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Bible Gem 1197 - Betrayal: It could happen to anyone of us (Luke 20-23)

July 18, 2019

 

After supper He took another cup of wine and said, "This cup is the new covenant between God and His people—an agreement confirmed with My blood, which is poured out as a sacrifice for you. 

"But here at this table, sitting among us as a friend, is the man who will betray Me.

For it has been determined that the Son of Man must die. But what sorrow awaits the one who betrays Him."

The disciples began to ask each other which of them would ever do such a thing.(Luke 22:20-23)

 

 

For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, thatthe LordJesusin the night in which He was betrayedtook bread; 

andwhen He had given thanks, He broke it and said,"This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me." 

In the same wayHe tookthe cup also after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood;do this, as often as you drink it,in remembrance of Me." 

For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until He comes. (1 Cor 11:23-26)

 

 

Luke is the only one to follow the Last supper segment with the betrayal motif. "Sitting among us as a friend, is the man who will betray Me."

 

Well that makes clear what I talked about yesterday doesn’t 

it. I have left the comparison with Paul's Communion saying in this Gem. It is important. Paul and Luke are in parallel here. Remember Paul and Luke have been together on the journey through Asia Minor. I am sure they talked about their thoughts. I wonder too whether Paul saw an early draft of Luke's Gospel. Although I am sure both would have been well aware of the Church tradition of this saying. It is clear that both knew of it because both include it in their writings. 

 

Luke is the only Gospel writer to link the Last Supper with the betrayal like he has. John includes the betrayal segment in Chapter 13 but he doesn't refer to the Last Supper in the way the Synoptic writers do. Mark places the betrayal motif at the beginning of the last Supper and Matthew follows his lead. Luke makes the betrayal a feature and brings it into the intimacy of the Last Supper. The nature of the sentence in Luke places the betrayal right at the table at the Last Supper. There is a stark contrast in that juxtapositioning. Any event happeningat the tablebrings that event right into the centre of the household. In this case the betrayal is brought into the centre of the household of faith. To the extent that the disciples began to ask each other, which of them would ever do such a thing? Notice the discussion is a moot point for any one of them. They were asking each other who it could have been? It was not obvious to any one of them that it was Judas. It could have been any among them. That is sobering. I wonder if that isn't Luke's point in this arrangement of this material. Only Luke makes the connection so pointedly. 

 

Luke then follows this inclusion immediately with the dispute between the disciples as to who is the greatest. Now that is also an interesting juxtaposition. The other two synoptic writers include the prediction of Peter's denial but they have it set on the walk to the Mount Of Olives. Luke slams it up against the dispute which follows immediately on from the Last Supper segment. Luke has been rearranging the material again in a very telling way. Well he did warn us this was an ordered account, just not chronologically. 

 

There is debate among the experts as to whether Judas was at the Last Supper or not. Since Matthew and Mark have the story positioned before the Last Supper and indicate that Judas leaves prematurely. Does that not indicate that Judas was not there when Jesus handed passed the disciples the bread and the wine? It is more likely that Luke is the one who has moved the story to its new position rather than the other two synoptic writers. Thus are we to assume that Judas was not in fact present at the time in order to receive the bread and the wine? Luke makes it clear from his account that Judas was present at the time of the institution of the Communion. In John's gospel (13:26) Jesus clearly passes the bread to Judas, but it is abread sopand not necessarily the bread and the wine of the Communion He is instigating. 

 

There are some who argue that Luke has repositioned the pericope for reason of juxtaposing the following incidents and has not paid attention to the chronological anachronism of whether Judas was actually there or not. Others argue that Judas was there because of the tone of Luke's writing and the fact that a dispute arose among the disciples following the incident. We will investigate that incident tomorrow. The major point here is that the betrayer could have been any one of them. In fact in a few short verses Jesus will be telling Peter that he would deny Him. That runs parallel to Judas' betrayal. The moral of the story is that if could be any one of us. 

 

I found it interesting a number of years ago when I encouraged full time Christian workers to read Laurie Hall's book "An Affair of the Mind" there was a resistance. Some even said, "We don't need to read it. We are full time Christian workers." Oh really does that make you immune to sinning? Does that mean you wouldn’t ever have an affair of the mind? Or a full-on affair? It could happen to you. Or are you immune to such behaviour? No one is immune to temptation or the possibility of falling. In fact there is more danger if we refuse to think it could ever to happen to us. The ones who are wary and careful about their response are more likely to take the appropriate steps to safe guard themselves than those who in cavalier fashion think it will never happen to them. 

 

Think about it. Luke's repositioning of the betrayal story is a prompt to at least consider the possibility and to protect yourself. 

 

 

 

It is easier to forgive an enemy than to forgive a friend.”William Blake

 

It was a mistake," you said. But the cruel thing was, it felt like the mistake was mine, for trusting you. David Leviathan 

 

Everyone suffers at least one bad betrayal in their lifetime. It’s what unites us. The key is not to let it destroy your trust in others when that happens. Don’t let them take that from you.

 

Show compassion to others not because of who they are, but because of who you are!

 

 

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