Holy Week – Wednesday: The Gospel and Epistle Passage– Moving on in the story (or at least trying to)

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.
Consider him who endured such hostility against himself from sinners, so that you may not grow weary or lose heart.” (Hebrews 12:1-3)

Paul has moved in the letter to the Hebrews, no longer connecting salvation to Jesus’ death on the cross. Again, I want to assure you all beloved readers that while I have found the last two day’s inquiries interesting, it has not jostled my faith. And I am sort of ready to move on also.

We are now mid way through Holy Week. And the signs that something momentous and unlike anything else in Jesus’ ministry are being more profound. We like to assume the gospels relate the stories of Holy Week in fairly strict chronological fashion. And that each gospels relates the stories in the same way. But that is not always the case. Additionally the Revised Common Lectionary also tends to skip and jump around – but maybe you already know that beloved reader.

Today we read about Jesus revealing that one of the disciples will betray him. Tomorrow (Maundy Thursday) we hear about what happened before and after this.

After saying this Jesus was troubled in spirit, and declared, “Very truly, I tell you, one of you will betray me.” The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he was speaking. One of his disciples–the one whom Jesus loved–was reclining next to him; Simon Peter therefore motioned to him to ask Jesus of whom he was speaking. So while reclining next to Jesus, he asked him, “Lord, who is it?” Jesus answered, “It is the one to whom I give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.” So when he had dipped the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas son of Simon Iscariot. After he received the piece of bread, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, “Do quickly what you are going to do.”
Now no one at the table knew why he said this to him. Some thought that, because Judas had the common purse, Jesus was telling him, “Buy what we need for the festival”; or, that he should give something to the poor. So, after receiving the piece of bread, he immediately went out. And it was night.” (John 13: 21- 30)

Often, quite often, and even most of the time – Judas is considered the villain of the Easter story. But without Judas quite possibly Jesus would have never been arrested or brought to trial. Judas knew Jesus’ habits and knew where and when Jesus would be in a dark secluded place away from the populace that followed him and adored him. Just as Jesus knew what “turning his face to Jerusalem” would mean, he knew what Judas meant to do. And even encouraged him to accomplish in a short amount of time.

When in seminary I was taught that Jesus’ death was inevitable. Not necessarily because it would accomplish salvation, but because Jesus so angered the Jewish leadership that only his death would appease them. . . . You know, beloved reader, I keep coming up again and again against Blosser’s article/statement.

When he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once.” (Verses 31 – 32)

I never once thought, having read the article, it would play such a large part in this Holy Week. Often times when The Mennonite has articles that resonate within myself and other readers there are a large number of comments and responses in the next issue. I find myself eager to read what others say about it. And if the comments also reflect the timing (that is, being so close to Easter) of the article. I could wish that I could/would just step back and not have the theme that was presented so prevalent in my mind as I write. But it is there, and will probably be there in the days to come. As each day moves forward in Holy Week, I am curious to see/experience how this will influence my reflections. For your sake, beloved reader, I could wish you would have the same curiosity! Shalom!

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