Wednesday 28 March 2018

Bible Book:

“Jesus was troubled in spirit, and declared, ‘Very truly, I tell you, one of you will betray me.’” (v. 21)

John 13:21-32 Wednesday 28 March 2018

Psalm: Psalm 70


Because of the way the compilers of the lectionary selected the Gospel reading for Maundy Thursday, today we look at some verses that occur in the middle of that passage and focus on the character of Judas Iscariot. Judas is a figure who has challenged and mystified Christians for 2,000 years; because the Gospels only hint at what his motives might have been, his story has been the subject of endless speculation. What John makes clear is that Judas is the agent who will set in train the final sequence of events that takes us to the glorification of Jesus.

The scene is a supper for which the disciples have gathered shortly before the Passover festival. There Jesus was “troubled”; the verb is the same that was used in yesterday’s passage to describe Jesus’ emotions when he was told of the arrival of the Greeks (John 12:27) and once again we see the mixture of confidence and trepidation that we saw then. And again, the outcome of the dialogue is an assurance that all this is for the glorification of Jesus and the glorification of God.

The Gospel of John’s account of the Last Supper does not include a narrative of the institution of the Eucharist; John does not tell us that Jesus took bread, broke it, and gave it to his disciples, identifying it as his own body. Ironically, however, there is one incidence of Jesus sharing bread with a disciple in this story: it is when Jesus is asked to identify the one who would betray him and does so by giving Judas bread (verse 26). At that moment, we are told, Satan entered Judas (verse 27).

To Ponder

  • John’s Gospel makes several attempts to make sense of Judas’ motives in betraying Jesus. What do you think his reason was?
  • Sometimes, the things that we do for the wrong reasons turn out to have a good outcome. Can you remember a time when that was the case for you? If so, give thanks.
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