Wednesday 12 April 2017

Bible Book:

“After saying this Jesus was troubled in spirit, and declared, ‘Very truly I tell you, one of you will betray me.’ The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he was speaking.” (vv. 21-22)

John 13:21-32 Wednesday 12 April 2017

Psalm: Psalm 70 


In today's passage, Jesus and his disciples were by themselvesfor what we call the 'last supper', in a private, rented room. Theywere hidden from the crowds who had followed Jesus since Lazarus'coming out of the tomb (John11). They were also hiding from the temple authorities who nowwanted to arrest Jesus. It was a vulnerable time and anyone couldbe forgiven for being "troubled in spirit".

And yet, sometimes popular thinking about Jesus does not includespace for him to have normal human emotions like stress, fear,pleasure or anger. Jesus was troubled in spirit: despairing,disappointed, the energy taken out of him. Why should it be hard toacknowledge that Jesus had normal emotions? It may be that thinkingabout Jesus, the Son of God and one who is meant to embody the Godof creation as anguished, is simply too frightening. If he isupset, what hope for the rest of humanity?

Clearly Jesus' mood caused anxiety among his disciples as well.After Jesus made his declaration, even Peter did not dare expresstheir concern directly. He whispered to another who he thoughtwould get a better hearing, "the one whom Jesus loved" (v. 23).This portrait of the group dynamics among the disciples should beinstantly recognisable to anyone who has ever checked out with onefriend what another was feeling or thinking before speaking to thatone directly.

Here we read that the disciples as a normal, believable group ofpeople. When their leader was upset, they walked on eggshells andstarted to second-guess one another. The very believability of thedescription of this group here shows the integrity of the Gospelwriter. He did not try to make them look good, or strong, orworthy. Instead, he tried to show their real humanity in waysreaders would recognise and identify with. This integrity shouldbuild confidence in the accounts that would follow of their joy atJesus' resurrection: the Gospel writer has an established trackrecord, what he wrote about this group can be trusted.

To Ponder

  • What do you think about Jesus having a bad day, or beingdiscouraged?
  • Is betrayal by a friend worse than abuse by a stranger?Why?
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