Written By: Brandon Smith
Read: John 13:21-30, 36-38
This passage is hard for me to read. Whenever I come to this passage of scripture, I am confronted by two very important problems.
- Jesus knew Judas was going to betray him.
- After being called out, Judas goes and does it anyway.
Jesus knew. This is a problem, because Jesus still loved him; he still taught him; he still gave him responsibilities (being in charge of the money and all). My problem with all these things is that we are called to imitate Christ. We are to love as Christ loved and He loved Judas. We are to love our Judas’ too and that’s my problem. We are to love even our enemies and pray for those who wrong us. It hurts. It hurts to be betrayed, to be lied to, deceived, and have others actively working against you.
Jesus’ love for Judas is the physical manifestation of that love we are to demonstrate. Jesus just got done washing his feet and Judas is about to go use those feet to run Jesus to the cross. Love during betrayal or rather Love despite betrayal. This is not an easy teaching. It’s one I’d love to gloss over and ignore, however this does happen to us too. This is relevant teaching and despite it’s pain, bears Kingdom fruit.
But that’s only half the coin.
Jesus calls Judas out. He doesn’t sugar coat it, he doesn’t lessen the blow. He effectively says, “You will betray me”. The conviction that must bring. The immediate guilt and shame that brings. For the person you have committed to follow, call out the sin you’ve already been scheming in your mind. And then go and do it anyway. It’s hard to watch. It’s hard to read, and honestly feel sorry for once the deed is done and guilt overwhelms him.
But Jesus cares.
And so when we reach Peter’s Denial, Jesus is still suffering that loss and anguish. And Peter steps up trying to boast himself up as the more loyal of disciples and Jesus calls him out on that too. Peter’s words are in the right place, but Jesus calls out that his actions will prove him wrong.
Peter and Judas are paralleled here. They both display betrayal. Judas through action, Peter through inaction. Both are painful experiences to live through. But how often are we in these same places though.
It’s painful self-reflection time.
- Do we do this with our actions?
- Are we like Peter? Where our words in the right place, but our follow through isn’t. Or are we like Judas, running full speed the other direction?
However, we don’t have to be like Judas. We don’t have to ignore the conviction that the Holy Spirit gives us. We can repent. We can ask for forgiveness. We can seek reconciliation. We acknowledge our wrongdoing and submit to the Lordship of Christ. Jesus already made the first step.