40 Days to the Cross: Reflections from Great Thinkers (Week Five: Wednesday)

Wednesday

Confession: Psalm 103:1–5

Bless Yahweh, O my soul,

and all within me, bless his holy name.

Bless Yahweh, O my soul,

and do not forget all his benefits:

who forgives all your iniquity,

who heals all your diseases,

who redeems your life from the pit,

who crowns you with loyal love and mercies,

who satisfies your life with good

so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

Reading: Mark 14:43–52

And immediately, while he was still speaking, Judas—one of the twelve—arrived, and with him a crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders. Now the one who was betraying him had given them a sign, saying, “The one whom I kiss—he is the one. Arrest him and lead him away under guard!” And when he arrived, he came up to him immediately and said, “Rabbi,” and kissed him. So they laid hands on him and arrested him.

But a certain one of the bystanders, drawing his sword, struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his ear. And Jesus answered and said to them, “Have you come out with swords and clubs, as against a robber, to arrest me? Every day I was with you in the temple courts teaching, and you did not arrest me! But this has happened in order that the scriptures would be fulfilled.”

And they all abandoned him and fled. And a certain young man was following him, clothed only in a linen cloth on his naked body. And they attempted to seize him, but he left behind the linen cloth and fled naked.

Reflection

We are told in the Gospel that Judas, one of Christ’s friends and associates at the table, betrayed Him. Let me show you how this is foretold in the Psalms: “[He] who ate of my bread has lifted the heel against me” (Psa 41:9 nrsv). And in another place: “They gathered together against me” (Psa 35:15 nrsv). And again: “… with words that were softer than oil, but in fact were drawn swords” (Psa 55:21 nrsv). What then is meant by his words were made soft? “At once [Judas] came up to Jesus and said, ‘Greetings, Rabbi!’ and kissed him” (Matt 26:49 nrsv). Thus through the soft blandishment of a kiss he implanted the execrable dart of betrayal.

—Rufinas of Aquileia

A Commentary on the Apostles Creed

Response

Jesus was abandoned and betrayed in His final hours. Do you think Judas’ actions were any less devastating, despite Jesus’ prediction of them? Spend time reflecting on Jesus’ abandonment and His willingness to be crucified.[1]

 

[1] Van Noord, R., & Strong, J. (Eds.). (2014). 40 Days to the Cross: Reflections from Great Thinkers. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

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