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March 31, 2021

“After saying this Jesus was troubled in spirit, and declared, ‘Very truly, I tell you, one of you will betray me.” John 13:21

There’s something comforting about knowing that Jesus was troubled in spirit. Sometimes the events of the Passion seem so mechanical. But this story was lived. Even from the viewpoint of his divinity, even knowing what must happen, Jesus must have been heartbroken to know that Judas Iscariot, whom he loved, was about to betray him.

What to make of Judas? A predetermined piece in God’s puzzle? A money-hungry cheat? A rabid revolutionary who was trying to force Jesus’ hand?

I don’t know. But I know Jesus loved him, and I know Jesus was troubled.

Betrayal is among the most painful things we can endure. The random vicissitudes of life and the slings of those who oppose us are hard enough to bear. To be hurt by one we love is something else entirely.

But this, too, is taken up into the redemptive story of Holy Week and Easter. Whatever Judas’s intentions, God turns them to the divine purpose. Jesus, troubled in spirit but filled with love and forgiveness, goes to the glory of the cross to put our relationships back together. God’s love is a love that will never betray us.

Be well, friends. You are loved.

God, this world is full of trouble and woe. Keep us faithful to you and to one another. Thank you for Jesus, in whose willing suffering we find life. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Image: Judas Iskariot, Eilif Peterssen, 1878 (public domain).

From → COVID-19, Lent/Easter

One Comment
  1. Robert Jandeska permalink

    Jesus was expecting the betrayal, which is like a emotional knife into the heart but I think that Jesus was not expecting to be forsaken by God. The unexpected is a real “punch in the gut”. The fact that Jesus did this willingly for you and for me always makes me sad and say thank you.

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