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May the peace of God reign in this place
and the love of God forever hold you tight,
May the Spirit of God flow through your life
and the joy of God uphold you day and night.

Daily Devotion for April 14, 2014

<i>The Last Supper</i> by Philippe de Champaigne ca. 1654.
The Last Supper by Philippe de Champaigne ca. 1654. A favorite subject of Renaissance artists, de Champaigne’s rendition is notable for the powerful and realistic depiction of Judas, seen with his leg stretched out on the left, holding a bag of money. All of the faces are notable for their great character and realism - it makes us feel that the apostles are real human beings.



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lessons and scripture

Lord's Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.


Prayer of St. Ephraim the Syrian (350 A.D.)

O  Lord and Master of my life, this day, give me not the spirit of laziness, despair, lust of power, and idle talk. But give rather the spirit of sobriety, humility, patience and love to Thy servant.

Yea, O Lord and King, grant me to see my own transgressions and not to judge my brother, for blessed art Thou unto ages of ages.



[Give me not lust for power.]

For the Needy

Dear Lord above, never let me forget about those who are hurting from guilt, shame and other afflictions I may not know about. Show me that I need to remember those who are: sick, imprisoned, lonely, confused, in need of a friend, dying, hungry, spiritually lost in their lives — wandering aimlessly through life. Teach me to comfort my brothers and sisters in their hours of need, wherever they may be. Guide me to look deeply into their hearts and understand.

Teach me to reach out my hands and help them up and feed their souls and hearts with your word, O Lord. Let me never forsake one of my hurting brothers or sisters along life's way. Grant me the strength to carry forth your will and your way in bringing all to you, dear Father. I pray this needful prayer through your blessed Son, Jesus Christ.


Closing Prayer

And finally, grant me O Lord, I pray, the lamp of charity which never fails, that it may burn in me and shed its light on those around me, and that by its brightness I may share a vision of that holy City, where dwells the true and never-failing Light, Jesus Christ our Lord.


Think of the day ahead in terms of God with you, and visualize health, strength, guidance, purity, calm confidence, and victory as the gifts of His presence.

<i>The Last Supper (detail)</i>, a mosaic by Raffaeli from Da Vinci’s masterpiece.
The Last Supper (detail), a mosaic by Raffaeli (ca. 1790) from Da Vinci’s masterpiece. Judas, clutching his moneybag, spills the salt, giving rise to a superstition that is still with us.

Psalm 41:7-9 (KJV)

All that hate me whisper together against me:
against me do they devise my hurt.
An evil disease, say they, cleaveth fast unto him:
and now that he lieth he shall rise up no more.

Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted,
which did eat of my bread,
hath lifted up his heel against me.

Blue Latin Cross

Matthew 26:17-25 (ESV)

The Passover with the Disciples

Then one of the twelve, whose name was Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “What will you give me if I deliver him over to you?” And they paid him thirty pieces of silver. And from that moment he sought an opportunity to betray him.

Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Where will you have us prepare for you to eat the Passover?” He said, “Go into the city to a certain man and say to him, ‘The Teacher says, My time is at hand. I will keep the Passover at your house with my disciples.’” And the disciples did as Jesus had directed them, and they prepared the Passover.

When it was evening, he reclined at table with the twelve. And as they were eating, he said, “Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” And they were very sorrowful and began to say to him one after another, “Is it I, Lord?”

He answered, “He who has dipped his hand in the dish with me will betray me. The Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.”

Judas, who would betray him, answered, “Is it I, Rabbi?” He said to him, “You have said so.”

Notes on the Scripture

The three Synoptic Gospels are very close in their telling the Last Supper story, with minor differences in details. Most Christian denominations agree that the apostles prepared the Passover meal on Thursday. The Last Supper is Thursday night and Jesus will be crucified and die during the day on Friday. The Jewish days began and ended at sunset, rather than midnight, so although Christ was crucified on Friday by our reckoning, it was on the same day as the Last Supper by Biblical reckoning.

The Passover lamb was actually killed during daylight on Thursday (thus, to a Jew, on the day before the Last Supper), but the more important events in the Passover occur between sunset on Thursday and sunset on Friday: The recollection of the Jews in Egypt painting lambs' blood on their doorposts, so that the angel of death would “pass over” their house, and the eating of the sacrifice.

Jesus identifies Judas during the Passover meal. He uses the ancient idiom, “you have said so,” which is an oblique way of saying “yes” without actually saying it, by acting as if a question is a statement. We will want to remember this, for Jesus will repeat the idiom several times: when Caiaphas asks him if he is the Son of God, and when Pilate asks him if he is the King of the Jews.

We get a mixed message about Judas' free will. Jesus' death is preordained, for his destiny is to fulfill the prophets: “The Son of Man goes as it is written of him.” But he seems to contrast the inevitability of his own death with Judas' betrayal, for the warning he gives to Judas might imply that Judas could change his mind.

In John 6:70, Jesus says that one of the apostles he has chosen is “a devil”. Also notice that Judas calls Jesus “Rabbi”, meaning “Teacher”, rather than “Lord” as do the others. So there seems to be very little chance that Judas would actually change his mind. But Christ, even knowing that it is futile, must nevertheless attempt to warn Judas away from his betrayal, for it is his character and his purpose to forgive sinners. He does not mind that Judas will cause his death; but he does not want to see Judas condemned to hell.

God sent Christ into the world that “whosoever” believes in him would be saved (John 3:16). He is so completely dedicated to our salvation that he will do all in his power to save even the most terrible of sinners, and even if he realizes it is hopeless. If he is this eager to save Judas, how eager he must be to come into our own lives and give us the gift of eternity!

endless knot

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James 4:4: You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

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