THE BOWL OF BETRAYAL
There is a bowl on the Lord’s Table. It is a smaller bowl than the one used to wash feet. This one is full of pain and darkness. It is the bowl of betrayal.
Judas Iscariot – one of the chosen twelve. He was trusted to take care of their money. This disciple was chosen and sent out with the other disciples. There was no mistaking that he had seen miracles and healings happen even without the Master present. They had all been sent with Jesus’ blessing and came back reporting about the powerful things they had been part of.
Just moments before Jesus had bent low and washed Judas’ feet. Judas did not protest like Peter. He did not suddenly open up and tell Jesus the awful truth about what he was going to do. No, Judas blended in and went along with one more round of Jesus’ strange behaviour.
Here’s a new bowl. It contains the wine of Jesus’ blood. And the bread of Jesus’ broken body goes in to the bowl and is given to Judas. Jesus was giving himself to his betrayer. He was giving sacrifice and an offer of restitution to a man who was too far gone to care.
Why did Judas allow for this bowl of betrayal? Was he too self-important to accept the humility God offered? Was Judas’ too focused on money to see what was going on in his heart? Was he too afraid of the Jews and the Romans? Judas dipped in the bowl of betrayal and it cost the Lord everything. Betrayers do not go free, though. He left bound by the Devil.
What did a demon-possessed Judas look like? Did he froth at the mouth and utter curses in strange voices? In fact, he looked as if he were going to buy bread or to do charity work.
How do you handle the bowl of betrayal when someone you have loved and cared for sells you out? How do you handle the one who blended in so well that most did not see any problem? When a betrayer leaves you, they leave in darkness. Judas took the piece of bread with him, but I do not think he ate it.
Jesus was straightforward with Judas. He told him to go do what he had to do. He did not sound the alarm or publicly make a show of Judas. Originally, it was only John and Peter who knew. Jesus let Judas go without turning it into a spectacle.
When we are betrayed by others, let’s learn from Jesus’ response. Love your betrayers even as they go about their dark deeds against you. In the long run, truth and love will shine like the stars. Betrayal and darkness will all be brought into the light where justice will be served. God forgets nothing and will eventually deal with this bowl of betrayal.
So we have this bowl of humility. It takes a strong man or woman to serve from this dish. And, we have the bowl of betrayal. It takes a weak man or woman to dish it out and betray the ones who love them. But if your starting point is the bowl of humility, you can keep your dignity when someone dips in the bowl of betrayal with you.
If you have betrayed someone or they have betrayed you, there is forgiveness in the blood of Christ. Jesus died to replace all that has been lost. We need the cross to help us leave the past behind.
When we are betrayed, let’s learn to wash the feet of our betrayers. Let the love of God empower you to be humble. Serve them and offer peace as long as they are with you. When they leave you, leave them to God.