What's My Yes?

Matthew 26:14-25 New Living Translation (NLT)
14 Then Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve disciples, went to the leading priests 15 and asked, “How much will you pay me to betray Jesus to you?” And they gave him thirty pieces of silver. 16 From that time on, Judas began looking for an opportunity to betray Jesus. 17 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?” 18 “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.’” 19 So the disciples did as Jesus told them and prepared the Passover meal there.

20 When it was evening, Jesus sat down at the table with the Twelve. 21 While they were eating, he said, “I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me.”22 Greatly distressed, each one asked in turn, “Am I the one, Lord?”23 He replied, “One of you who has just eaten from this bowl with me will betray me. 24 For the Son of Man must die, as the Scriptures declared long ago. But how terrible it will be for the one who betrays him. It would be far better for that man if he had never been born!”25 Judas, the one who would betray him, also asked, “Rabbi, am I the one?”And Jesus told him, “You have said it.”

With all that’s happening in our world and community and with all the changes and adjustments that we have made over the past 3 weeks or so, it’s easy to allow our current situation to overshadow this beautiful season and especially these days we acknowledge as Holy Week. At least I know that has been true for me. As I read this passage, I was reminded of the realities the disciples were facing during this week. They too were living in challenging times, wondering what was going to happen next.

I think sometimes we read scripture, knowing how the story ends and forget how unsettling and anxious this time may have been for the disciples. Earlier, when Jesus received word that Lazarus was sick and he told them they would go see him the disciples reminded Jesus that just a few days earlier people were trying to stone him. Going to see Lazarus (near Jerusalem) was a dangerous decision. And they were all very aware.

Now in Jerusalem for Passover, this passage begins with Judas laying the groundwork for the betrayal of Jesus. He sold out the man he followed, lived with, watched perform miracles and heard him teach for three years. The tension between Jesus and the religious establishment was at a critical point and Judas decided on which side he wanted to land. This decision would disrupt everything and set into motion a horrific weekend.

The disciples gather in a borrowed room for Passover. They have witnessed the amazing public reception of Jesus into the city which was energizing while at the same time being aware of the danger they are in from the religious leaders. The political climate is tense at best between Rome, the Jewish people and Jesus and the city is crowded with people from all over the region for this annual celebration. What will Jesus do? How will the religious leaders respond?

I imagine the disciples were excited and apprehensive to be in Jerusalem. They were thrilled with Jesus’ reception when he entered, anticipating what might happen, sensing the situation was culminating, but no idea what that might look like. They may have been sensing an underlying feeling that things were going to change, but uncertainty about what that change may look like, puzzled by Jesus behavior, washing their feet, changing the Passover ritual with talk of his body and blood and then the clear announcement that someone among them would betray him. This announcement brings to light the underlying tension that was probably felt but not spoken.

An unsettled, anxious group with mixed feelings of hope and belief in who Jesus is along with a measure of confusion, sat around the table with Jesus. And yet they trusted him and followed him to the garden where the situation quickly unfolded into the worse-case scenario. Life would never be the same.

And yet none of this surprised Jesus. He faced the Father and embraced the will of God. Jesus gave his life and provided the way of salvation for all. As we strive to imitate Jesus in times of challenge and uncertainty, we are to face the Father, turn to Him, recognize all that is beyond our understanding and control and then embrace the will of God, both the general will of God, to love others as Jesus loved us, and to God’s specific purpose for me.

What is God asking me to say yes to? What might God have for me to accomplish with my yes?

Take some time to express your gratitude to God for Jesus’ yes. Offer your unconditional yes to Him in response to His sacrifice.

Linda Waldo
Spiritual Formation Pastor| New Covenant Church