Through the Bible in One Year

Day 157

John 13:18-30

Yesterday we saw Jesus do, what to the disciples’ minds, was the unthinkable act of washing their feet.  And today we see the first of two predictions that Jesus makes in this chapter.  And those two predictions are: Judas’ betrayal of Jesus and Peter’s denial of Jesus.  And today we will be dealing with Jesus’ prediction that Judas would be betraying him, and tomorrow we will be dealing with Jesus’ prediction of Peter’s denial.

“I am not referring to all of you; I know those I have chosen. But this is to fulfill this passage of Scripture: ‘He who shared my bread has turned against me.’

“I am telling you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe that I am who I am. Very truly I tell you, whoever accepts anyone I send accepts me; and whoever accepts me accepts the one who sent me.”—13:18-20

After describing Jesus’ humility in the foot washing, John describes Jesus’ foreshadowing of his betrayal.  As David was betrayed by a close friend (Psalm 41:9), Davids’s Son would be betrayed by a friend.  Sharing bread with someone was a mark of friendship, which made the act of betrayal even more devious.  Jesus told them these things so that their faith would be strengthened when they looked back on the events; they would know he had not been caught off guard.  Jesus concluded by showing the relationship of his mission to their mission.

After he had said this, Jesus was troubled in spirit and testified, “Very truly I tell you, one of you is going to betray me.”

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.”

Leaning back against Jesus, he asked him, “Lord, who is it?”

Jesus answered, “It is the one to whom I will give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.” Then, dipping the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him.

So Jesus told him, “What you are about to do, do quickly.”—13:21-27

The thought of Judas’s betrayal grieved Jesus.  He had hinted at this betrayal numerous times, but now he stated it plainly.  The disciples were shocked and had no idea which of them it might be.  Peter mentioned to the “disciple whom Jesus loved” (John) to ask Jesus the identity of the traitor.  Jesus responded with an action instead of a verbal identification.  John’s use of Judas’s full name brings a certain sobriety to the moment.  After Judas took the piece of bread, Satan entered into him.  Jesus, aware of what was happening, instructed Judas to act immediately.

But no one at the meal understood why Jesus said this to him. Since Judas had charge of the money, some thought Jesus was telling him to buy what was needed for the festival, or to give something to the poor. As soon as Judas had taken the bread, he went out. And it was night.—13:28-30

No one seemed concerned when Judas departed.  They likely though he was taking care of matters related to the weeklong festivities since he acted as the treasurer for the group.  The significance of Judas taking the piece of bread is seen in the fact that John mentions it again.  The notation that it was “night” may have symbolic significance.  Since the Passover meal was eaten at night, there was really no need to mention it chronologically.  Theologically, though, it means that the plan was being put into motion that would culminate with the death of the Son of God.  The contrast between light and darkness—suggests that the kingdom of darkness was now at work.  This was the darkness night the world has ever known.

Tomorrow’s Bible Readings:

1 Kings 3:3-4:34, Acts 6, Psalm 126:1-6 and Proverbs 16:26-27

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