A Hand in the Common Bowl
Betrayal is one of the toughest of life' lessons to absorb. It is hard to experience. There is a moment in betrayal when you realize that a person you had trusted, who had been close enough to you that you had lowered your defenses, has chosen to let the enemy in and worse, has sided with them in seeking your defeat and destruction. Be they little or large, betrayals rock the soul and in the requisite violations of trust that come with them create repercussions that will follow and influence far beyond the wreckage that one person left, that one time. Betrayals not only wound, deeply, but they also leave the types of scars that can too easily be opened up again. The deep fissures of hurt, even after they heal, leave weakened places that will in the future inhibit our abilities to offer trust and invest hope.
When Jesus is pressed to name his betrayer at the Passover feast, I am sure the disciples were hoping to be able to both protect the Master and expel the traitor from their midst. The rub? That the betrayer hadn't betrayed yet; as well...that person was one of them, one of the inner circle. That person was one whose filthy, betraying hand was reaching into the same common bowl of food that they all were, that the Master was eating from as well. That person was/is always one of us.
Peter rejects that element out of hand but proclaiming with no small amount of hubris that it couldn't, wouldn't, ever be him. We know how that turns out: not once does he deny the Christ; but three times.
Struggling with betrayal is one part of being human, but God in Christ today reminds us as well that being human means as well that we will also from time to time be the one who betrays. What defines us as people of faith is how we respond to that knowledge. Peter? His heart broke, and in healing he finds a depth of faith, trust and hope in God that really does make him the rock upon which Jesus will build his church. Judas? He finds his end, broken and lost. Us? That story is still being formed.
Betrayal is a part of our brokenness in this life; but how we respond to it, seek healing and reconciliation with the Other and with God in its wake (be we perpetrator or victim), is what ultimately defines us as citizens of the kingdom of God and agents of its incoming grace.