On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus and asked, "Where do you want us to prepare the Passover meal for you?"
"As you go into the city," he told them, "you will see a certain man. Tell him, 'The Teacher says: My time has come, and I will eat the Passover meal with my disciples at your house.'" So the disciples did as Jesus told them and prepared the Passover meal there.
When it was evening, Jesus sat down at the table with the Twelve. While they were eating, he said, "I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me."
— Matthew 26:17-21 NLT
It's such an ugly word. It's such an ugly action. BETRAYAL! Betrayal and rebellion against Jesus by one of his very own. We've heard hints and warnings, but now Jesus makes it clear during the celebration of Israel's great deliverance from Egypt. He will be handed over to the enemy by one of his most trusted and closest friends.
Jesus' warning that "one of you will betray me" stands in such stark contrast to the phrase "the disciples did as Jesus told them."
Disciples, dedicated followers, do what their master tells them to do. They don't go sell him out for a few coins — or for many coins. They surely don't have the audacity to share in the most intimate and private moments of worship and leave to go betray him (John 13:21, 25-27). But this is precisely Jesus' point. One of his very own will sell him out. In the very moment of joy, Jesus reminds them (and us as well) that we can find it easy to play the game and then leave the room and become someone very different, someone despicable. It's a lot to think about. On this night, the disciples will do just that! When we take the Lord's Supper, it would be good for us to remind ourselves not to become someone different when we leave!
O Great God and Shepherd of my soul, it is hard for me to be as honest with my heart and to know my motives in the way you do. But there is a deep stirring in my heart that reminds me that I could possibly do what Judas did: to honor you in the presence of those who love you, but betray you into the hands of those who hate you and your work. Please forgive me for those times that I have done that, and please help strengthen my resolve and courage so that it will never happen again. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.