Continued Reflections on the Holy Week Story
Readings for today: Matthew 26:17-46
And he gave (the cup) to them saying, “Drink from it all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” Matt 26:27-28
What a sharp contrast of emotions in today’s text! We are again reminded that one of Jesus’ own disciples will betray him. Jesus, who loved each disciple deeply, was wounded by Judas’ act. Judas was not an outside official who simply wanted to keep the status quo. Judas was a friend, who had seen, heard, and experienced Jesus’ ministry of healing and hope. Scholars speculate what motivated Judas to do this. Was it greed? Or disillusionment that Jesus was not the Messiah Judas wanted?
I think the motivation is left unclear so that we can have identification with Judas. At some time each of us has betrayed God or God’s children either in thought, word or deed. We profess that we love Jesus with our lips, but our actions towards his children betray our fickle hearts. We betray Jesus, when we do not love our neighbor as ourselves.
Yet on that night of betrayal, Jesus gave us the gracious gift of communion, the promise of forgiveness. In Luke’s gospel, it is clear that Judas was still present when the cup of the new covenant was passed among the disciples. God’s forgiveness was offered to Judas, even as he prepared to turn Jesus over to the high priest. God’s forgiveness knows no boundaries, and here is a clear example of his gracious, forgiving love. No matter who we are or what we have done, the promise of God’s forgiveness is declared for us. We are forgiven people.
When have you seen or visited someone who needed a tangible expression of God’s love? How can you help that person realize how precious they are to God?
Prayer: Lord God, thank you for the gift of your own body and blood. Let that gift strengthen me in the knowledge that you love me more than anything. Amen