John 13:21-32

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

23One of his disciples—the one whom Jesus loved—was reclining next to him; 24Simon Peter therefore motioned to him to ask Jesus of whom he was speaking. 25So while reclining next to Jesus, he asked him, ‘Lord, who is it?’ 26Jesus 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. 27After he received the piece of bread, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, ‘Do quickly what you are going to do.’

28Now no one at the table knew why he said this to him. 29Some 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.

30So, after receiving the piece of bread, he immediately went out. And it was night.

31When he had gone out, Jesus said, ‘Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. 32If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once. 

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In four short words, John sums up the state of affairs at this point in the story – “And it was night.” (John 13:30b)

Darkness has settled over the land. It appears that betrayal, confusion and death are about to triumph over truth, light and Life.

Jesus loved Judas just as he loved all his disciples. He cannot have called Judas to be his betrayer. Jesus must have called Judas to be his follower with the same hope and expectation with which he summoned all his other disciples. Judas must have started out with the same good intentions and high ideals as the rest of Jesus’ most intimate circle. Judas did not intend at the beginning to turn upon his master and betray him to death at the hands of violent men.

To be fair to Judas, no one in this story, except Jesus, has any idea what is really going on. John says, “no one at the table knew why Jesus said this…” Their vision is obscured; they are unable to see the whole picture. It is night. This is a scary place to be.

When I am groping in “the night” it is tempting to try to fight back against those forces that seem to be impeding my vision. But Jesus calls, not for resistance to what is, but to surrender to a power greater than the circumstances of the moment.

When I give up my determination to get my way and instead give myself to the power of love, then God is “glorified” in me. I live more fully and deeply as the person I was created to be. Tragically, this is a journey Judas was never able to make.

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What is it that causes us to change? Why do I lose touch with my highest ideals and betray so readily those qualities of love and light I wish to serve?

What is the impact of fear in my life when I am uncertain and filled with doubt? What might help me to trust in the power of Life even when it is “night”?