|SCRIPTURE TEXT: “‘Would you lay down your life for Me?’ replied Jesus, ‘Believe Me, you will disown Me three times before the cock crows.’” –John 13: 38 |
During Holy Week, Jesus suffered the pain of rejection, not simply from the religious leaders of the day, nor simply from the crowds who thronged the streets of Jerusalem. Even His own disciples failed to understand His mission and, by their actions, added to His pain. Luke places the spotlight on Judas and shows how he colluded with the enemies of Jesus:
“Now as the feast of unleavened bread, called the Passover, was approaching, fear of the people made the chief priests and scribes try desperately to find a way of getting rid of Jesus. Then a diabolical plan came into the mind of Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve. He went and discussed with the chief priests and officers a method of getting Jesus into their hands. They were delighted and arranged to pay him for it. He agreed, and began to look for a suitable opportunity for betrayal when there was no crowd present.”-Luke 22:1-5
It was the ambition of every Jew in the world to be present in Jerusalem at Passover time at least once in his lifetime. Because of this, vast numbers of people flocked to the Holy city for the festival. The atmosphere was always inflammable. The Jewish authorities knew this and determined to arrest Jesus before the feast to avoid a riot. And Judas played right into their hands, offering to lead them to Jesus at an appropriate time and an appropriate place.
But Judas was not the only disciple to fail his Master during the last hours of Jesus’ earthly ministry. Jesus knew that, when He needed his support most, even Peter would turn deserter. He warned Peter of this:
“Simon Peter said to Him, ‘Lord, where are You going?’ ‘I am going, replied Jesus, where you cannot follow Me now, though you will follow Me later.’ ‘Lord, why can’t I follow you now?’ said Peter ‘I would lay down my life for You!’ ‘Would you lay down your life for Me?’ replied Jesus, ‘Believe Me, you will disown Me three times before the cock crows.’”-John 13:36-38
SOURCE: APPROACHING EASTER: MEDITATION FOR LENT