After saying this Jesus was troubled in spirit, and declared, "Very truly, I tell you, one of you will betray me."
~ John 13:21
It's the middle of the night, my sleep has betrayed me, and I am sitting here, wide awake, with my mind filled with so many thoughts.
While I have struggled with insomnia during various times of my life, I find that when I begin to overwhelm myself with "things," I seem to find my sleep gets pushed aside to provide for the time I need to process everything.
It's in moments like these, especially during Holy Week when I'm trying to balance work, preparing for services, and a number of other commitments that I actually find the time as a gift. "A gift?"
Perhaps the lack of sleep has made me a little crazy.
But it's true.
As I sit in the darkness I begin to meditate on Christ's journey the last week of his life. The triumphant arrival into Jerusalem, and then an afternoon, filled with anger, as he turns over tables in the temple. The disciples, remembering quiet nights laying next to wood embers glowing from a fire, against a sky filled with stars, thinking of the Kingdom of God, and the stories that Jesus had shared.
About this time there must have been those wishing that they were simple fishermen again before they met Jesus, and dropped their nets to "follow him."
There would not have been a place where they could truly escape what was happening at this point. The restlessness was real. The sleepless nights were filled with memories that now have given way to worries of "what might happen tomorrow."
Jesus, the child of God, and being God, understood what it meant to be fully aware of the human condition at all hours of all eternity, was now aware that as part of this "plan" he was about to experience something new. Jesus' own life was now to be met with unknowns. The God of all creation was about to encounter death. Something that even God has never truly known, and it will come because of one of God's own children. One of God's own.
The night has suddenly become not just a time of darkness but a place of darkness in the life of Jesus.
"Tomorrow it will happen. He will betray me."
Did Jesus lay awake? Did Judas, as he slept next to others who have been on this journey as well, toss and turn, struggling to sleep as well? Did he awaken, and look across the room, and think of what he would do? Would it be so strange at this point for Judas to awaken, only to find Jesus staring back at him? Was it in the middle of the night when he plans to identify Jesus with a kiss? Did he think of what the silver coins would be used for, and what his life would be like when their weight rested firmly in his hands?
The night must have seemed to last for eternity.
But then, alas, even the need for sleep creeps in, just like the one who slipped away into the darkness to plan the betrayal. Like the thief of the night, he dreams of what he will do, "if only."
The darkness has become like day, attempting to surround a Light that has never been overcome. The plan is set. Are you awake?
Stay in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2018
Rev. G. Todd Williams lives in the Houston metro area and is a Hospice Chaplain at Essential Hospice, Webster, Texas, and is an ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor.