Saturday, April 1, 2017

Daily Devotion for Lent 2017 - Day 28, Saturday

Today's Reading: John 13:21-38 (NRSV)

I never understood how the other disciples let Judas off the hook.  Jesus specifically states that one of them will betray him.  They ask Jesus the identity of this betrayer and Jesus replies that it is the one to whom he gives bread.  Then he dips it in the dish and gives it to Judas.

At this point, I always expected the other disciples to say, "Get him, boys!"  They would then jump Judas and tie him up to keep him from betraying Jesus.

This doesn't happen.  It is almost as if this were too cryptic for them to grasp.  We do see they are confused when Judas leaves.  I would think it would be obvious!

I prefer my evil to be more
obvious like an iconic witch-queen.
When it comes from a friend
sharing a meal, it is far more insidious.
It is important to note that this is not Holy Communion in John's Gospel.  I had to read it over twice even though I already knew that John didn't contain any overt reference to this sacrament.

The story reads as if Judas is possessed by the devil.  This particular detail begs the question, how much personal responsibility should Judas be given for the betrayal if he is possessed?  Is it because of some character flaw or earlier sin that allows Satan to enter Judas?

It is interesting to note that John doesn't speak of Satan entering Peter when he denies Jesus. I take this to mean that John sees that general evil does not necessarily determine demonic possession but that the betrayal of God's Son is a special case.

In essence, John is setting up a cosmic battle between good and evil as we see that the player is not really a human being at all but evil incarnate.  Note that Judas slips away at night and we remember that Jesus is the light that overcomes the darkness.

But not yet.

Prayer for the day:

The right hand of the Lord preserve me always to old age!
The grace of Christ perpetually defend me from the enemy!
Direct, Lord, my heart into the way of peace.
Lord God, hasten to deliver me, make haste to help me, O Lord.

     AEthelwold, bishop of Winchester, 10th Century

Photo by looseey via  Used under the Creative Commons license.

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