Isaiah 49: 1-6
John: 13:21-33,36-38


The beginnings of two betrayals.

The context of the Last Supper in John’s gospel is one of love and service. The opposite of love is not hate but fear; fear is a powerful motivator and cause of sin. The fear of missing out, fear of not receiving what we believe we deserve or fear of losing our life. It’s not hard to understand how Simon Peter falls into betrayal. He has followed Jesus and identified him as the Messiah, but to profess to know Jesus as he warms himself by the fire at the high priest’s house, he risks losing his own life despite his protestations to Jesus that he will follow him and lay down his life for him. Given the situation, most of us would probably be as fearful as Simon Peter, betray Jesus and live with our shame as he did. We can certainly ask ourselves the question, would we do any better?

We can only suppose the exact motivation that led to Judas’ betrayal of Jesus. The money is obviously an incentive, but something leads him to take up the offer of the chief priests and Pharisees to provide information about the whereabouts of Jesus. At the anointing at Bethany, Judas argues that the money for the nard could be used for the poor, but the author’s note is that Judas is a thief who doesn’t care for the poor and steals from the purse. Is he fearful of being found out further? Fearful that there is not enough or that he needs more? Or that Jesus is not the promised Messiah? Judas has already chosen his action before Satan enters him.  

The greeting of the risen Jesus is not to fear. How often do we allow fear to define our actions in ways that harm our relationship with God and with others? Do we choose fear over love?

Alison Gore is a parishioner at St Paul of the Cross, Glen Osmond. She works in education and formation.