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.” (John 13:21)
Ever been betrayed by someone you held near and dear to your heart? Jesus understands. In a very solemn announcement He testifies that His spirit is and troubled over the coming betrayal of one He has shared life with. It is painful to His core. What a bitter sorrow to witness an apostle turn apostate. It is evident that this is a particularly cutting sorrow to Jesus. Just because Judas’ actions were foreknown by our Lord neither lessened nor dulled the blow. Sorrow is no less acute known long in advance. Certainly our Lord had sensed the hardness and deadness that sin had produced in Judas’ heart. He knows exactly what is in a man’s heart, much better than we know ourselves, discerning even the motives behind our actions.
O LORD, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD. (Psalm 139:1-4)
In this verse for today, Jesus was not only giving the other disciples a “heads up,” but also lovingly warning Judas as well. Unfortunately for Judas, he did not heed the Lord’s admonition. The next time Judas will see Jesus will be in the garden when he comes with the mob to betray him. Sadly, within a very short time both the Master and the servant are dead–the Master dying for our sins–the treacherous servant dying in his. Judas missed his opportunity to turn for his sin.
What trouble the Lord went through for the sake of our souls! Indeed, He was acquainted with sorrow and suffering. The prophet Isaiah had prophesized regarding this as well:
He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. (Isaiah 53:3)
It is verses like these that help us see the amazing love Christ demonstrated towards sinners. He died for Judas. He died for me and He died for you as well. His love for us is beyond measure in depth and tenderness. His love carries with it the great cost of Calvary.
“Love seeks one thing only: the good of the one loved.” Thomas Merton
I am reminded of Paul’s words in Romans:
You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:6-8)
This single verse in John that is our verse for today serves as a reminder to all believers that, like our Lord, we will neither be loved nor embraced by the world. We can expect opposition. We have no cause to be surprised if we share in our Lord’s lot when friends fail and men disappoint. We are in the world but we are not to be of the world. Friendship with God is to be enduring the world’s hatred. Jesus had warned His disciples regarding this very thing:
“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember the words I spoke to you: ‘No servant is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.” (John 15:18-20)
Take It to Heart
“Mercy there was great, and grace was free;
Pardon there was multiplied to me;
There my burdened soul found liberty,
(William R. Newell, At Calvary)
“Redemption does not only look back to Calvary. It looks forward to the freedom in which the redeemed stand.” (Leon Morris)