The first half of this chapter was a beautiful example of service. Jesus washed his disciples’ feet. The second half is much sadder and darker. Jesus tells them that someone who shares bread with him has lifted up his heel against him. Sharing bread would mean eating together. Sharing a meal would mean close fellowship.
Jesus tells them he wants them to know that he knows about it before it happens. He wants them to know he is fully aware of the situation, of the things to come, and that he is in control.
Right after he says this, the text states that he was troubled in spirit. Here is the raw, human side of Christ. He is going to be betrayed by a friend, by someone who has seen his miracles and listened to his teachings, by one of his chosen. We’ve all been betrayed by a friend at some point during our lives. It’s painful. When someone we hold dear breaks our trust, it can be heartbreaking. Multiply the feelings we have felt over some sort of betrayal times a thousand and we might feel a sliver of the heartache Jesus was feeling. I can’t imagine what it must have been like for him.
He tells them that one of them will betray him. The disciples all stare at one another in disbelief. Which one of them was it? “The disciple whom Jesus loved, ” (John), was sitting next to Jesus and Peter was sitting on the other side of John. Peter whispers in John’s ear to ask Jesus who it is. I’m with Peter; I would definitely want to know.
John asks. Jesus tells him it’s the one he gives the bread to. Jesus then gives the bread to Judas. As soon as Judas takes the bread, Satan enters him. That’s the only explanation we ever get of Judas’ betrayal. How could Jesus have known? Judas had free will. Did Jesus know Judas’ character was weak? Did he know his true heart was one of greed? Did Jesus know that Judas’ love of money would be his downfall? Should we learn a lesson from that here?
As much as we would all like to know the true reasons for the betrayal, we can only guess. Surely, Satan didn’t know God’s plan for the resurrection or he would have never played a part, but Satan exists to stamp out light and Jesus was the light. Perhaps Satan couldn’t see any further than that.
Jesus told Judas to act quickly and Judas went out into the night. Judas left the light and went into the darkness and he never again saw the light.
After Judas leaves, Jesus tells them that he won’t be with them much longer. He gives them his most famous command: “Love one another as I have loved you. By, this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
Then, the always outspoken Peter, asks Jesus where he is going. Peter tells him he will willingly die for him. Jesus tells Peter he will disown him three times before the rooster crows. Peter is left speechless, but he will remember this discussion very clearly after Jesus is arrested and be filled with regret.
What do you think of today’s reading? I’d love to hear from you.
Have an awesome day!