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Bread and Betrayal

Bread and Betrayal

John 13:18-30

As our nation reels from the massacre in Las Vegas, we want answers. Why would this man do such a thing? What possible motive could he have? If God is good and is in control, how could He let such a thing happen? The theological ingredients from Scripture are there in my head, and it’s tempting to think that merely stirring them together will make them become the bread of comfort for you. But, as my mom pointed out to me, ingredients need to be baked. They need heat. Truth needs love and empathy. We’re called to speak the truth in love, not with dismissal of suffering. Distant philosophizing feels like mere raw dough. In the Bible, bread is at the heart of friendship. Breaking bread with someone was an intimate affirmation of connection. This Sunday we will hear from John 13:18-30 and will see Jesus at the last supper tell His disciples that He will be betrayed by one “who eats bread with me.” Jesus tells His disciples that this betrayal was prophesied in the Psalms a thousand years earlier. He wants His disciples to know that even this betrayal is part of God’s plan to bring salvation to the world. It’s tempting to preach on Judas betraying Jesus in a way that plunders the story for philosophical answers about God’s sovereignty over evil, man’s responsibility for evil, the role of the devil and demons, and, perhaps, mental illness in the case of Las Vegas. These are, indeed, some of the ingredients, but they need to be baked in the flames of Christ’s suffering, sacrificial love for us. Though Jesus predicted the betrayal, He genuinely suffered the betrayal. A friend told me about the suffering of being the parent of a child that went through a tremendous time of rebellion. She said it’s as if God was saying, “If you’re going love like Me, you’re going to hurt like Me.” When thinking about Las Vegas, I then thought, “What if someone did this to MY child?” The questions come then not from curiosity but crying out in pain. God is not going to answer all of our questions, but He does give the bread of Gospel comfort, the bread of which Jesus said, “This is My body, which is broken for you. Take, eat. Do this in remembrance of Me.”

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