D Gibb Mitchell
Nou whan the e'enin wis come, He sat doun at maet wi the Twal. An whiles they wis aetin, he sayed solemnly, "Truly say A t'ye, that ane o ye will betray Me!" An they wis unco wae, an begoud ti say ti Him, ilk ane o them, "Is it me, Lord? It is nut me, is it, Maister?" An He sayed, "He that dippit his haun wi Me in the dish, that ane will betray Me! The Son o Man gangs as it wis written o Him, but wae ti that man that the Son o Man wis delivered up bi. It war guid for yon man gin he haed never been born." An Judas, that betrayed Him, spak, an qo he, "Is't me, Maister?" He says ti him, e'en as ye say!"
An as they wis still aetin, Jesus teuk the breid, an efter blessin God, broke it up, an gied ti the disciples, sayin, "Tak aet; this is Ma body!" An takkin a cup, an giein thanks, He gaed it ti them, sayin, "Drink ye aa frae it! For this is Ma Covenant-bluid, whilk is shed for mony, for the pittin-awa o sins! But A say ti ye, A sall nae mair efter this drink o the juice o the grape, till yon day whan A drink it new wi you in Ma Faither's Kingdom."
An whan they haed liltit a psalm, they gaed oot inti the Mount o Olives.--Matt. xxvi
The Hinmaist Nicht wi the Twal
This wis the dowie nicht o their life--wi the warst forebodins. They haed gaithered in here frae the storm that wis brewin--the wild burstin fury that wis swallin in the breists o their faes. Ilk ane haed a sair doun-hingin face, an cairied the grief o his ain thochts in his leuks. There wis little sayin, but meikle thinkin. Ane an aa kent weel that this wis the hinmaist tryst!
THe Maister haed mony things ti say the nicht that couldna be sayed afore. They wis aa leukin at Him, an wonderin. They kent His hert wis fou o something. He haed ower muckle ti say an no eneuch time ti say it in. He wis spaekin faster than ordnar. He wisna Himsel. He wis cuisten doun; but a spirit o calm ruled. A thrang o things wis comin thegither in HIs mind. He kent that Judas wis ti betray Him. Nane o the lave haed a inklin o't. He wis in a swither hou He wis ti brak the news ti them.There wis quarrels an bickerins. He girds a touel aboot HIm. He draps on his knees, an the Maister-Lord begoud ti wash the disciples' feet. Peter winna lat Him; but what could the knave hae thocht whan He kneelt doun aside him, an dichtit the dubs frae His feet, an dried them wi a touel? Wis there ony qualms o conscience, or a turnin awa frae his dark design?
The first mutterins o a betrayal wis heard. "Ye'r clean-- but no aa." Christ wadna face the thocht o't straucht forrit. He wis giein the traitor a chance, an tryin ti wyle him back bi kindness, ti saften him doun bi gracious deeds. He wis giein him time ti think, an lattin him ken He kent!
The Maister couldna divulge the hale truith ti the disciples; but it warstled frae Him bit bi bit, until they kent the warst. In a side wey He sayed, "A spaekna o ye aa; A ken wha A hae waled oot. He that aets Ma breid lifts up his heel agin Me." It wis ower faur frae their thochts: they couldna mak Him oot. Whan He saw they wis blate, an He maun mak a open hert o the secret ti them--His hale frame sheuk an trimlt!
The Lord kent nane o them haed thocht they wis aside a betrayer. But He haed kent Himsel langsyne, an haed tholed him throu it aa. Twathree days afore this He haed gien him a warnin, an haed quarrelt wi him whan he grumblt at the alabaster box o perfume that wis broken an droukit Jesus' feet. Judas haed never been warm an glowin. He haed never haed the lowe that lit the rest loomin throu his daeins. He moved aboot amang them as gin he wis ane apairt frae them, an never threw his hert inti the maiter in haun at the time, but leukit as if he wis waitin for something better ti dae!
