In yesterday's combox post, an anonymous poster is baffled as to why Judas remained with Jesus if his heart wasn't into it. It is certainly a perplexing question, and one that does not present any easy answer. Any thoughts out there?
Today, the story picks up at the beginning of the Last Supper, and what always strikes me is that Jesus still hasn't given up on Judas, but rather continues to call him to something greater. The small details in the story, when placed into the context of life at the time of Our Lord illustrates this dramatically, if we pay attention.
First, it is important to remember that DaVinci's Last Supper is anachronistic. At the time of Jesus, they did not 'sit' at table, rather they reclined at low level tables and relaxed on cushions. (To me, one of the funniest scenes in the Passion of the Christ [if there could be anything humorous about that particular movie!] is when Jesus is making the table as we would today and Mary gives him a rough time about it.) Also, the tables were not usually square, but were shaped like the letter 'U' so that the servants could serve the meal without reaching over those eating. (I would diagram it, but my two year old neice has better art skills than I do!)
So, as Jesus says 'The one to whom I give the morsel to is the one who will betray me,' there is a clear indication that Judas is next to him, or at the least close at hand. Peter, on the other hand, isn't, as he has to indicate to John to ask Jesus for more info.
So, if they are laying on their sides at an angle to a low laying table, who's next to whom? Another detail clearly shows that John is 'in front of' Jesus, as he leans his head back on the breast of Our Lord.
Putting it all together, then, Judas is behind Jesus.
Ok, it should come as no surprise that I'm not Him, but I don't think I would put the guy trying to kill me with a clear shot at my neck with a knife! (The knife is an embellishment.)
The way this passage comes about, it really seems that Jesus is fully in control (especially in the Gospel according to John!), and is inviting Judas to repentance. He shows Judas that Jesus knows what Judas is doing and about to do. Yet, ultimately he accepts His fate and recognizes that 'His Hour has finally come.'
Finally, one last detail with regard to Judas for today. "He took the morsel and left at once. It was night." Flip back to the beginning of the Gospel, the prologue: "A light shines in the darkness and the darkness shall not overcome it." In the language of the Scriptures, and even stronger in John's parlance, light is the realm of God and darkness is the realm of the evil one. Judas has left the presence of the 'Light of the World' and has entered the realm of darkness. By his failure to repentant and be open to Christ's presence and call to conversion, Satan was able to enter his heart and bring about the apparent downfall of the Son of Man.
Tomorrow, we'll examine Judas' possible motivations a little more indepth.