1 April: John 13.21-32

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. One of his disciples—the one whom Jesus loved—was reclining next to him; Simon Peter therefore motioned to him to ask Jesus of whom he was speaking. So while reclining next to Jesus, he asked him, ‘Lord, who is it?’ Jesus answered, ‘It is the one to whom I give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.’ So when he had dipped the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas son of Simon Iscariot. After he received the piece of bread, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, ‘Do quickly what you are going to do.’ Now no one at the table knew why he said this to him. Some thought that, because Judas had the common purse, Jesus was telling him, ‘Buy what we need for the festival’; or, that he should give something to the poor. So, after receiving the piece of bread, he immediately went out. And it was night.

When he had gone out, Jesus said, ‘Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once.


 

 

1 April

 

The disciples are companionably at ease around the table, passing an ordinary evening together. Maybe they are still rather perturbed by Jesus’ ministrations with the towel and water, but now replete with food and wine, they relax in the candlelight.

Then shocking words are spoken. ‘One of you will betray me’. Jolted and confused they lean in closer around their master, turning to scan each others’ familiar faces for clues.

Peter takes the initiative and prompts John to ask Jesus who is this betrayer. A clear answer and a clear sign are given, but no-one is any the wiser except Judas, and John.

To us it all seems more clear-cut and easy to decipher, as John tells us the whole story in this passage. So, we scan the scene, trying to understand the clues and signs, trying to judge the characters by their expressions and gestures and guess who is who. In this moment they are all gathered intimately around their beloved master and betrayal seems incomprehensible. There is no evident sign of satanic possession in those faces, but there is one who has turned away.

The light falls on the figure of Jesus, ‘troubled in spirit’ at the still centre of the scene. He himself has just started the countdown to death. In the little time remaining he must leave his disciples with a clear explanation of all that is about to happen, and why it must be so. He seems stilled, almost overwhelmed by dread and horror of the unique agony and rejection that is now so close ahead. But his face is also bright as he is also about to reveal that the hour of his glory has arrived.