Jesus loved perfectly. As we read John 13, this limitless love is contrasted immediately with the wickedness of Judas. As penman of this gospel account, John included details that would later come to light, but that while he was yet a character in the story he did not know. At the time, no one suspected Judas, so much so, that even after Jesus made it explicit that it was Judas that would betray Him, the disciples still missed it.
It was one of the most intimate nights between Jesus and His disciples. He knew that He was going to be executed very soon, and He wanted to give some last words to His disciples. He knew that their faith in Him was going to be shaken when He was beaten and crucified. He knew that many of them were fixated on a Messiah that was crowned and enthroned in Jerusalem. He knew that the shock of His arrest and mock trial would be enough to melt their hearts and make even the most faithful become doubters.
So He taught truth. There is nothing that anchors the soul in hard times like Truth. In the season of life when the wind blows and the torrent pours sorrow upon sorrow, the one who is fixed on Truth will be able to survive. There were several doctrines that He would teach on this night, and this Truth would resonate in the minds of the disciples for the rest of their lives. “Serve one another.” “Trust in God and trust in Me.” “Love one another.” These were the words that He would equip them with for the most harrowing day of their lives. But not everyone at the table was interested in the Truth that Jesus was teaching.
“One of you will betray me.” As Jesus spoke the words, it must have been strange for all sitting there except Judas. With a lump in his throat and his guilty mind swirling, he must have played innocent for a moment or two, since the other disciples apparently never suspected him. Jesus then indicated that it was Judas and gave the permission, “Go do what you have planned.” That was the entire interchange, and it was lost on all of the disciples. Judas left, and did not return for the rest of the evening.
What type of bitterness and anger would have to be in a person for them to hear the words of Jesus and choose to betray Him? How evil would you have to be to give the pretense of friendship while all the while subversively plotting to destroy someone? So Judas walked out into the night, and surrendered himself to the will of Satan. Together, Judas and Satan would seek to rid the planet of the Son of God. They would have Him murdered so that He would no longer be a problem. Unbeknownst to them, their act of extreme depravity would simply serve to accomplish the very plan of God. They were not going to overthrow Jesus; they were merely lending themselves as servants of His will.
Food for Thought: What were the two reasons that John gives for the disciples thinking that Judas was leaving the table?