Wednesday, April 13

Wednesday, April 13

Reader: “I tell you the truth,”

Response: “one of you will betray me!”

Scripture: John 13:21-32

Now Jesus was deeply troubled, and he exclaimed, “I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me!”

The disciples looked at each other, wondering whom he could mean. The disciple Jesus loved was sitting next to Jesus at the table. Simon Peter motioned to him to ask, “Who’s he talking about?” So that disciple leaned over to Jesus and asked, “Lord, who is it?”

Jesus responded, “It is the one to whom I give the bread I dip in the bowl.” And when he had dipped it, he gave it to Judas, son of Simon Iscariot. 

When Judas had eaten the bread, Satan entered into him. Then Jesus told him, “Hurry and do what you’re going to do.” None of the others at the table knew what Jesus meant. Since Judas was their treasurer, some thought Jesus was telling him to go and pay for the food or to give some money to the poor. So Judas left at once, going out into the night.

As soon as Judas left the room, Jesus said, “The time has come for the Son of Man to enter into his glory, and God will be glorified because of him. And since God receives glory because of the Son, he will give his own glory to the Son, and he will do so at once.

Some thoughts:

As we read this passage, it strikes me that the disciples did not understand what seems so clear to us. The thought that one of the twelve who had been traveling with Jesus for three years would betray their rabbi, their master, did not compute. So Peter’s question to John to ask Jesus who it was who would betray him was not surprising. It would be like asking who in your family is going to betray you. The key to betrayal is having gained complete trust. That is one of the reasons divorce is so hard. A man and woman gave each other their pledge to be married for life. They trusted one another completely and built the marriage on that trust. Then to discover you have been played the fool is devastating to your core. Betrayal is treachery.

Jesus answered John’s question as to the identity of the betrayer by stating an action he would take. In what may have been a last chance for Judas to change his mind, Jesus broke bread with Judas, a sign of fellowship, as they had undoubtedly done many times before. Jesus had already washed Judas’ feet. With no change of heart, Satan then entered Judas and immediately Jesus told Judas to leave. The chilling words “he went out into the night” were symbolic. Judas left the Light of the world to enter into the dark world of Satan.

While the disciples still had no clue, Jesus knew the entire time what Judas was in the process of doing yet did not intervene in Judas’ betrayal plan. Nor did Jesus confront Judas about his stealing money from the disciples’ money bag. Jesus gave Judas ample time to repent of his ways. Even at this point, the disciples still did not understand what Judas had in mind. It was only in the Garden of Gethsemane did Judas’ nefarious plot become clear. In their panic they joined the betrayal of the Savior and fled. 

I can say with certainty that every one of us has been betrayed at some point in our life and my guess is also that we have been the betrayer upon occasion. If not outwardly in deed, certainly inwardly in thought or mind. Face it, we have betrayed our Lord. At a  personal level, the pain comes in realizing that someone loved their own interest more than they loved you. They truly didn’t care that their desire was at your expense or that their actions hurt you. Frankly, you were not on their mind and of no concern to them.  Our pain comes from a devaluation and lack of respect for us. Betrayal is the epitome of selfishness. 

Did you notice how Jesus was affected by Judas’ betrayal? The opening sentence says he was “deeply troubled.” What was about to happen had a powerful unsettling effect on Jesus. His humanity is evidenced in his sorrow. Betrayal is a nasty thing hurting not only the betrayer and the betrayed on earth, but the One we betray who resides in heaven and within us. Part of the significance of this week is that Jesus died to restore the repentant betrayer.  But notice the concluding sentences, “As soon as Judas left the room, Jesus said, “The time has come for the Son of Man to enter into his glory and God will be glorified because of him.” There is life even after a devastating betrayal. Jesus is our model.

Music: “Ah, Holy Jesus”    Fernando Ortega


O Lord, my maker and protector, who hast graciously sent me into this world, to work out my salvation, enable me to drive from me all such unquiet and perplexing thoughts as may mislead or hinder me in the practice of those duties which thou hast required. And while it shall please thee to continue me in this world where much is to be done and little to be known, teach me by thy Holy Spirit to withdraw my mind from unprofitable and dangerous enquiries, from difficulties vainly curious and doubts impossible to be solved. Let me rejoice in the light which thou hast imparted and wait with patient expectation for the time in which the soul which thou receivest shall be satisfied with knowledge. Grant this O Lord, for Jesus Christ’s sake, amen.             ―Samuel Johnson, 1709-1784, from The Oxford Book of Prayer, p.116