“…I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me.”
The next use of ITYTT occurred at the Last Supper, before Jesus was betrayed by Judas and given into the hands of the chief priests. Jesus was reclining at a table to eat with His disciples. The likely posture Jesus took is one sitting on one side of the body with one arm supporting the body from the waste up while the legs are stretched out. The table was low to the floor, as was their custom. Others may have sat facing the table with their legs crossed. Both Matthew and Mark recall Jesus “reclining” at the supper table, a posture of relaxation and contentment. It was during this setting Jesus confronted His disciples with the above statement.
The reaction by the disciples was certainly not met with a hearty cheer, as Matthew described them being saddened by the declaration… so much so that each one replied to Jesus with, “Surely not I, Lord.” (v.22) Even many non-Christians can point to Judas as the one who betrayed Jesus. It is one of those historical episodes similar to Caesar’s betrayal by Brutus, or Lincoln’s assassination by John Wilkes Boothe: their names are preserved as benchmarks of betrayal and duplicity.
No one wants to be known as an unfaithful friend or for failing by lack of integrity. One of the worst things a friend can do to another friend is betray a confidence. Betrayal, it seems, is often the unforgiveable sin in the minds of sinful man. Perhaps that is why so many people feel unworthy to receive the gift of salvation: each of us has failed God in so many ways; each of us has betrayed Him when failing to speak up for good, or speak out truth, or speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves. That’s where satan and his imps of darkness trap our thinking and work to deceive the sinner into believing the lie that God would reject a sinner. There’s partial truth to the lie… that’s the way satan works – spinning partial truths so the broken mind and heart believe the lie and give up on ever becoming transformed and redeemed.
You see, satan knows us by our name and confronts us with our sin, while God knows us by our sin, yet calls us to Himself by our name. The eternal truth found in this passage is the picture of Jesus enjoying the meal celebration of the first night of Passover. It is a picture of heaven described by John’s vision in Revelation:
“Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out, ‘Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, The Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and exult and give Him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure’ – for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. And the angel said to me, ‘Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.’ And he said to me, ‘These are the true words of God.’”
(Revelation 19:6-9, ESV)
Though we have sinned, He has mercy and pardon for each of us who are willing to agree with Him about our sin and ask for forgiveness. Each of us may find ourselves stating, “Surely not I, Lord”, in our prayers. However, if we are completely true with ourselves and before God, we will readily confess the nature each of us has to wander from the path of righteousness. Ask God to take your heart and seal it… to protect it from the temptations leading to sin and betrayal of The Lord Who heals us from the disease of sin.
Have a blessed day… and look forward to the joy of Heaven’s banquet!