‘Last Supper Lessons’ Meditations: 7. Jesus’ Foreknowledge
Jn 13:21 “Very truly I tell you, one of you is going to betray me.”
Some of the things found in these four chapters are fairly obvious, the things you might expect to hear from Jesus when preparing his disciples for the days to come, working to get them into a right way of thinking about who they are and, more importantly, who he is and who God the Father is but, even as I have sought to show in the past couple of days, some of the things we find here are highly unexpected. No more so is this time when he speaks about Judas Iscariot – although it is clear they do not realise this is who he is referring to. But then come these devastating words: “One of you is going to betray me.”
What? Is that me he’s talking about? We’re his disciples, his followers, the ones who have stood faithfully with him for these past three years. We have gone where he’s gone, we’ve done what he told us to do, even though it’s been a bit confusing sometimes – but we’ve done it. No, this can’t be right, he’s got to have got this wrong. One of us who have stood with him all this time is now going to betray him????
What does betray mean? It has an element of giving over to an enemy about it, doesn’t it? It speaks of disloyalty, going against, handing over to the opposition by sneaky means…. doesn’t it? How could this apply to any of us?
So we read it and think about it. No, it’s Judas. Oh thank goodness. But it could equally be me sometimes, I have that potential. Potential is a strange thing, it’s all about capacity to become or do something. Max Hastings is an historian who has written incredibly factual books about the two world wars of the twentieth century, often showing how individuals acted and it leaves you with the reality that under such conditions every one of us has the capability of awful behaviour. William Golding’s ‘Lord of the Flies’ sought to show the same thing. In our present ease and comfort we may find it difficult to accept, but it is true, and can be true of me. And Jesus knows that.
How can I cope with that? I cope knowing that Jesus knows all about me, knows my bad capabilities, knows I open my mouth sometimes and get it wrong, knows I sometimes go where angels fear to tread, knows I have this propensity to misunderstand – and yet knowing all this he still loves me and is there for me. In fact he’s there for me to help me become less like that, he’s constantly on my case to bless me and bless others through me. Oh wow, that’s humbling! He sees the worst in me and instead of condemning me says, as we suggested yesterday, “How can I serve you, how can I help you,” because there but for the grace of God go I.