The Saviour's keen ee teuk tent o his movements, an kent his hert didna gang wi the lave. He haed keepit the secret ti Himsel, ettlin ti wyle him roond bi mony a saft haunfu o guidwill, that, mibbie, the ithers didna get. Ye mey be shuir that the Maister's feelins wis never asklent, nor showed the smaaest inklin o wrang, or the disciples wadna hae been sae muckle in the dark. He canna tether the secret ken o His hert langer. He maun aither get redd o him nou, or mak him a saint for aye! He haed things ti mak plain ti them--the unkent ti unfauld--that only HIs leal freends could hear. Jesus wants ti be His lane wi His ain; an it wis haurd for Him ti hae ti force ane o them oot o sicht an mak it sair for him ti bide amang them.
Judas wis callous an sayed naething. He hoddit his feelins ahint his face an leukit as quait an crouse as ony.
The Maister broke in again, an qo He, "I canna say the same aboot ye aa. Ane haed liftit up his heel agin Me ti wrang Me; ane o ye is ti betray Me."
Judas never flung a clod, but herkened. He kent bi this time that the Son o Man jalouzed the drift o his mind, an what he wis hankerin ti be at. The disciples wis aa upset, their thochts wis raivelt. They haed muddled leuks at ane anither. Ilk ane tint faith in himsel, but glumsht his innocence; an aa ransackit their herts. Puir Peter wis fidgin fain ti ken if it wis him, an signed ti John--that wis leanin on his Maister's bosom--ti spier wha it wis. He wis feart it wis himsel: he couldna think it wis ony o the lave. He never jalouzed for a meenit it wis Judas--that wis aye sae smooth an calm, an never made ony mistaks!
"Is it me?"
"It's no me, is it Maister? Wha can it be? The Lord that we lo'e: wha wad hae the hert amang us ti wrang oor Maister?"
Jesus whispered ti John, "A'll haun the sop ti the ane that's ti wrang Me."
They wis aa harangin ane anither. They wis spierin an guessin--unfit ti pit thegither the hicht an depth o the betrayal. They kent na hou muckle or hou little it meant.
Jesus' whisper ti John didna seem ti reach the ithers. an got nae faurer. They wis ower intent wi themsel's. They wis stupified an stunned. They didna ken what Jesus haed sayed ti Judas aboot the morsel. But Peter kent: he wadna rest athoot kennin.
Jesus wis laith ti lat Judas gang. If He could wyle him--e'en yet--roond ti better thinkin; if He could get him ti fecht an dumbfouner Sautan, an the wyles o his ain craft; if He could get him doun ti wash the disciples' feet--e'en yet He wad try'm ance mair. Jesus wis eager ti the vera last ti try His best for Judas. He haed never lost a chance for mony a lang day ti get him inti the mood o richt thinkin an rael likin. This wis a michty attempt, an the hinmaist chance ti save his sowel an keep him amang the lave a worthy follaer!
He wad gie him anither favour--the biggest coortesy o the faest. He douks the sop inti the sauce an hauns ower the honoured service. Anither whisper cam, an for the first time frae his quarter--frae Judas--"Is't me, Maister?" "E'en as ye say; whate'er ye div, be quick an be by wi't," cam the answer. Judas rose an left them. Whan he gaed oot it wis dark, an the gloom o the nicht spreed ower the table!
He wis forced ti gang. Jesus made it ower haurd for him ti bide wi the thochts he haed. His ain deevilment drove him ti the door. He begoud ti ken the contrast atween himsel an the lave--that wis ower simple-hertit for him, ower pure-thochtit for his company. The gust o a demoniac soopit across his spirit, an the demon hert rose ti the deed. Judas haed gane oot o their circle for aye. But hou haed he got in? Ay, this is what we aa spier.
There wis something unco great in this man. He wis a fellae o attractive pairts. He haed the stuff that maks a man o worth. He haed the calibre that guides a statesman ti the hichts. He haed mair than that: he haed a throb o sympathy an love eneuch. He leukit at guidness an likit it; he wis taen wi't. He wis brave eneuch ti fecht ony battle. His imagination micht hae winged him up ti haliness an the hill taps o grace. But he couldna win awa frae himsel. His will aye centred aathing there. He wadna gie muckle concern or compliment ti a leader. He wad never divide a place wi ither men. He wadna split honours. The warld that cam inti him he uised it aathegither for himsel. Aathing haed come ti him an gang frae him that he willed an thocht for. He wadna gang faur aff his road ti help onybody. He wis tolerant. He wisna a man ti quarrel ower smaa things, but felt stung an sair at hert if onything big wis pitten past him. He haed patience ti wait for occasions, an filled up the driblets o affairs wi little thocht, as he waitit for bigger things!
