Monday, August 10, 2009

So Close...Yet So Far

There are some passages of Holy Scripture that are more worrisome to me, than others. Take this coming week's sermon text from John 13:18-38. It this encounter around the table Jesus introduces to His followers that there is a betrayer in their midst. One who has journeyed with them for three years and one who had the responsibility of keeping the common purse of this band of Jesus followers. As the writer John records it becomes obvious by the end of the meal, that the betrayer is Judas.

What makes this disclosure even more striking is that even at the very time of Judas' turning he is sharing bread with Jesus, he is in close proximity and fellowship with the one whom he will turn over the authorities for 30 pieces of silver. (Matthew 26:15) So close, yet so far away.

Whenever I read the accounts of Judas' betrayal (Matthew 26:14, Mark 14:10, Luke 22:3) I wonder does that capacity reside within me? I pray not! John makes an interesting comment in John 13:27, that it was after he took the bread from Jesus that Satan entered his heart. At one level it sounds like up to that point Judas still had the opportunity to do right. I certainly cannot say what the reasons where for Judas to betray the Lord, I am sure there was more than one, but the bottom line is, he did.

It's easy to cast Judas in a bad light, but the passage goes on to remind us that Judas was not the only "betrayer" in the group. Even Peter, the Rock, one of Jesus' closest disciples would turn his back on the Lord. He stood in the shadows of Jesus' trial and when questioned as to his commitment to Jesus of Nazareth, denied knowing Him, not once, not twice, but three times. (John 18:25-27) Peter even knew what was coming (John 13:36-38), he could have steeled himself for the coming trial, but alas, he too betrayed his Lord. He was so close, yet so far away.

What about me? So close...

Stay close!!!

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