In command: Matthew’s account of the preparation for the Passover meal (vv 17-19) focuses on how Jesus directs the course of events. He is in perfect command of the situation. As they share the meal, Jesus predicts that one of the Twelve will betray him (v 21). This underlines the enormity of the despicable act—it will be done by one whom Jesus trusts and considers a friend. The evangelist indicates that Jesus knows who his betrayer is (v 25).
While Judas’ role is necessary in the fulfillment of the scriptural plan, this does not negate his responsibility for his action. He is motivated not only by greed by also by disrespect and loss of faith in Jesus as his master. Note that while his fellow disciples address Jesus as “Lord” (v 22), Judas calls him “Rabbi” (vv 25, 49), the title used by the scribes and Pharisees and the crowds. In contrast, Jesus remains steadfast in his love and friendship for this erring disciple. Even as Judas comes into the garden of Gethsemane to betray him, Jesus calls him “friend” (v 50).