Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Is it I who will betay you?

Mark 14:17-24(NLT)
  17 In the evening Jesus arrived with the twelve disciples. 18 As they were at the table eating, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, one of you eating with me here will betray me.”
   19  Greatly distressed, each one asked in turn, “Am I the one?”
   20 He replied, “It is one of you twelve who is eating from this bowl with me. 21 For the Son of Man must die, as the Scriptures declared long ago. But how terrible it will be for the one who betrays him. It would be far better for that man if he had never been born!”
  22  As they were eating, Jesus took some bread and blessed it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, “Take it, for this is my body.”
  23  And he took a cup of wine and gave thanks to God for it. He gave it to them, and they all drank from it. 24 And he said to them, “This is my blood, which confirms the covenant between God and his people. It is poured out as a sacrifice for many.

Every so often-- weekly, monthly, or quarterly, you and I participate in the Holy Sacrament of The Lord's Supper (also called 'Communion' by some denominations). Usually the pastor or other person presiding over the ceremony reads from the Gospel passages, perhaps from Mark 14:22-24, as Jesus describes it. He held up the bread and reminded them that he had often called himself 'the bread of life' or the 'bread from heaven.'  He next commanded them (it was not optional) to eat, as a means of remembering Christ's physical body was sacrificed for the forgiveness of sin. Next He commanded them to drink from the cup that represented Christ's shed blood. He reminded them that this shed blood confirmed the covenant between God and His people. God was finally providing his own lamb for the great blood sacrifice.

However, we seldom connect this passage with the paragraphs just prior. As they were sitting down to dinner, Jesus revealed that one of the twelve of them would betray him. The fact that several responded with the question "Lord, is it I" is very telling. Judas was not the only one who was questioning all that Jesus was teaching, saying, and doing. Judas was not the only one having second thoughts about who this man was claiming to be. If they knew for certain that they were unswervingly committed to His lordship, then they would not have asked the question.  The Lord responded that the bowl containing the shared meal of the sacrament was also being used by the one who would betray Him.  He clarified that this particular person would be better to never have lived at all. Apparently the consequence for betraying the Son of God, even though God gave Him to be sacrificed, was worse than anything ever experienced by any living person. I'm sure this must have sobered up the group. It prepped them for seeing the seriousness of the sacrament of remembrance He was introducing to His followers.

Do you wonder if there are betrayers in our midst in our churches and Christian organizations? Do you ever worry that you might make a decision to act in a way that would embarrass the name of Christ? Do you ever worry that you might decide to say or do something that would communicate you do NOT believe in Christ as God and Lord over all? How have your decisions and actions gone so far today? Let's take it to Him in prayer, shall we?

Your Servant in Christ's Love
Dan Elliott

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