Meditation written by Cathy Tamsberg.
Read by Colleen Farris.
According to our sacred Scripture, this has been quite a week for Jesus and his followers. It begins with a parade in his honor but goes downhill after that. Even in the midst of the festivities we mark as Palm Sunday, there is a cloud hanging over Jesus. He’s already told his closest friends that he is going to Jerusalem to be killed like other prophets. Some try to persuade him not to go, but he won’t be deterred.
What our Gospel lectionary text for today adds is that Jesus’ death is made easier for his enemies through the help of one of his friends. (John 13:21-32) The theories are legion about why Judas betrayed Jesus. Some say it was part of God’s plan. Some say Judas wanted a Messiah who would overthrow Rome through violence if necessary. Others suggest that he might have just needed the cash. Whatever the reason, he betrayed not only Jesus, but also all those who were part of the community that included the twelve named disciples and the women and men who were close to Jesus.
Betrayal hurts. In whatever form it comes, to have a loved one break trust with us is one of the most painful things we can experience. People disappoint us all the time. Disagreement with others is common. As a result, sometimes we protect ourselves because we’re not sure whether someone we care for is truly trustworthy. But to have someone who is part of our inner circle, someone who has shared life with us, someone we’ve grown to trust betray us is a soul-deep pain from which some people never recover. Was this what Jesus was feeling? I wonder how much he knew ahead of time. Did he know for months that Judas was a traitor? Jesus’ ministry was very public so he couldn’t have been hard for the authorities to find. Why did they even need help from one of Jesus’ closest friends?
As you journey with Jesus toward the end of his life, consider this issue of betrayal. What causes it and how can we keep ourselves from breaking trust with those we love?
This meditation is from “Lent: Sowing Season, Holy Time,” a collection of daily readings by Associate Pastor Cathy Tamsberg. Each day during Lent, from Ash Wednesday, February 13, 2013, to Easter Sunday, March 31, 2013, a new excerpt read by a member of the Pullen congregation will be made available. To hear each day’s reading as it is published, subscribe to Pullen’s RSS feed, or listen to the podcast in iTunes.