After saying this Jesus was troubled in spirit, and declared, “Very truly, I tell you, one of you will betray me.” The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he was speaking. One of his disciples—the one whom Jesus loved—was reclining next to him; Simon Peter therefore motioned to him to ask Jesus of whom he was speaking. So while reclining next to Jesus, he asked him, “Lord, who is it?” Jesus answered, “It is the one to whom I give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.” So when he had dipped the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas son of Simon Iscariot. After he received the piece of bread, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, “Do quickly what you are going to do.” Now no one at the table knew why he said this to him. Some thought that, because Judas had the common purse, Jesus was telling him, “Buy what we need for the festival”; or, that he should give something to the poor. So, after receiving the piece of bread, he immediately went out. And it was night.
Reflection – Brandon Hudson
All of us long for special insight, for a way to dabble in some insider trading on knowledge that will put us in a special light. We can join with Peter in leaning close to Jesus and asking for a little favor of explanation when the way seems cryptic.
Why do we have this drive? What keeps us from being content and doing the work simply to follow and obey and walk in the way we have been told?
In today’s reading, Peter asks Jesus to clarify what he means, to give him insight into who it will be that will betray Jesus. Maybe Peter wants to know because he is afraid it is him to whom Jesus is referring. Maybe Peter wants to know because he still doesn’t want to be a part of this campaign of vulnerability and suffering upon which Jesus has embarked. Maybe Peter still feels like he can change the course of this journey if only he could clearly identify when the betrayal would happen.
But that is not how this journey works. Even when it seems that Peter knows that Jesus is indicating Judas as the betrayer, he still must walk with Jesus to the garden and watch him be arrested. And, what is more, when he does try to stop it from happening by striking one of the arresting soldiers, he is reprimanded by Jesus!
I often wish that my faithfulness could be measured in my knowledge, that any insight I might gain would circumvent the necessity of picking up my cross and following the Way of Jesus. But, alas, that is not how this journey works. I’m not called to protect Jesus on his journey; I’m called to follow – wherever he leads.
My prayer for us as we continue on this journey together is that we would pursue faithfulness over insight, that we would not just walk with Jesus to the garden and then resume our old ways of violence and discrimination, but would instead follow not only in Jesus’ footsteps, but in the pattern of life he shows us – a way of living that accepts betrayals and strife and even seeming defeat as part of the journey of faithfulness. May we recline next to Jesus not to garner insight into who to hate or how to protect the one who eschews protection, but to gain perspective, to draw close enough to see the world the way that He does. Then, our journey will be faithful, ready to forgive instead of strike, even when it costs us everything. It may be night in our souls and in our circumstances, but together, let us walk with the Light.