“When evening came, Jesus was reclining at the table with the Twelve. And while they were eating, he said, ‘Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me.’
“They were very sad and began to say to him one after the other, ‘Surely you don’t mean me, Lord?’
“Jesus replied, ‘The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me. The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.'”
“Then Judas, the one who would betray him said, ‘Surely you don’t mean me, Rabbi?’
“Jesus answered, ‘You have said so.'”
The setting for these verses is the Last Supper in the Upper Room. This would be the last time the disciples would all be together before the crucifixion of Jesus.
What is astonishing about this passage is that right after Judas says this, Jesus offers to him the holy sacrament of bread and wine. It would not be surprising to me if Jesus were looking into the eyes of Judas when Jesus broke bread and said, “Judas, this is my body broken for you. This is the blood of the new covenant which is poured out for you for the forgiveness of sins.”
It’s as if Jesus was saying to Judas, “You don’t have to do this. You can repent. You can change your ways. But even if you don’t, remember you are mine. I will forgive you this sin as well.”
It’s not just Judas who would betray Jesus that night. Within a few hours, Peter will so vehemently deny Jesus that Peter curses and swears that he does not know this man!
It’s not just Judas and Peter who would deny Jesus.
When the chief priest and the elders of the people arrive with the Roman soldiers to arrest Jesus, Matthew tells us, “Then all the disciples deserted Jesus and fled” (Matthew 26:56).
In a matter of hours after the Last Supper, every single one of the disciples of Jesus deserted Jesus.
Jesus knew this. Jesus knew every single one of his disciples would betray him, disavow him, desert him and yet still offered up his body and blood for his disciples in the holy sacrament of communion and ultimately on the cross.
This is why we have hope.
How many times have we betrayed him? Disavowed him? Deserted him?
Yet, Jesus still offers himself to us to forgive our sins.
Thank you, Jesus.