Betrayed at the Table

 I see Him at the table as He's surrounded by men. Men who have listened and followed. Men and brothers, who He's loved deeper than any human could fathom. I see Jesus is beginning to feel the weight and bitterness of the cross hanging in His periphery. I can see Him start to feel the distance He must walk from His brothers at this table and yet toward them at one to come. 

I can see Him recall the days of great joy and laughter with this ragtag family of His. Sadness and then great joy as He reminds Himself that He has not lost one whom the Father has given Him. He savers this moment with the Father. The closeness and tenderness even in the midst of loud clamouring men. He can feel the stillness of The Spirit loving and comforting Him. He wants to cling to this and not think of the moment when the distance of being a criminal will be His to know. 

I can see His heart for these men as He scans the room and sees glimpses of them in their future selfs, laying down everything for Him. How they will love not their lives even unto death. How they will one day rejoice in the great gift of partnering with Him in this suffering. 

He sees past the fleeing in the garden, the rooster crows, and looks of betrayal on their faces. Just for a moment He sees what they soon will be instead of who they are now. 

Then His eyes still on one man. His heart sinks and great sorrow bites the corners of His eyes. He sees the money bag being carelessly tossed to and fro beneath the wooden table that is not only a reminder of tomorrow but of even greater tomorrow yet to come. 

How bittersweet. 

I see the intense love and remorse that He feels as He looks into the eyes of His betrayer. And the realization that soon looking into those eyes will mean gazing into the eyes of satan himself. 

Realizing that nothing He's touched before has led to the ignition of pure darkness until tonight. The power in His hands has always brought life and now He will be imparting His own death through them. Death in the shape of a harmless piece of wine soaked bread. 

In His heart I hear Him thank His Father for this man. I hear Him thank Him for the short moments He got to love this lost man. And I feel His heart break. He's never had misguided anger. The depths of His love are too great for that. 

I see Him stand to His feet and wrap a towel around His waste. I see the part of the story we never read. Where He kneels before this man, unstraps his sandals, and begins to wash his feet. The feet of the only one whom He knows will never be clean. It's not a demonstration. He's not setting an example with him. Jesus is actually saying His deepest and truest "I love you" and "goodbye" to the one who's already chosen the other side.

The words, "I will serve you until the end," echoes from His heart. 

As He washes his feet I hear the jingling of coins in this man's hands. Even in this sacred moment the melody of self and pride hums louder in Judas' ears than the cascading echoes of love and sacrifice washing over his feet. And still Jesus washes. Knowing every thought and intent of the heart, He continues to make one of the greatest gestures of love to someone who will never love in return. 

Fast forward to the table, where Jesus is reclining with His most beloved brothers. Some laying upon His breast even. The love and intimacy of this moment isn't even painted accurately in our imaginations. 

I see Jesus hand the bread to Judas and feel the final goodbye hanging in the air as that serpent of old, the accuser of the brethren, steals away the heart and soul of His friend. There is a sadness over the loss of even this one. Not because it wasn't planned or that it was unexpected but because He loved him. 

But we know what Sunday brings. 

We laugh at the ignorance of that serpent as he breaks away into the night. Sauntering off, with a grin only pure evil can muster, he truly believes he has somehow crafted this plan and could now win. But it's Jesus who lets him slip out the door with money bag in hand, knowing He has set in motion the greatest act of love this world will ever see. 

The Great Rescue. 

As we sit and envision this moment in our imaginations it's so easy to hang Judas in our minds. To be filled with anger and maybe even betrayal over what he's done. To see his graphic death that we have read about and applaud the gruesome details of it all. But how many of us have sat and seen ourselves in the same chair Judas once sat?

Sit there now and imagine that money bag in hand. Heavy and warm. Imagine the promise of success, comfort, and security Judas was fed. The same promise offered to Jesus in the desert, that He refused, and yet Judas succumbed too. 

Imagine for a moment how each step Judas took led him to this chair. Every little lie he believed. Every inch he gave to greed. How much different are we really? Are we brave enough to ask what our price would have been? What it is now even? The pursuit of happiness and what it will cost us?

We've all handed that money bag over to those eager and willing to crucify our King. We've all played the same part of betrayal. We've all been the mockers and the soldiers bidding for His garments. We've all pressed the vinegar into His wounds. To compare our lives and place ourselves any higher than Judas is a cruel deception. We've all stood on the mountains tops of this world and have been enticed with self. We are placed here everyday. The difference between us and Judas is that the cross has passed. We have a choice now to no longer choose self, to throw down the money bag, and to take up our own cross and follow the only One worth following. Not for gain in this life but for eternal gain in the next. Not because we are better than Judas but because we are the same. And Jesus still chose that cross for us. So that we can no longer be Judas but so that we can be HIS. 

Washed not by the dusty water of Jerusalem but the purifying blood of our Saviour Jesus Christ. 

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