Treachery: 11 March 2015

Bassano’s figures in The Last Supper seem alive, their skin seeming to hide rippling muscles and sinews instead of the wooden, tired postures of his early work.

Mark 14 18 While they were reclining at the table eating, he said, ‘Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me – one who is eating with me.’ 19 They were saddened, and one by one they said to him, ‘Surely you don’t mean me?’ 20 ‘It is one of the Twelve,’ he replied, ‘one who dips bread into the bowl with me.

Heb 3

7 So, as the Holy Spirit says:

‘Today, if you hear his voice,
8 do not harden your hearts
as you did in the rebellion,
during the time of testing in the wilderness,
9 where your ancestors tested and tried me,
though for forty years they saw what I did.
10 That is why I was angry with that generation;
I said, “Their hearts are always going astray,
and they have not known my ways.”
11 So I declared on oath in my anger,
“They shall never enter my rest.”’

12 See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. 13 But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called ‘Today’, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. 14 We have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original conviction firmly to the very end.

What can Judas have been thinking? Jesus was going to be arrested and crucified anyway. Judas could see that all the Jewish officials were angry with Jesus, and many wanted to put him to death. So Judas played the devil’s servant. "Et tu, Judas? How can you? Judas—you with whom Jesus has eaten! Judas—you with whom Jesus has shared his company, his table, and his pilgrimage for three years!

This was Jesus’ greatest night of need. He would be dying tomorrow. He needed to be able to count on his friends. When he turned to those who had pledged to protect him, it was Judas’s face that was fanged. He whom Jesus had loved and called to special service had become the kissing killer of Gethsemane.

Could it be that any of us who would dip our hand into the bowl with Jesus might in the garden plant the betrayer’s kiss on his face?

Lord Jesus, I am yours, but then so was Judas. I am known by all my friends to be your friend, but then so was Judas. I have usually done my Christian duty well, but then so did Judas. Help me to live in such honesty and devotion that I could never prove false in any Gethsemane