Summary: Peter and Judas are very much alike! Both are apostles. Both rise up the ladder of success -- Peter the spokesman of apostles and Judas the treasurer. And both deny and betray Christ. The difference is -- to whom to they turn in their darkest moments?
The Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper is full of meaning.
It is a spiritual food that nourishes our souls.
It is a part of worship Christ commands of us.
It is an experiencing of the presence of Christ in a real and tangible way.
It is something we do as a community – we never celebrate this sacrament alone. We do it in communion with others.
Among all of the meanings of this Sacrament is that of remembrance.
When Jesus instituted this Sacrament, he said, “Do this in remembrance of me.”
So that is one thing I want you to do right now.
Remember what it was like for Christ at that Last Supper.
I want you to picture in your mind Christ and His disciples at that final supper before the arrest and crucifixion of Jesus.
John’s Gospel has a different emphasis on this gathering than the other Gospels. He focuses in on the teachings of Christ and a foot washing ceremony, but in Matthew, Mark and Luke, we get a fairly clear description of the gathering in a place called the Upper Room.
There they are---all gathered together in the Upper Room to celebrate the Passover.
Christ and his 12 Apostles---12 different, very different men.
There’s Andrew---young eager disciple---eager to share the good news of Christ with others. Why the first thing that he did when he met Jesus was to run off: and tell his brother the news.
Over there is Philip--the first thing he did when he heard of Jesus of Nazareth was to laugh and joke--- “Well, I’ve never heard of anything good coming out of Nazareth.”
There is James and John---sons of Zebedee.
And Matthew, a tax collector employed by the government of the Roman Empire.
And next to Matthew is Simon the Zealot, a rebel anxious to overthrow the government brother Matthew works for.
And of course, there’s Thomas---doubted anything and everything---always needing proof.
And then there’s James son of Alphaeus, and beside them Thaddeus.
12 men, each very different.
OH YES---I almost left a couple of disciples out. There are two others. They are not so different. In fact, they are more like each other than any of the other disciples.
There sitting next to Jesus, one on one side, one on the other----are Peter, and Judas. These two are more alike than you can possibly imagine.
In fact, there is only one way in which they differ significantly.
Both men have been called by Christ.
Both men have been with Christ for three years.
Both men stuck with Christ even when the chips were down.
In our New Testament lesson, a number of disciples leave---they forsake Christ ---these two have stayed until this moment when Christ ordains this Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper.
Peter and Judas are among the handful of disciples have -- SO FAR -- stayed.
Both men have grown extremely close to Christ.
Both men have risen up the ladder of success among the Apostles.
Peter is the spokesman for the disciples.
Judas is the treasurer for the disciples.
Together they are very much alike--
And being very much alike, they are both astounded and shocked when Christ declares that one of the 12 Apostles will betray their Lord.
In all four of the Gospels, Jesus speaks to those gathered around the table and says, “One of you will betray me.”
Imagine what that would be like at your family’s Thanksgiving dinner, or at the Christmas dinner.
The whole family is gathered together celebrating a holiday meal together and your grandfather or your mother suddenly says, “One of you is going to betray me.”
Well, that’s a shocking comment, and in the Gospels, that is exactly how the apostles respond – they are shocked and dismayed.
Around the table each disciple expresses concern---
And on down the line.
Each one asks, "Lord, is it I?"
The last two who ask are Judas and Peter.
Judas asks---"Lord, is it I?"
And Jesus says --- yes.
But Peter----he doesn’t bother asking. Instead he slaps is hand on the table and with an air of confidence says, "Well I tell you one thing right now, everyone else around the table night fall away, but not me...no siree, you can count on me."
"Think again," Jesus tells him. "Before the rooster crows you will disown me three times."
But Peter insists that he would never, ever forsake his Lord.
Judas and Peter.
Alike in so many ways, they are now alike in yet one more way. Both have been told be Jesus that they will betray him.
And these two men, alike in so many ways go out and do just that.
You will recall the quick succession of events.
Following the last supper Jesus goes out to the Garden of Gethsemne to pray. As soon as he finishes, Judas comes along, leading an armed band of soldiers, and with a kiss, betrays Christ.