Thursday, August 27, 2009

Mark 14: 12- 26 (NRSV)

12 On the first day of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover lamb is sacrificed, his disciples said to him, "Where do you want us to go and make the preparations for you to eat the Passover?" 13 So he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, "Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you; follow him, 14 and wherever he enters, say to the owner of the house, 'The Teacher asks, Where is my guest room where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?' 15 He will show you a large room upstairs, furnished and ready. Make preparations for us there." 16 So the disciples set out and went to the city, and found everything as he had told them; and they prepared the Passover meal. 17 When it was evening, he came with the twelve. 18 And when they had taken their places and were eating, Jesus said, "Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me, one who is eating with me." 19 They began to be distressed and to say to him one after another, "Surely, not I?" 20 He said to them, "It is one of the twelve, one who is dipping bread into the bowl with me. 21 For the Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that one by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that one not to have been born." 22 While they were eating, he took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to them, and said, "Take; this is my body." 23 Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, and all of them drank from it. 24 He said to them, "This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. 25 Truly I tell you, I will never again drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God." 26 When they had sung the hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

“Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me, one who is eating with me...It is one of the twelve, one who is dipping bread into the bowl with me.”

Have you ever eaten at an Ethiopian restaurant? The meal is served on a common platter. Each diner takes a piece of bread and uses that bread to pick up the morsel of food. Ethiopian dining is akin to the dining experience Jesus would have shared with his disciples. They would have reclined to dine and shared a common bowl in which to dip their bread.
Jesus identification of his betrayer was actually no identification at all. Or was actually more true than it seems at first look. We know that Judas betrayed him to the authorities and so we think, projecting our knowledge back through time, that Jesus had singled out Judas. Actually Jesus had identified all of his disciples as betrayers. And it was so. When Jesus was arrested the disciples fled. Each, in his own way, betrayed Jesus.
Each, in his own way, betrayed Jesus. But each, except Judas, was able to face the truth of his failing. So all of them, except Judas, lived to see Jesus again. Judas betrayal was complete. He betrayed Jesus to the authorities and then he betrayed the hope that was in him. Each of us will be guilty of a betrayal at some point in our lives. We may betray a loved one or a friend. We may betray our own ideals. If we have the courage to face our failings Jesus will be there to to redeem them. Only when we abandon hope will any betrayal be complete.

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