“After saying these things,” – after washing the disciples’ feet and telling them to wash one another’s feet; after telling them they would be blessed if they did these things; after He knows them and they are His chosen; after telling them they would be His messengers like He was the Father’s messenger. After all this – He is “troubled in his spirit” and speaks out clearly that one of them will betray Him. (I cannot imagine the disappointment of pouring your life into someone only to come to the realization they are going to betray all of it!)
Though all the disciples heard, it is of course, Peter who springs into action. “Hey John, ask Him who it is.” That’s Peter, always wanting to be in on the action. But I don’t think he had a clue the depth of betrayal to come.
John, the disciple Jesus loved, asks. (Here is the place to be – next to Jesus and in full assurance of His love. Makes you wonder if John knew that right then or if came to this realization at some point. Regardless he came to claim this as his moniker. I often marvel at the whole concept of what it is to be loved by God but John got it. Later he tells the world, “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.” 1 John 3:1)
I do love that Peter tells John to ask. They’re tight. John probably knows Peter is impulsive, sticks his neck out and his foot in his mouth but he trusts Peter’s daring for Jesus and he goes with it. (I’m grateful for the people God has put in my life who say “go for it” or I can say “go for it” to them. You know who you are!)
Jesus’ answer seems pretty straightforward, “’It is he to whom I will give this morsel of bread when I have dipped it.’ So when he had dipped the morsel, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot.”
[Pause for a bit of research: In Bible times everybody didn’t have their own plate of food nor did they have utensils. There was usually one common bowl that contained the main dish and everybody dipped their bread in it and scooped up their bite. If the host wanted to honor a special guest he would dip a piece of bread (“the sop”) and hand it or feed it to the guest. It seems that is what Jesus was doing when He gave “the sop” to Judas – it was an act of friendship and respect.]
Jesus clearly saw Judas with pity and not with contempt. It was His last opportunity to reach out to Judas. Having experienced this I can understand why later Judas would be full of remorse at his actions. But in this moment he rejected Jesus and opened himself to Satan’s will. “What you are going to do, do quickly.” (I once believed Jesus said this to hurry the process along but now I wonder if it wasn’t for Judas’ benefit as well. Jesus’ words come to mind: “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Matt. 5:43-44.)
Peter and John are asking the question but miss the answer. Everybody missed it. They just thought Jesus was giving Judas some instructions. No one really understood what the betrayal would be or what it would mean. (Maybe it was God’s grace to spare them for a bit longer. I know there are times God, in His mercy, spares me from too much information.)
Judas “immediately went out.” Knowing what we know, it’s hard to miss the power of this announcement – “and it was night.”
Man’s betrayal did not and will never stop God from loving us.
Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. That’s the lesson for today.
About the World?
Darkness or Light…choose Light.