Isaiah 50:4-9a John 13:21-32
In his The Gospel of John: A Commentary, scholar Frederick Dale Bruner headlines this day’s gospel reading as “Jesus’ Foot-washing Warning: (with the subtitle) Let Yourselves Beware of Yourselves.” Or, as Rudolf Bultmann puts it, “The consciousness of belonging to the body of disciples must not seduce any of them into the illusion of security.”[i] And, I would say that, a false sense of security from harm without is usually paired with such a sense within: a false certainty of our own steadfastness and loyalty, under any conditions. This passage from John, in the context of Holy Week, will not allow us to dodge a confrontation with the power of evil in humanity.
The gospels do not provide us with a clear explanation for Judas’ act in “handing over” Jesus to the authorities. And most of the answers we try to extrapolate from the evangelist’s words say a good deal more about us and our need to distance ourselves from the possibility of acting as Judas did.
Jerusalem is silent. The shofars have sounded, the priests with their ram’s horns have announced the beginning of Sabbath and now all things lie in unquiet silence. “And the Lord God rested on the seventh day from all the work he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all the work he had done in creation.”
“It is finished.” It is accomplished. The work has been done. “By the word of the Lord were the heavens made; by the breath of his mouth all the heavenly host.”The Word has come forth and has accomplished what was purposed: in flesh. The word did not return empty, as it had been prophesied:
Isaiah 50: 4-9a
Hebrews 9: 11-15, 24-28
Psalm 69: 7-15, 24-28
In our friendship with Jesus when we consider his ministry and his relationship with his apostles and other followers most of us find it easy to identify with Peter. We see in his strong attraction, incomprehension, exuberance, fear and denial the range of our emotional responses.