Judas has always been defined as the betrayer of Jesus. And although I could not argue against this defining mark, I think it is important to look at how Jesus engages with Judas.
After Judas decides to betray Jesus and hand over him over to the Chief Priests and the teachers of the law, Luke quickly shifts his scene back to the Passover. And prior to the meal, Jesus states, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.” These words slow me down and force reflection. Jesus knows the direction that he is headed. But Jesus also knows that the individuals that are around this table with him are betrayers, deniers, and deserters. How could Jesus possibly be eagerly looking forward to this meal?
After saying these words, Jesus takes the bread and breaks it. He states, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” And follows a similar method with the cup, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.” As I reflect on these words of Christ, I keep coming back to the point that Judas is still at the table. Jesus knows that Judas has and will hand him over but he’s there.
I wonder if when Jesus broke the bread and passed the cup, he gave special focus to Judas. Jesus knowing the events that would transpire, still offered this meal to his betrayer. The table isn’t for the healthy, it is for the broken.
This week, let us attempt to offer the same hospitality that Jesus offers to his betrayer. Let us love and show grace to all those we encounter.