Tuesday, July 24th. Mark 14:10-16

Then Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve, went to the chief priests in order to betray him to them. When they heard it, they were greatly pleased, and promised to give him money. So he began to look for an opportunity to betray him.

 

On the first day of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover lamb is sacrificed, his disciples said to him, “Where do you want us to go and make the preparations for you to eat the Passover?” So he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, “Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you; follow him, and wherever he enters, say to the owner of the house, ‘The Teacher asks, Where is my guest room where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ He will show you a large room upstairs, furnished and ready. Make preparations for us there.” So the disciples set out and went to the city, and found everything as he had told them; and they prepared the Passover meal. Mark 14:10-16

 

Again today we see a contrast – one disciple making a deal to betray Jesus while other disciples make preparations for what they do not realize will be his last meal.

 

We normally read this story from a distance.  As if the events being remembered happened back there, far from us.  That is natural and, also, true.  But Mark wasn’t written as a diary, it was written as a directive.  It isn’t so much about remembering the past as it is transforming the present which then opens up the possibilities of a new future.

 

So we read this all too familiar story and we notice Judas.  Modern Christian reactions to Judas have been all over the board.  Some might say, “Good bye and good riddance” without losing any sleep over the idea of Judas roasting in the fires of hell for all eternity.  Others might say that Judas got a bum rap, that God used him as a pawn to set in stage what God had long ago decided would be Jesus’ path.  Still others, somewhere in the middle, would argue that Judas was deeply disappointed in Jesus for raising people’s hopes but not raising the army that could free them.

 

Mark doesn’t clear any of this up for us.  Matthew, Luke, and John don’t help either.  All tell the story of the betrayal with slightly different details but no one provides clarity.

 

What can we take away from these contrasting disciples?  Certainly more is going on in this story than what they are aware of.  This matters.  The world doesn’t revolve around us.  We play our parts but the larger drama of life is far more than we can see.  Our motives are usually mixed and our actions often betray us, even as they betray the God we seek to follow.

 

We can also hear that distant drum of death in these verses.  We know what lies around the corner but we can’t do anything to stop or prevent what is going to happen.  We hear the drum and we know that the time is short.  What will we do to make the best of that time?

 

Let us pray:  Dear Lord, it is painful to hear the story again of your betrayal.  To see one of your own turn against you – and to remember again our own betrayals, our own disappointment and dashed expectations.  We pray today that, in our lives and in our time, as your holy purpose is worked out, that we might surrender to your will rather than imposing our own.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

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