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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

And It Was Night - John 13-Continued

It is easy to think of Jesus as calm and in total control of himself and the meal in the Upper Room. He had chosen the location and made the arrangements. He was the host for this meal with his disciples.

When he changes the course of things with the foot-washing, we immediately realize what was said by John in the first verse of the chapter. Jesus knew that this was a climatic event, but he seems to be trying to tell the Disciples in a gentle demonstration of love and compassion not to worry about the outcome, but simply to trust him.

John was writing several years after the event had happened, and he reflects on the scene with the wisdom of hindsight.  Judas was the one who would betray him and tonight was the night. John points out that Jesus was not blind to the facts and he was distressed about it.

Jesus knew that Judas was the betrayer, but the Disciples did not understand this or the significance of it. John was reclining next to Jesus and asked him the name of the betrayer, Jesus took a piece of bread and dipped it in sauce and handed it to Judas. “Jesus said, ‘What you are doing, do quickly.’”(Paraphrase) Judas left, but the disciples did not understand the significance of his departure yet. 

The Disciples were still looking for human explanations, and they thought Judas had gone on some errand concerning money.  Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified.” No angels appeared. No thunder clapped. But this was momentous in the mind and heart of Jesus. Betrayal was in the heart of Judas, and he was gone to accomplish his purpose.

Preachers’ sermons invest much time in exploring the last sentence in John 13:30b. And it was night. They may view it as reflecting the state of Judas’ heart. To others it may seem to signify the outlook for the world’s destiny without Jesus. 

John allows this to close the focus on Judas and betrayal. Now Jesus and the rest of the Disciples resume the final teaching and references to glory, departure and Peter’s denial.

See also the entry entitled "Do Your Feet Need Washing?"