Judas wis a braw man. He haed perfete mainer. He haed sauvity an couthie grimace! He wis quait--like a sleepin loch--no aesy rufflt. He haed a sturdy natur, weel in his grip. He micht splash oot onti a terrible passion whiles; but it needit a dael ti brak him doun. He haed a itchin hunger for pouer. He haed a teuch hert: his surroondins wis aye less than himsel!
He cam ti Jesus ti save himsel. He likit men o guid stamp an grit. He thocht weel o this Man for His braw qualities o heid an hert. He saw in Him a leader--a man greater than himsel--that touched ilka pairt o his natur wi guid likin. Haed Judas been Christ, he wad hae floatit himsel inti the hieghest pinnacle o the state. Sae, here wis a Man that wad help him, that wis worth makkin a cronie o, that he micht play saicont place til an no loss bi it! Judas never accepit ony ither place--in his ain mind.
He wis in favour o Jesus' love for the puir--as a richt maxim. He believed in sympathy for folk that wis sair forfochen. He approved o the giein haun ti them that haed neathing ti aet. He likit Jesus' guidness. But aa thae things wis ti him only a guid rule. He wadna fash himsel ti cairy them oot. They wis only for the pairt o a bigger scheme that wis the dividin an stumblin block atween Jesus an Judas!
Jesus seemed aye ti him a man pittin aff time--gratifyin himsel amang trifles--whan He should hae been graspin at the gowden sceptre. Aa the time he wis wi the Maister, Judas wis never haun in haun. He wis never upliftit bi what he saw. He never wis joyous at the same things that gae the ithers joy, an he never seemed ti be douncast wi the ither disciples: their humours never touched him. He wad whiles smile at John's simplicity an gley at his guileless wey. He haed ti lauch at Peter's ramstam drollery. He wis kittlt at the fishermen's ideals o life, an lichtlied their hopes an langins!
But he did respeck the Maister, an leukit up ti Him. He herkened wi gleg ear an guid faith ti aa He haed ti say. He wad hae likit Jesus ti mak better cronies wi the braw, an the sillered, an the folk o hiegh rank. He never bargained for the Kingdom that the Messiah wis settin up. He couldna see that it wis a Kingdom. He haed ower muckle a strain efter things he could see an haunle an get a share o. He haed nae faith an nae belief in sacrifice!
There micht hae been big bickerins atween him an the disciples that we ken naething aboot. A dinna think he wis a man ti thole no bein on the tap o the Mount o Transfigerration, an no grumblin ower't, an sayin nesty things aboot bein negleckit. It mey be he didna like ti see John aye sae near the Maister an sae faur ben in His hert. He wis only a man frae Kerioth: they wis aa Galileans, an kent ane anither ower weel for him. He wis beginnin ti feel cauld amang them, an he wis aye a fremmit man ti them!
The purse-bearer wis never in guid gree wi the apostle. His sowel wis ower muckle in the bag; altho A dinna think he cared sae sair for the siller as he did for the pouer o keepin't. They aye haed ti gang ti him for aathing they wantit; an that gae him a haud that pleased him for the time--till the owerturn o better things. He wis blamed for bein a thief; but ti what extent could he be a thief? there wis naething ti steal. They wis aye scrimp, an never wis ony mair than flush wi the warld! They haed naething ti spare, an gin her haed spent a farthin mair than the lave it wad hae been fund oot an dottit doun against him. The fact that the apostles say sae little aboot him in their writins is a sign that they didna blame him muckle. They didna blame him sae muckle as they blamed the ootsiders that haed wyled him roond. That is what the disciples mey hae thocht; altho aiblins it wisna true. He schemed weel for his ain ends. Nae pouer ootside touched him if it didna suit his ain likin. He pit his haun ti his ain ploo an turned his ain furrae!
