Mark 14: 17-21
When evening came, Jesus arrived with the Twelve. While they were reclining at the table eating, he said, “I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me—one who is eating with me.”
They were saddened, and one by one they said to him, “Surely not I?”
“It is one of the Twelve,” he replied, “one who dips bread into the bowl with me. The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.”
Judas could have no better friend than Jesus. The act of betrayal had not yet taken place, but Jesus sees it coming. While Judas still contemplates the sin, Jesus gives him three critical gifts.
- Knowledge – Now Judas knows the moral implications of what he’s about to do. This is betrayal and betrayal is wrong.
- Free will – The knowledge frees him from going through with the deed ignorant of the consequences and unconscious compulsion. He can now choose to do or not do the deed.
- Sole responsibility – Judas alone will own the deed should he go through with it.
This exchange takes place in the midst of the Passover meal. It’s likely just after they drank the second cup of wine and recalled the story of Israel’s salvation. At this point, they dip their unleavened bread into bitter herbs and stewed fruit – both symbolic of Israel’s suffering and bondage in Egypt. But they also symbolize the coming suffering of Jesus and the pain of what Judas’ sin bring. Judas shall be to Jesus what Egypt was to Israel: a force that causes God to move mightily to rescue his people. Just as God took his people from slavery in Egypt into freedom, so too shall he take Jesus from the grip of death and bring him through to life once more – paying our debt of sin in the process.