Pondering John 13:18-38

gospel-of-john

You can click HERE to read the passage.

There is a lot of emotion in this passage.

Think about what Jesus was dealing with emotionally on this night. The cross loomed right before Him. He knew He would soon experience the devastation of being separated from God. He was having His “last supper” with friends that He had spent  three years pouring His life into. He knew that  one of them was preparing to betray Him. He knew that one of them would soon deny Him. Verse 21 says that Jesus was “troubled in spirit.” I can’t even imagine what He was going through.

Think about what Peter was dealing with emotionally  on this night. He had just recently heard Jesus predict His imminent death. That had to be unsettling. He knew that the Pharisees had taken out a hit on Jesus. He had just watched Jesus wash his feet and didn’t quite know how to deal with it. And now he is learning that there is a betrayer in their company. These 11 other men that are his best friends on the face of the earth – and one of them is about to sell Jesus out. Peter wants to know who it is so he can stop it from happening – this is the kind of thing Peter does. He reacts! And then finally Jesus looks Peter in the eye and says, “before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” No doubt this got his blood pressure higher than it should be. There had to be so many different emotions that he was feeling.

Think about what Judas was dealing with emotionally  on this night. Had he already made up his mind that he was going to betray Jesus? Was his resolve set? Or was he still trying to decide if he would betray this man who had done nothing but show him love for 30 pieces of silver. Was the foot washing the last straw for Judas? Did he see Jesus as weak – not as the kind of Messiah who could lead a revolt against Rome? He knew that he was about to commit an act of betrayal against a friend. He knew that none of the other disciples would ever forgive him. I can’t even imagine how fast his heart was beating as Jesus said to him, “What you are about to do, do quickly.”

There is a lot of emotion in this passage. But there is also a lot that baffles me – especially regarding Judas – because I fear that there is something of Judas in me.

“It is a terrible thing that what was meant to be love’s appeal became hate’s dynamic.”  This quote is from William Barclay’s Commentary on John 13:26-27. Presumably, John is reclining on Jesus’ right and Judas is reclining on Jesus’ left. It is a place of honor. And Jesus makes one last loving gesture towards Judas when He offers him bread that had been dipped. John 13:29 records that, “As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him.”

How could a man who had watched Jesus and talked with Jesus for as long as Judas had decide to betray Him? It would seem that he was disappointed and disillusioned. For all of Judas’ hopes, Jesus was not  the kind of Messiah he was looking for. Jesus, as it turned out, was not fulfilling the dreams that Judas had. Now isn’t that the reason that so many in our world today are disillusioned with Jesus. He is not making their dreams come true.

But Jesus did not come to fulfill our dreams. The narcissistic brand of faith that is so prevalent today is not only shallow but also unfulfilling and unsatisfying. Our world has been so taken in by the lures of this world that we cannot see how empty our dreams have become. It is only when when we begin to dream dreams that are Spirit inspired that we will find the kind of life we are longing for. It is as sad thing that Judas never found this.

“Father, I don’t want to pursue my dreams because I know they will leave me unfulfilled. Would You give me Spirit inspired dreams that will thrill my soul in the days that I have left.”

Next Week’s Passage: John 14:1-14

 

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