Sitting with Jesus at the last supper were two of the disciples who in different ways would deny or betray Jesus. In a quietly dramatic way Jesus gave Judas a piece of bread from the dish and immediately he withdrew from the company to betray him to the authorities. It was night. Peter protested that he would always stand by Jesus and in response Jesus said, “before the cock crows you will have disowned me three times.”
Why did Judas do what he did? We will never really know. He had been chosen by Jesus to be with him throughout his public ministry. He saw the healings and heard the powerful words of Jesus. At the supper Jesus offered him a piece of bread, a sign of friendship yet in the end he went into the night to betray him. We are chosen and called to be companions of Jesus. This doesn’t mean that we could not be be drawn to darkness and reject all offers of friendship. Let us pray for strength to always choose light over darkness.
Peter at this meal spoke brave words but Jesus knew him better than he knew himself. Peter of course loved Jesus but he was not aware of his own weakness.
As one writer put it there is a world of difference between Judas betrayal and Peter’s denial. “Judas betrayal was a planned thing, and involved real malice. Peter’s denial was not a planned thing. It was the result of weakness not malice.”
As we reflect on the temptation and fall of Judas and the brave words of Peter, let us pray for people who are being tempted to do something seriously wrong that they may see through the temptation and accept the help and friendship of God. As we ponder the brave words of Peter we pray for a clear understanding of our own weaknesses and have the courage and strength to profess our faith openly.