John 13:21-22 (NIV) 21 After he had said this, Jesus was troubled in spirit and testified, “I tell you the truth, one of you is going to betray me.” 22 His disciples stared at one another, at a loss to know which of them he meant.
On verses 21-22: Here we once again see Jesus’ humanity. Jesus is emotionally impacted – “troubled in spirit” (v21) – by the fact that someone he has loved and invested in for 3 years is going to betray him. From this I learn that God is not stoic and emotionless. God is full of emotion and has an emotional response to the things we do and say.
John 13:23 (NIV) 23 One of them, the disciple whom Jesus loved, was reclining next to him.
On verse 23: “[T]he disciple whom Jesus loved” was John’s way of referring to himself, not to boast of his status as compared to other disciples, but to refer to himself, as if to say, “If I’m anything at all, I’m loved by Jesus”. Rather than pointing to his accomplishments and what he had done, John pointed to the fact that Jesus loved him.
Likewise, regardless of your performance, you are loved by Jesus. As a follower of Jesus, you too are the disciple whom Jesus loves. Jesus’ love for you is so unchanging, so unfailing, so unconditional, that, like John, you can let Jesus’ love define who you are and say, “Like John, I too am the disciple whom Jesus loved.”
John 13:24-30 (NIV) 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 Iscariot, son of Simon. 27 As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him. “What you are about to do, do quickly,” Jesus told him, 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 Feast, or to give something to the poor. 30 As soon as Judas had taken the bread, he went out. And it was night.
On verses 24-30: Why didn’t anyone understand that Jesus was pointing to Judas as the betrayer, especially if he says that his betrayer is “the one to whom I will give this piece of bread” (v25) and then Jesus proceeds to give the piece of bread to Judas? Isn’t it obvious that it’s Judas? Maybe it’s because in that situation, Jesus was casually passing the bread to Judas, who in turn was expected to pass it to others, and thus it wasn’t clear that Judas was being singled out. In any event, the fact that Jesus knew what Judas would do, but the others did not, goes to show that Jesus sees our hidden thoughts and secret motives even when they are not obvious to those around us. As Hebrews 4:13 says, “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” Since God sees my secrets thoughts that no one else sees, may we live in humility before God knowing that nothing is hidden from Him.
Also, when verse 27 says, “As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him”, it’s reminder that just as receiving Jesus requires that we open up our heart and be willing to receive him, so that’s the way it largely works with Satan as well.To a great extent, Satan can only have as much room as we let him have. So be careful to keep the door open for Jesus but keep the door closed shut on Satan. As Ephesians 4:27 says, “do not give the devil a foothold”.
Jesus, thank You that despite all of my weaknesses, flaws and mistakes, I still am the disciple whom You love. Thank You for Your unconditional, unchanging, unfailing love in my life, and for loving me even when You know in advance the times and ways that I would break Your heart. I praise You for being faithful, even when I am faithless. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!