We all want to be accepted for who we are and for what we have to offer. What a blow it is, then, to be dismissed, ostracized, and rejected.

No one knew this experience more deeply than Jesus. Offering acceptance for so many, he was still misunderstood, feared, and ultimately put to death.

God offers this acceptance now to you. Open your heart to receive that love, as well as the one who came to show it to us.

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After saying this Jesus was troubled in spirit, and declared, “Very truly, I tell you, one of you will betray me.” The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he was speaking. One of his disciples—the one whom Jesus loved—was reclining next to him; Simon Peter therefore motioned to him to ask Jesus of whom he was speaking. So while reclining next to Jesus, he asked him, “Lord, who is it?” Jesus answered, “It is the one to whom I give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.” So when he had dipped the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas son of Simon Iscariot. After he received the piece of bread, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, “Do quickly what you are going to do.”

When he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once.”

John 13:21–27,31–32

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Judas Iscariot is all of us.

The one who betrayed Jesus is the one who received the bread. Jesus served Judas. Then Judas left to carry out a plan for Jesus’ arrest and, ultimately, crucifixion. He set in motion the events that led to Jesus’ “glorification,” the Gospel of John’s code word for death and resurrection. What begins at supper with betrayal ends with the promise of eternal life.

We receive bread from Jesus. Sometimes literally at the Lord’s Supper table and always figuratively as the things that sustain our lives. And all of us reject and betray Jesus as we live our own way, ignore Jesus’ love, and fail to bear witness to God’s love.

Judas Iscariot is all of us. And for us, as for Judas, what begins with betrayal ends with the promise of eternal life. We are not defined by our failure but by God’s love shown in Jesus’ glorification.

Jay Kieve

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Jesus, I confess that I sometimes betray you by my actions. Forgive me and bring me life by your crucifixion and resurrection. Amen.

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Jesus is coming. Will you accept him?
You have a gift. Will you offer it?
There will be sacrifice. Can you make it?

The Gospel of Christ is scandalous,
Yet it contains the very bread of life.

The choice is yours to make.

Jay Kieve

Jay Kieve is coordinator for the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of South Carolina. His wife, Melanie, works for Clemson University. His son, Jesse (17), is a junior at Indian Springs School in Alabama, and his daughter, Emma (13), is a 7th grader at McCants Middle School in South Carolina.

Reflections on the Way: Son of My Soul

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