The earliest Christians followed a Jewish tradition of pausing to pray, preferably together, first thing in the morning, about mid morning, at noon, about mid afternoon, and in the evening. “Just a Note” posts are brief observations made from Scripture readings not related to a lectionary. If I have one to post, it normally appears about 9:00 in the morning, at “the hour of prayer.”
John 13:12-30 tells one of the saddest events in the Bible. Jesus, God the Son, knows that he is going to be betrayed. Eleven of his apostles do not realize this. Jesus comments on it. This is unexpected enough that his disciples, particularly Peter and John, want to know more details. I suppose we all would.
Jesus quietly and discreetly points out to John which disciple it would be. He gives him a bit of finger food. This is a sign of honor. It is an affectionate act. And yet John’s Gospel comments that at this time Satan entered into Judas (v. 27).
Jesus, the suffering servant, tells Judas, “What you are doing, do quickly.” Judas departs. There is no fanfare. There is no rebuke from Jesus. There is no defense at all.
Below the surface of this passage we realize that Jesus is using Judas’ departure from the faith to purchase forgiveness for all who would believe. Jesus is going to his death, according to the prophecy, so that the world could be rescued from death. We don’t honor Judas. He should never have betrayed Jesus. Yet it was not so bad for Jesus as it was for Judas. He was condemned, not because he denied Jesus, but because he was not brought to repentance and forgiveness.
Does Jesus still care for Judas as he hands him the piece of bread? Yes, he does. He is reminding Judas that he is the bread of life. He is giving himself over into Judas’ hands.
As Jesus uses us in his kingdom, he leaves us to believe him and to live a life as a Christian in view of the world. He has given much of his work into our hands. May we have grace to be different from Judas. May we always look to him in faith, in sorrow for our unbelief, and in trust for the future.
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