies with one in particular. He is still missing. “Judas,” He motions with his lips. Suddenly, the door opens as Judas walks in, the last of the twelve to arrive. He is greeted warmly as the others stand to embrace and kiss him. A kiss? Irony can be so cruel as it is the same gesture he would use to betray the Messiah.
They are all seated. The celebration of the Passover begins as they feast on the meal that was prepared. Jesus, who is reclined at the table (Luke 22:14), begins to bless the supper one last time. The disciples have no idea that their world will be turned upside down in just a few hours.
“This is my body” Jesus states. By His stripes people shall be healed (Isaiah 53:5)
“This is my blood” He continues to say. The blood that was shed on the cross will pay the price for the wages of sin and death. (Ephesians 2:13)
“One of you will betray me,” Jesus calmly announces.
The twelve begin to question who will be the one to commit such a treacherous act against God!
Judas doesn’t utter a word. He shifts in place.
“How could he know?” He mutters to himself. “Did someone tell him?” He looks up as he locks eyes with Jesus. Finally, he responds,“surely, it is not I Lord?”
“It is as you say,” Jesus replies.
As we are on the cusp of celebrating the Superbowl of all holidays (as my Pastor likes to call it!), I was reminded of the last supper. The scriptures don’t explain why Judas betrayed Jesus. He walked with Jesus. He saw him perform many miracles such as healing the sick, casting out demons, and even raising the dead back to life. Similarly, we may have those who walk in our circle; however, they don’t have our best interest at heart. We never even see it coming. These are the types of people who will flash a fake smile and yet, whisper behind your back. Friends, have you ever felt the sting of betrayal?
I have experienced that feeling far too often in my own lifetime. It hurts like heck. You are left feeling abandoned, and naked as your wounds are open flesh for the birds of the air to pick on. Vivid memories flash before me as I think of the people who I loved, and entrusted my deepest secrets and fears to. As a part of me grieves for the lost friendships, the holy spirit reminded me of the scripture found in the book of Psalms, chapter 23 verse 5, “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You have anointed and refreshed my head with oil; My cup overflows.”
Jesus never once called Judas out. He never treated him any different, nor stopped sharing the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, and loved him unconditionally. He defied all odds by allowing his enemy to sit at the table and partake of the special meal that was intended for him and his companions. It was a foreshadow and a reminder to Judas that he was the word that became flesh and his mission was soon going to be fulfilled.
Ultimately, God always foils the plans of our enemies. In our darkest hour, with our backs up against the wall, we have confidence in knowing this—God is our protector and he will stop at nothing to see you through because victory has been won.