Reading: Matthew 26

48 Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: ‘The one I kiss is the man; arrest him.’ 49 Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, ‘Greetings, Rabbi!’ and kissed him.

50 Jesus replied, ‘Do what you came for, friend.’

Then the men stepped forward, seized Jesus and arrested him.

Who is this Judas? Who is the betrayer? Faced with this question, are we capable of more than asking with the disciples: "Surely not I, Lord?"

Sermon in Finkenwalde 14 March 1937


Jesus had kept one secret from his disciples until the Last Supper (Matt 26:20-25). It is true that he had not left them in the dark about his path of suffering, but he had still not revealed to them the deepest secret. Only in the hour of their last fellowship in their Holy Communion could he say to them: The Son of Man will be handed over into the hands of sinners—through betrayal. "One of you will betray me."

By themselves, his enemies can gain no power over him. It is up to a friend, a very close friend, to hand him over; it is a disciple who betrays him. The most fearful event does not happen from the outside but from within. Jesus’ path to Golgotha has its beginning in a disciple’s betrayal. While some sleep that incomprehensible sleep in Gethsemane (Matt 26:40), one betrays him. In the end "all the disciples deserted him and fled" (Matt 26:56).