“Scenes from the passion” Lent devotion for Tuesday, February 23, 2021. Photo by Pablo Merchán Montes on Unsplash
And when it was evening, he came with the twelve. And as they were reclining at table and eating, Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me, one who is eating with me.” They began to be sorrowful and to say to him one after another, “Is it I?” He said to them, “It is one of the twelve, one who is dipping bread into the dish with me. For the Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.” (Mark 14:17-21)
Jesus certainly knows how to put a damper on the Passover festivities, doesn’t he? One moment they are drinking wine and remembering God’s powerful deliverance from Egypt. The next Jesus is accusing one of them of being a traitor.
The Chinese military general Sun Tzu and Michael Corleone (played by Al Pacino) in “The Godfather” both said, “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.” Who would have guessed Jesus followed that philosophy? After all, he hand picked the twelve. He knew their strengths and weaknesses. He knew all about their faith and their doubts. He knew who he could trust and who he needed to keep an eye on.
But for the disciples, Jesus’ words cut them to the heart. “One of you will betray me.” They all wondered out loud, “Could it be me?”
Imagine for a moment being in a room with Jesus and several of your closest friends. Imagine what it would feel like for Jesus to say, “I know that one of you is having an affair” “One of you is physically abusing someone in your family.” “One of you will is addicted to prescription medications.” “One of you is going to try and kill yourself.” How would you feel at that moment?
Can you feel the knot in your stomach? Are you wondering if Jesus is talking about you? Do you know that Jesus is talking about you?
Nothing escapes the eyes of our God. He knows when we wake up and when we fall asleep. He knows the number of our days. He knows the petitions of our prayers before we do. He knows our strengths and weaknesses. He knows all about our faith and our doubts. He knows who he can trust. And who he can’t.
I hope you are really uncomfortable right now. I am. My deepest thoughts, fears, doubts, sins and secrets are all known to him. The one whom I invite to my meals with the words, “Come, Lord Jesus…” knows everyone of my secret sins. Every bit of my life is known to the one I praise, thank and witness about. He knows me better than I know myself.
And yet he loves me. He loves the twelve. He loves the one dipping bread into the dish with him. He loves all those who come and confess, “I deserve your temporal and eternal punishment…” He loves those who cautiously kneel at the altar to eat and drink his body and blood, fulling knowing that we are no better than any one of the twelve, not even the one who betrayed the Lord.
One of the blessings of our faith is confession. When we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. A burden is lifted from our hearts and minds when we finally say, “I did it. It’s my fault. I was wrong. Please forgive me.” When our secret is no longer a secret we find grace in the one who knows, loves, dies for us.
We find grace in Him.
Heavenly Father, we know that you know. Thank you so much for making, knowing and loving me. Amen.