Wednesday of Holy Week – John 13. 21-32 – One of you will betray me

John 13. 21-32

After saying this Jesus was troubled in spirit, and declared, ‘Very truly, I tell you, one of you will betray me.’ The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he was speaking. One of his disciples—the one whom Jesus loved—was reclining next to him; Simon Peter therefore motioned to him to ask Jesus of whom he was speaking. So, while reclining next to Jesus, he asked him, ‘Lord, who is it?’ Jesus answered, ‘It is the one to whom I give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.’ So, when he had dipped the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas son of Simon Iscariot. After he received the piece of bread, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, ‘Do quickly what you are going to do.’ Now no one at the table knew why he said this to him. Some thought that, because Judas had the common purse, Jesus was telling him, ‘Buy what we need for the festival’; or, that he should give something to the poor. So, after receiving the piece of bread, he immediately went out. And it was night.

When he had gone out, Jesus said, ‘Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once.

 One man and his boss – Ruth Burgess (Wild Goose Publications)

Today we focus on Judas who, whatever else he is remembered for, fulfilled the part required of him. He is a reminder of all our weaknesses and that nothing we do is too great to receive forgiveness.  So, we have a sketch where one player counts out thirty pieces of silver, while the other player recounts Judas’ story: –

One                 This is a story about a man and his boss.

Two                 Our man joined the firm with eleven others.

Three              They were all equal partners under one boss.

Four                The boss was a good man – they all trusted him.

Five                 Our man was respected by the firm; they put him in charge of finances.

Six                  He kept a tight ship – he hated waste.

Seven             Occasionally, he was tempted to dip into the money for his own use but that was one of the perks of the job.

Eight               The firm travelled a lot, moving around the country.

Nine               The boss took risks – he offended the establishment; he didn’t always mix with the right kind of people – and where the boss went, the  firm went too.

Ten                 Our man didn’t always approve of the company the firm kept, but he kept his thoughts to himself.

Eleven            Sometimes the group split up and operated in pairs – the boss trusted them to do this.

Twelve            They discovered that they could do most of the things the boss could do; they were excited and pleased.

Thirteen          The firm stayed together for three years – they were good together.

Fourteen         The partners did not always agree about what the boss had asked them to do – there were sometimes arguments.

Fifteen            The boss settled arguments quickly – they knew that he was fair; he tried not to have favourites.

Sixteen           Our man had clear ideas about what he wanted from the firm and where he wanted the boss to take them.

Seventeen      As the days went on the boss appeared, to our man, to be getting fanatical about challenging the establishment.

Eighteen         Our man could see where things were heading, and he wanted out.

Nineteen         Our man had choices: he could try to persuade the boss to change direction, but that seemed unlikely, or he could go to the establishment and offer them a way to bring the firm down.

Twenty           Our man sensed that the boss knew what he was up to – if the other partners discovered what he was up to he was in trouble. But if the boss was choosing not to tell them, maybe he secretly approved of what our man was contemplating and wanted him to do it, or maybe he didn’t – it was a chance our man would have to take.

Twenty-one    What finally led our man to take action was the night the boss turned on him for criticising a woman – all that talk of ‘the poor’ and ‘death and burial’; that might be the way the boss intended to go but our man had no intention of following him.

Twenty-two    Our man went to the establishment and spilled the beans. They wanted to interview the boss in person, and he agreed to lead their militia to him. They paid our man well – in silver.

Twenty-three One night, while the firm, still blissfully unaware, enjoyed their annual dinner, the boss hinted strongly that he knew what our man was doing. After an exchange of words with the boss, our man left the meal early to do the deed.

Twenty-four   He led the militia to a secret garden where he knew that the boss and his partners would be – he pointed to the boss and then kissed him. The soldiers acted on his signal and the boss was arrested and taken away.

Twenty-five   Our man breathed a sigh of relief – he was now on the side of the establishment; even if the partners tried to get back at him (they had little chance) their reputations, with the boss arrested, would be in tatters.

Twenty-six     Later he heard the news: the establishment had sentenced the boss to death. He’d not meant that; he thought they’d just … well, he wasn’t sure what he’d thought – but he hadn’t wanted anyone to be killed. And he certainly didn’t want to be blamed or held responsible for the boss’s death.

Twenty-seven He went back to the establishment; he tried to tell them that the boss as really a good man, foolish maybe, deserving punishment perhaps,but not death. He tried to give them back the money they’d paid him, said he’d made a mistake, and they laughed at him and told him to go away; and he did, throwing the money down on the floor as he ran out.

Twenty-eight  Our man could not cope. He hung himself. He died by his own hand and his boss died at the hands of strangers.

Twenty-nine   The firm broke up. The partners went into hiding.

Thirty              Yes, that’s it, thirty pieces of silver: The money they paid our man Judas to betray his boss, Jesus. They’re going to use it, somewhat fittingly, to buy a burial ground.

(Wild Goose Publications Material Used with permission