Friday, June 18


Lenten Reflection:

Reclining at table with his disciples, Jesus was deeply troubled and testified, "Amen, amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me." The disciples looked at one another, at a loss as to whom he meant. One of his disciples, the one whom Jesus loved, was reclining at Jesus' side. So Simon Peter nodded to him to find out whom he meant. He leaned back against Jesus' chest and said to him, "Master, who is it?" Jesus answered, "It is the one to whom I hand the morsel after I have dipped it." So he dipped the morsel and took it and handed it to Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot. After Judas took the morsel, Satan entered him. So Jesus said to him, "What you are going to do, do quickly." Now none of those reclining at table realized why he said this to him. Some thought that since Judas kept the money bag, Jesus had told him, "Buy what we need for the feast," or to give something to the poor. So Judas took the morsel and left at once. And it was night.

-John 13:21-33



After Judas took the morsel, Satan entered him. This is startling. It puts the responsibility of Jesus’ death on…Jesus. Would Judas have betrayed Jesus without this incident over the food? It almost seems as if the morsel empowers Judas somehow. Or the exchanging of the morsel empowers Judas. All-in-all, it is a disconcerting moment. What does this do to our notion of good and evil? If the source of evil is Jesus giving permission to Judas? Perhaps it speaks to the gift of spiritual freedom. When confronted with a tempting morsel, we have a choice to indulge or to pass. It is a Turkish delight that could forever change us. Or not. Sometimes there is no way of knowing.

And Judas and Satan. I keep hearing the voice of Andrew Davis, newly anointed Seattle U STM Professor of Hebrew Scripture, telling us that ha-Satan means prosecutor. So, the prosecutor entered Judas. I suppose this means he became critical of Jesus and much like a courtroom prosecutor, started an argument against the defendant, Jesus. Ultimately, a huge case of, “what have you done for me lately?” Judas is trying to force Jesus’ choice—to make him act like the warrior Messiah Judas believes him to be.

I wonder in what ways we try to force Jesus to be the warrior Messiah rather than the lamb of peace?

I wonder how we become the prosecutor rather than the defender of others?

1 Comment

  • I’m not sure that we do become prosecutors. I think what we try to do is force Jesus into fulfilling what we want instead of letting our purpose unfold before us. Prosecutors were really supposed to be the good guys, maintaining a balance of justice. While Ha-Satan was God’s prosecutor I don’t think he was fulfilling that roll with Job or Jesus. I think by the time of Job Ha-Satan had already become corrupt and deceitful.

    We human beings are incredibly self-centered and it takes a great deal of faith and trust in God to give up that position. Judas wanted a Messiah that Jesus knew was never going to be fulfilled as part of God’s plan, and so he thought if I only force his hand then Jesus and God will be the saviors I want.

    Living as Jesus did took more courage than being a warrior Messiah because he not only had to teach this new way of live but he had to fight the cultural standards of his day. Judas couldn’t see that. The change needed to make that leap was more than he could handle.

    Those same changes are often more than we modern Christians can handle! Today, many people are looking for that “Warrior Savior” in the second coming to correct all of their mistakes and errors. I don’t believe that it will happen this time any more than it happened 2000 years ago.

    The death and resurrection tell us that we are to submit to God’s will, not ours, and live as Jesus did and that is just as hard today as it was 2000 years ago.

    Thanks for writing such a thoughtful piece


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