Journey to the Cross


Were you there when they crucified my Lord? Were you there when they crucified my Lord? Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble. Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

African-American spiritual


After he said these things, Jesus was deeply disturbed and testified, “I assure you, one of you will betray me.”

His disciples looked at each other, confused about which of them he was talking about. One of the disciples, the one whom Jesus loved, was at Jesus’ side. Simon Peter nodded at him to get him to ask Jesus who he was talking about. Leaning back toward Jesus, this disciple asked, “Lord, who is it?”

Jesus answered, “It’s the one to whom I will give this piece of bread once I have dipped into the bowl.” Then he dipped the piece of bread and gave it to Judas, Simon Iscariot’s son.

John 13:21-26


Today we listen as Jesus predicts that one of his disciples will betray him. Have you ever noticed how the disciples responded? Instead of immediately identifying Judas, they were unsure of whom he was speaking. They are each uncertain because they know they all have the capacity to betray Jesus. It is not just Judas who betrays him by turning him over to the authorities. Peter denies that he knows Jesus. Most of the other disciples flee when Jesus is arrested. At the cross, only a few are left.

Holy Week is a time to acknowledge that we also have betrayed Jesus. It’s a time to confess the ways we have been absent when Jesus needed us to be present, when we have remained silent, run away, or given into pressure to be less than God made us to be.

Holy Week is also a time to receive incredible grace. Even when we betray him, Jesus is still waiting to welcome us home and invite us to serve him again. Betrayal doesn’t have the last word. Thank God, grace does.

Paul Baxley


Lord Jesus, with the church through the ages, I confess that I have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, both by what I have done and what I have left undone. Receive me in your arms of love and set me free to serve you again. Amen.


Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all.

Isaac Watts in “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” (1707)