John 13:1-17 taught us about the necessity of a Savior-approach, not a self-approach. We also learned to pause, ponder, and seek His perspective (the 3 p’s) when it comes to society’s method of “fixing” your life. This week, we will finish out John 13 and a couple downer topics: Jesus sending Judas away (after favoring him) and the prediction of Peter’s denial. I will make note that while these aren’t the happiest of situations, God never fails to have His redemption plan ready; we are the ones who make the choice on how we’ll respond to His grace.
18 “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.’
19 “I am telling you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe that I am who I am. 20 Very truly I tell you, whoever accepts anyone I send accepts me; and whoever accepts me accepts the one who sent me.”
21 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.”
We’re familiar with Judas. We’ve heard the Sunday school stories and learned of his name in sermons. But, let’s step back for a moment and consider Judas while also comparing him to our current situation in the Church.
Judas was one of the twelve disciples, witnessed miracles, and walked with the Messiah for three years.
Judas was the treasurer of the group (John 12:6). He was held in high regard by his peers.
Judas’ feet were washed by Jesus.
From the outside looking in, Judas seemed like a great guy. Like he had it all together. Does this all sound familiar to you in terms of what you see idolized today? People are associated with other people. They have “positions” that the world honors. They seem to go through all the right motions. We know from 1 Samuel 16:7 that the Lord does not look at what other people look at; he looks at the heart. Even though Judas seemed to be put together, his heart was in rebellion.
Here’s what Jesus saw in Judas (his “fruit”):
He was a traitor and hypocrite who never believed in Jesus (John 6:64-71).
He had not been bathed all over (John 13:10-11).
22 His disciples stared at one another, at a loss to know which of them he meant. 23 One of them, the disciple whom Jesus loved, was reclining next to him. 24 Simon Peter motioned to this disciple and said, “Ask him which one he means.”
25 Leaning back against Jesus, he asked him, “Lord, who is it?”
26 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. 27 As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him.
So Jesus told him, “What you are about to do, do quickly.” 28 But no one at the meal understood why Jesus said this to him. 29 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. 30 As soon as Judas had taken the bread, he went out. And it was night.
Even after Jesus had spoken these words, the disciples were clueless (except for “the disciple whom Jesus loved” because Jesus revealed it to him). If you read in Luke 22:23, after Judas had been dismissed, they argued about who would betray Jesus. They saw the bread being given to Judas as an act of love and honor, not the revelation of a traitor.
“The disciple whom Jesus loved” is most likely John (who wrote this gospel). I’m sure he was caught off guard about Judas being the betrayer, and obviously, not all the men heard Jesus tell him this or they wouldn’t have still been guessing.
When it says, “Satan entered into him,” keep in mind that Judas knew exactly what he was doing. By this time, he had already met with the Jewish religious leaders and agreed to lead them to Jesus in a way where there wouldn’t be an uproar with the people. It was in his heart to do and that’s why we must be relentless in guarding our heart against sin (Proverbs 24:3). No one just falls into an affair or scandal—it’s been deliberately decided.
Sin will take you further than you wanted to go and keep you longer than you wanted to stay.
Notice the last sentence in verse 3: “And it was night.” Four powerful words that changed the course of this book. Jesus continually makes the contrast of light and darkness. Judas left a dark shadow on this scene and while darkness is powerful, there was a plan for God to be glorified, which we read in these coming verses.
31 When he was gone, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man is glorified and God is glorified in him. 32 If God is glorified in him God will glorify the Son in himself, and will glorify him at once.
33 “My children, I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now: Where I am going, you cannot come.
In these verses, Jesus prepares His disciples for the crucifixion. That’s such a reassurance because the crucifixion was going to rock their worlds. He wanted them to have their faith strengthened in this process, not shaken. That’s why He said in verse 19, “I am telling you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe that I am who I am.” Jesus wanted them to believe, so He made certain to help them have an eternal, God-glorifying perspective. Did the crucifixion still shake them? Absolutely. But that moving and shaking prepared them for the Great Commission to “go and make disciples” (Matthew 28:16-20). Remember this the next time you go through a valley—God prepared you for this. It doesn’t make it easy, but it brings reassurance. He has a plan that will glorify God!
34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
36 Simon Peter asked him, “Lord, where are you going?”
Jesus replied, “Where I am going, you cannot follow now, but you will follow later.”
37 Peter asked, “Lord, why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.”
38 Then Jesus answered, “Will you really lay down your life for me? Very truly I tell you, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times!
“Love one another.” Those are hard words, especially in a culture where people are so easily offended. It feels like we’re walking on eggshells most days, doesn’t it? Love one another. It doesn’t say to just “tolerate” others who don’t believe as you do. It doesn’t say you need to marry them or date them. It simply says to love them. Love was the key theme to Jesus’ farewell message because it was the powerful key to Christ’s death on the cross. “For God so loved the world,” John 3:16 would tell us. Jesus knew He was about to lay down His life for the traitors, deniers, robbers, and death-ridden people of the world, and it all started by Him leaving the comfortable table and washing other people’s feet in a sacrificial way.
Girl, wash some feet. Amen.