I’ve let him down. I said I’d be there for him. I said I would never leave him. I fell asleep. I can’t believe it. I knew I shouldn’t have had so much wine.
When I woke up, there was a strange atmosphere in the garden, it suddenly got cold and then I saw the glint of metal in the moonlight – a group of guards from the High Priest’s house appeared in the trees. Judas walked into the clearing where we’d been waiting, I wondered where he’d been, Jesus had sent him off to go and ‘do what he had to do’. He came to greet Jesus in his usual way, an embrace and a kiss, and then the guards stepped forward and grabbed Jesus. I shouted ‘no!’ and my friend grabbed his sword ready to defend him. Jesus said something about it not being able to happen that way. The guards took him away.
I’m terrified. I ran. I ran. I didn’t stay. Where is Jesus now? How could I have left him?
Prayer for Tuesday:
I’m sorry, Lord, for when I have deserted you.
The times when I’ve said I don’t know you.
The times I’ve not wanted to have anything to do with you.
Restore me, and help me to follow you more nearly.
Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”
Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”
Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”
When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing.
Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour has come, and the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners. Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!”
While he was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived. With him was a large crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests and the elders of the people. Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him.” Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed him.
Jesus replied, “Do what you came for, friend.”
Then the men stepped forward, seized Jesus and arrested him. With that, one of Jesus’ companions reached for his sword, drew it out and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear.
“Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?”
In that hour Jesus said to the crowd, “Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? Every day I sat in the temple courts teaching, and you did not arrest me. But this has all taken place that the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples deserted him and fled.
(Matthew 26:36-56, New International Version, ©2011)