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As God writes the story of His covenant people in the world, with this Table at the center, we see that traitors and treachery are an important element in the story.

All four gospels have the story of Judas, which is certainly one indication of its importance. When Jesus talks about the Table of the Lord in John 6, He concludes this important discourse with a reference to His betrayal by Judas. The psalms prophesied the betrayal of Jesus by Judas, and how the betrayal would occur at the Table. The one who ate Christ’s bread, a companion with him, was the one who lifted up his heel against Him (Ps. 41:9). The same sense of betrayal by a close companion is expressed later in the psalms (Ps. 55:12-14).

The words of institution which I repeat each week include the very important phrase “on the night in which he was betrayed.”

Whenever this meal is faithfully observed, one of the signs that this is happening is that it will soon be unfaithfully betrayed. Servants are not greater than their master, and so we may expect the same sort of thing.

But when tender hearts hear this—when they hear about the possibility of betrayal—the natural reaction is like that of the first disciples. “Is it I, Lord?” No, eleven of the twelve, for all their faults, timidity, and confusion, did not betray the Lord. The fact that any sin is treachery “in principle” should not obscure for us the fact that there is such as thing as treachery proper, apostasy proper. So let us ask the question, as we should. “Is it I?” But then let us avoid morbid introspection in order to hear the answer. The Lord calls us His friends, and He summons us now. Those who are genuine traitors cannot bear to answer that summons for an extended period of time—while those who are tender in the Lord come at the invitation, and they come gladly.

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