An nou the hinmaist nicht haed come. He cared little for ony o the disciples, an Jesus haedna gane the gate he thocht He wad tak. He haedna wan the Kingdom he begoud ti follae Him for. He haed got naither siller, nor place, nor pouer--an that wis the bargain he made at the ootset. It wis ower muckle time ti loss for naething. It wis ower lairge a hope ti be humbled intil this. It wis ower big a desire ti dwinle doun ti this. His up-biggin wis a rickle: his hiegh-fleein thochts haed gane agley: he couldna see anither inch alang this road!
He thocht he wad get oot his vengeance nou. He haed been rookit o his hopes an his blinks o galore. He haed taen a len o Jesus for a purpose; but it wis the wrang thing he thocht aboot at the first. His anger lowes up at a clever chap like him bein deludit! He glowers an himsel like a sheep! It wis revenge an jealousy an spite that teuk him frae the Faest ti the darkness o the nicht ti sell his Lord for therty siller bits--because he couldna bide an tak pairt in the speeritual warld!
Could he win by this? There wis twa ploys in his mind ti wale frae: success wi honour; failure wi betrayal. If things haedna gaen contrar, he wis a great man an a noble. But whan the fates swung him doun inti the common warld--doomed an hopeless--his haun wis ready for the bluidy deed, the betrayal o his best freend.
He wis a traitor ti the man o men. He haed been latten inti aa the sacred pairts o the Saviour's hert. He haed heard Jesus spaek ti the crouds; ay, an he haed herkened ti Him crackin in private ti His cronies--His hert rinnin ower wi His theme. He haed haed the happiest chance ony man ever got in this warld,--Christ's neeborin, an aa the guid wirds an pairsonal advice that his ain lugs could hear,--as bonny an example as ever een saw. Sin in Judas' hert--the love o himsel, an the passin warld--haed brocht him ti this. The doun-pouin passion o his hert wis strang, altho sae lang wi the Man o Purity. The warst thing aboot the traitor wis, that Purity couldna brak it doun an Guidness couldna saften it. He got haurd like the clod whan the sun birsels it!
Sic a sair cross for the Saviour ti hae tholed this loun sae lang! An yet He tholed him weel an sayed naething aboot it till the hinnerend. He wis a bonny sample ti aabody, hou ti thole folk that gangs their ain gate, an that mey plan an plot ti save life. Judas haed been amang the wolves afore he cam inti the faest that nicht, an kent his ain ken throu it aa.
It wis a table o duil an wae whan he left it. Jesus' hert broke doun. He wis amang His ain trustit men nou an could news wi freedom. He wis sorry as He thocht o their plicht, an tender whan He saw their bleedin herts brimmin ower wi grief. What a warld He haed come up throu! An they haed ti trudge the rest o the road alane. Hou could they bear the brunt o't--the toil an the moil--athoot Him? Their sair herts He buid hael. "Little bairns, yet a wee while A am wi ye. Ye canna come whaur A gang; but A leave wi ye a new command,--Lo'e ane anither as A hae lo'ed you. Bi your love for ane anither men will ken that ye'r Mine."
He poued aside the curtains o the comin days an luit them see what wis ti happen. The shaidae o the Cross hung ower the table as He spoke ti them. It wis the blackest shaidie they haed seen. They saw Mount Calvary an the Cross staunin, an their ain Maister Hingin on't. Ti them that nicht this wis the comin deed o Judas the betrayer. They jalouzed whaur the traitor haed gane. The Maister wis makkin them ready ti meet the warst an be fit ti staun alane whan He wis awa!
Hou this drave them ti the herts o ane anither, an welded them wi the links o a common faith! It waukened their hope an love. They wis ane less, an they wad suin be twa less. Eleeven wad be left ti staun agin the cauld dreich storms o the warld. An whan the cauldrife blast drives ower the muir they creep near ane anither's herts for warmth an cheer. They wis fleyt that if ane maun faa a prey ti the wolves, they micht aa gang the same gait an bear the same dree o fate!
