Friday, May 18, 2012

John 13:18-30

One thing that just popped out at me in reading this next passage is that Jesus washed the feet of ALL TWELVE of the disciples, including Judas! Even knowing what Judas was about to do, even knowing that Judas, as the keeper of the purse, had been dipping into their funds, even knowing all of that, Jesus humbly knelt before Judas and washed his feet! You see, as Jon Courson writes, it’s not about us being lovable; it’s about Jesus being love incarnate.

In today’s passage, Jesus predicts the betrayal by one of their own, to the shock of the disciples:

“I am not referring to all of you; I know those I have chosen. But this is to fulfill the scripture: ‘He who shares my bread has lifted up his heel against me.’ 

“I am telling you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe that I am He.  I tell you the truth, whoever accepts anyone I send accepts me; and whoever accepts me accepts the one who sent me.” 

After he had said this, Jesus was troubled in spirit and testified, “I tell you the truth, one of you is going to betray me.” (John 13:18-21)

I so appreciate that Jesus felt the same way about this betrayal as we would. He was “troubled in spirit.” Because he loved Judas like the others, the hurt must have been so great! For three years they had walked, talked, eaten, slept, and ministered together. Jesus quoted Psalm 41:9 here, in which David laments the betrayal of Ahithophel. David’s son, Absalom, had rebelled against his father, and Ahithophel, who had been David’s trusted advisor jumped ship and went over to Absalom’s camp! David was crushed. Jesus quotes David to indicate the prophetic nature of the verse. Courson points out that Ahithophel came to the same end as Judas: overcome by his guilt, he hanged himself (2 Samuel 17:23). I believe that knowing what would happen to Judas also greatly “troubled” Jesus.

When Jesus announces the impending betrayal, the disciples immediately want to know which one will do the deed:

His disciples stared at one another, at a loss to know which of them he meant.  One of them, the disciple whom Jesus loved, was reclining next to him.  Simon Peter motioned to this disciple and said, “Ask him which one he means.” (vs. 22-24)

Peter, having already put his foot in his mouth on this evening, gets John, “the disciple whom Jesus loved,” to ask the question they are all dying to ask! Jesus indicates that the one to whom he gives the dipped bread is the traitor. After dipping the bread and giving it to Judas, the passage turns ominous:

As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him. (vs. 27)

What a scary thought! Jesus tells Judas to go quickly to do what he planned.

As soon as Judas had taken the bread, he went out. And it was night. (vs. 30)

You can just feel the darkness pressing in on Jesus’ spirit in His final hours. In His time of greatest need, Jesus would be let down by these men. If you have ever felt the hurt of betrayal you understand what Jesus was going through. Yet, what was His response? Jesus could have taken out Judas, or at least railed against him here in front of everyone. Instead He quietly tells Judas to go.

Jesus was fully trusting and fully obeying His Father at all times. He kept His focus on His purpose. He did not get sidetracked by personal feelings, even though they must have been intense. I don’t think this was passive resignation. It was active forgiveness and love - not just for Judas, but for all of us, because this betrayal happened to fulfill the prophecy, and Jesus had to die to rescue us from sin.

Next week we’ll read about Jesus’ prediction about Peter’s denial. The contrast between Judas and Peter is instructive!  

No comments:

Post a Comment