Reflection

“I took the money, I spiked your drink, you miss too much these days if you stop to think… waves of regret and waves of joy, I reached out for the one I tried to destroy,” sings Bono of Judas Iscariot in the song “Until the End of the World,” from U2’s 1991 album Achtung Baby. Betrayed by one close to him, once again, Jesus speaks of his glory. The betrayal was already a fait accompli. The tap of an index finger against the first domino that would topple the rest occurs when Jesus, having dipped the bread, passes it to Judas. In this action he both identifies the one who would stab him in the back and seals the course of his own fate.  

We are no less guilty than Judas. 

Most of us would rather not think that we could betray a friend, especially if that friend were Jesus, but how honest would that be? Each of us carries the potential for betrayal like we carry the genes of our parents. It is in our DNA. Augustine called this “original sin” and into it we are all born. Self-preservation at all costs is what drives Judas and it is what drives us. When Jesus’ way no longer seems convenient to us or upsets our expectations, the temptation to abandon, deny, reject, and outright betray knocks at the door of each one of our hearts. 

Question

By way of confession, take some time to think of the ways in which you have denied, rejected, abandoned, maybe even betrayed Jesus in word and deed. The good news, though, is that he never abandons us. How has the one to whom we’ve reached out to destroy restored us by his love? 

Prayer

Lord, we confess that we are not that much different than Judas who betrayed you with a kiss. We are not any less human than Peter who thrice denied you. Our inclination towards self-preservation makes us no different from the remaining disciples who scattered at your arrest. Lord, forgive us for the ways in which we have cut and run from you. Give us the boldness to stand by your side and to profess our trust in you. Amen.

The Art

The art in our title image is a detail of Caravaggio’s (1571-1610) painting The Taking of Christ. To see the entire image or download, see Wikimedia Commons.

<i>The Taking of Christ</i> by Caravaggio (1571-1610)

TPW's Holy Week Meditation Series

Join us this Holy Week as Scott Bullock leads us through thoughtful meditations every day, perfect for busy pastors (and others!) seeking a moment of calm and to focus on our Lord. A new meditation will be posted on the TPW blog every day—and if you wish, you can download a copy of the whole series below.

Scott Bullock is a Board Member and Contributor with The Pastors Workshop. He is an ordained Presbyterian minister who has served churches in Illinois, New Jersey, and California. He holds an MA in New Testament Studies from Wheaton College, an MDiv from Fuller Theological Seminary, and a ThM in New Testament from Princeton Theological Seminary. Scott is married with three teen-aged children.

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