But the dounfaa o the nicht fand them in sorrae, sabbin on ane anither's necks, greetin sair for the day that haed ti come. Ah! there wis ae dry chiel, an it wis the Saviour's face that didna show a tear. He couldna afford ti greet the nicht. He haed ower muckle in haun ti keep the lave frae a broken hert. He hertened them wi the story o His rycin frae the deid an comin back ti them again ti uphaud an gie them pouer. This nicht He haed feenished His gospel. He promised them strength in themsels tho He wis gane, an a uphaudin haun airtin them their gate.
He wad gang back ti His hame Abuin whan His life's darg wis ower. Syne He wad hae wun His rest. His sair days wad be by. His trauchle an weary fecht for His ain an aa that lo'e Him wad be duin. They wad be the men ti tak His place an be His mou', His hauns, an feet. They wis ower cuisten doun an wadna lat their een tine the mirk side o their duil. They maun grip themsels anew an be worthy o the wark He wis ti lippen them wi. He could dae nae mair; it wis for them ti cairy forrit His guid name. If they haed ti face haurdship for their leal-hertitnes ti Him, His paece wad souch throu them an spaek laich an swaet.
An they waitit aa thegither for the dark day ti come, hearin His guid wirds an drinkin in His promises. Aa voued a leal hert, aa wad haud siccar ti the end. The oor wis by, His hinmaist wirds haed faan frae His lips. Jesus spak His fareweel as He bade them staun up an lilt a psalm. The notes o the hymn cam furth in sabs an dee'd awa on the nicht air.
The Maister gaed oot,--lat's be quait, lat's haud oor braith!
God Abuin--There's aye a road ti Yersel for Yer ain folk. We in the mirk leuk up ti the licht. The soond o oor vyce wins throu the rattle o the warld an faas upo' the ear o God. Fou fain ar we whan Ye caa us ben ti spaek wi us, an blythely we rax up oor sang an oor prayer. There's mony a thrang o men at Yer fitstool at this oor. There's mony a cry gaein up frae poupit an pew, frae street an lane, frae cot an palace. Herts is hungerin an sauls is cravin Yer blessin. Ye hae a ear for aa; Yer hert is big eneuch for aa. There's no a siech or a moan that's tint upo' man's Freend abuin. Richt gled ar we oor cry isna drouned bi the lave. The saftest wird, the laichest souch is heard. Nae fauldit hauns, nae bendin knees is unheedit. We ar thankfu that Ye canna tire o men spierin for what Ye hae promised. Ye winna weary herkenin ti tales o aa kinds. Ye'v telt us ti caa Ye "Faither," an it's Yer ain wuss that we should gaither roond Yer door as yer welcome bairns.
We'v come frae faur an nar. Ilka ane haed traivelt his ain gate, cairyin his ain birn. Ye ken whaur the load is sairest. Ye ken wha's ready ti drap doun in a dwaum o weariness wi sorrae an care. Ye'v rappit at the door o some hames an taen awa the ane weel-lo'ed. The chair is empty, the ingle-neuk dreary an quait, faces is waesome an dull. Gie comfort an hertenin ti them Ye'v dealt haurdly wi. Aese the wecht, weise them roond, an gar them say that aathing's richt that comes frae Heeven's haun. Set their een forrit ti the licht, an mak them stap wi steedy fit throu the gloom. Lat them finnd the grip o Yer haun airtin them on till the trauchle is by, an days is bricht an bonny.
We ar people o fauts an failins. We'r thochtless an thrawn. Whiles we'r angert an wuss ill ti oor neebor; whiles fou o sel, whiles whiskit awa wi daffin vanities. We ettle at big things an grab at siller an gowden dust. We hug the warld an deem it best. God gets the cauld shouther, an yirthly trash wins first. God abuin,--Yer lang-tholin maks us wonder. Yer lovin peety we canna get ower. Ye'v aye hope for the warst, an bide for his back-comin. Ye'll forgie the biggest sinner an dicht oot the foulest wrang. Ye'll wash clean the fylt life. Sae, dear Faither, we mak bauld ti come an beg forgiein for aa ill-daeins. Tak us aa back ti Yer airms, an lat us gang in ti warstle ance mair, hauden up wi Yer ain Praisence.
We ask aa for Jesus' sake. AMEN.