Today we again read Isaiah 50:4-9a, which is the third of the Servant songs. As we think of the servant’s sufferings, let us also think on the servant as a teacher who knows “how to sustain the weary with a word.” We can be inspired by knowing that God sustains us through weariness. In Christ, God has shown solidarity with us even in our deepest sufferings.
Psalm 70 sounds the note of urgency we should all feel. Even when our lives are going smoothly, we should not forget that our need for God’s love and sustainment is ever present, and is ever great. We are never not dependent on God.
The reading from Hebrews speaks of Christ’s perseverance and endurance. These are invaluable qualities that are sometimes hard to see. Often they do not “sparkle and shine” in the way that grabs our attention. Instead, they are found in the person who week after week, month after month, year after year, or decade after decade regularly puts one foot in front of the other in quiet service to God. Within churches there exists a great “cloud of witnesses” who consistently show up and serve behind the scenes. They rarely receive applause or a day of recognition. But we should notice, so that we may be inspired by Christ as they have been.
Today’s Gospel reading is the account from the Gospel of John in which Jesus declares that one of his followers will betray him. One of the closest followers will turn away from Jesus. Away from the way and the truth and the life to which Jesus had called them all, and which Jesus had carefully nurtured in them over their time together. Judas Iscariot is, of course, the most spectacular of Christ’s betrayers.