Blog 22 – John 13:18-30

Betrayal – Those closest hurt most

SNL Sunday 10 March 2013 7.00pm

This blog as usual is written not by John the evangelist but by Derek McKelvey.

The meal began and we all relaxed as the wine and food were shared, the way we lay down at the table[1], I was on one side of Jesus, where if I lay back my head would be against his chest and Judas on the other – looking back I assume he arranged that somehow but I certainly did not notice till afterwards. The places either side of the host were places of honour so I don’t know how Judas felt about it – awkward I suppose but then I did not notice – after (and during) the foot-washing we all felt awkward so we would not have noticed him if he did.

But then Jesus started this conversation about someone betraying him. Peter caught my attention and got me to ask him whom he meant. He was cryptic as often he could be (or maybe I was not putting two and two together). He said it was the one to whom he gave the bread dipped in the bitter herbs. And then he dipped the bread leant back and said to Judas as he gave him the bread – ‘whatever you have to do, do it quickly’ – it sounded like another message to the one who carried the money, and I did not twig – but funny the one thing I noticed was as Judas went out the door, it had gone dark since we came in. It was night – reading that now I get the significance that escaped me then – what Judas was about to do could only be done in darkness.

You have no idea how we felt when we knew all of what was going on – we were devastated by his betrayal and arrest – yes of course but what you could so easily miss was how devastated and upset we were that it was Judas – he was one of us – we had walked with him, talked long into the night with him, teased him – he was our friend, our companion, our soul mate – the pain of that was terrible. The Christian world down the years has blackened his name – few people call their children Judas in your world. But he was not all bad – that’s why it hurt so much. No blow so cruel as the hurt of a friend! How true!

[1] People reclined at table, normally lying on their left shoulder and eating and drinking with their right hand.