17When evening came, Jesus arrived with the Twelve. 18While they were reclining at the table eating, he said, “I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me—one who is eating with me.”
19They were saddened, and one by one they said to him, “Surely not I?”
20“It is one of the Twelve,” he replied, “one who dips bread into the bowl with me. 21The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.”
One Track Mind
(I will be away at a conference for the rest of this week, so it’s a good chance to try to do some devotionals on your own!)
At one time, people actually hated the Jews because they blamed them from the death of Jesus. I guess the logic went that if the Jews never existed, then Jesus wouldn’t have had to die such a terrible death! And surely it would have been better for him to live a nice, full life, right? Not really, when you think about it – if Jesus had “survived” and not been crucified…who would have paid for our sins and their consequences? We would all be dead in our sins, and there would be no hope for salvation outside a perfectly holy life. This is what happens when you look at the crucifixion from a purely worldly point of view…it doesn’t really make much sense. It is not a purely historical event – it is also a deeply spiritual, even metaphysical one.
But in the same way, you might ask if Jesus was God, why didn’t he know what was going to happen? And we are given the answer in this passage – he did know, he just chose to do nothing about it. He knew that one of the 12 would betray him, even knew who it was (from other gospel accounts)…but he still went ahead with it. Even though he knew of the terrible events that were to come, he made no effort to avoid them.
This may not seem that significant on the surface, until you personalize it. Would you have tried to avoid it? If you were faced with the nightmare of Good Friday, to suffer terribly for a people who didn’t deserve it, would you have followed through with it? I know I wouldn’t. I would have bound and gagged Judas, and then ran like the coward that I am. Even for a friend…I’m not sure I would willingly go to such lengths. And the question we have to ask ourselves is why did Jesus go through with it? And there are only a few possible answers, really:
…That the victory far outweighed the suffering
…That there was no other way, and no other person, who could accomplish it
…That he loved us enough to suffer on our behalf
And the incredible, mind-bending thing that we realize is that all three of these true!
1. Could you see yourself doing what Jesus did for anyone in your life?
2. How does the fact that even though Jesus was fully aware of what was to come, and still did it anyway, change or enhance your understanding of his love for you?
3. Jesus’ example teaches us that sometimes, even though the road may be tremendously difficult, we need to keep the end in sight – is there a situation that is difficult for you now, but you feel will be worth it if you persevere or take the high road?