Musings From the Gospel of John – Number 32

The Scriptures covered in this post are from John 13:18-38
I know, this is a bit of a long one but there is so much here that needs to be said. Bear with me please.

In our last post Jesus had washed the disciples feet. And in John 13:11 John tells us that Jesus had indicated that He knew who would betray Him and for that reason He had stated “Not all of you are clean.”

In John 13:18 NASB Jesus picks up on His betrayal again and says the following: “ I am not speaking about all of you. I know the ones whom I have chosen; but this is happening so that the Scripture may be fulfilled, ‘He who eats My bread has lifted up his heel against Me.’ Emphasis is mine.

This is a direct quote from Psalm 41:9 NASB which reads as follows: “Even my close friend in whom I trusted,
Who ate my bread, Has lifted up his heel against me.”

I’m not going to go into any great detail about the prophecies that provide particulars on Jesus being betrayed (above and beyond King David’s Messianic psalm verse noted directly above), but I will include a link that does provide a good overview on additional settings and the prophet involved, and also additional particulars, which you can view here. If you have the time, please check it out.

The key verse to make note of in this portion of Scripture is John 13:18 where Jesus draws their attention to the fact that this is all happening so that the Scripture may be fulfilled.

John 13:19-20
NASB reads as follows: “From now on I am telling you before it happens, so that when it does happen, you may believe that I am He. Truly, truly I say to you, the one who receives anyone I send, receives Me; and the one who receives Me receives Him who sent Me.”

One can easily see that Jesus emphasizes the fact that He is about to tell them information before it actually happens so that when it does happen, this will give them additional proof that He is in fact the promised Messiah, the Son of Man.`

John 13:21-32 NASB reads as follows: “When Jesus had said these things, He became troubled in spirit, and testified and said, “Truly, truly I say to you that one of you will betray Me.” The disciples began looking at one another, at a loss to know of which one He was speaking. Lying back on Jesus’ chest was one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved. So Simon Peter nodded to this disciple and said to him, “Tell us who it is of whom He is speaking.” He then simply leaned back on Jesus’ chest and said to Him, “Lord, who is it?” Jesus then answered, “That man is the one for whom I shall dip the piece of bread and give it to him.” So when He had dipped the piece of bread, He took and gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. After this, Satan then entered him. Therefore Jesus said to him, “What you are doing, do it quickly.” Now none of those reclining at the table knew for what purpose He had said this to him. For some were assuming, since Judas kept the money box, that Jesus was saying to him, “Buy the things we need for the feast”; or else, that he was to give something to the poor. So after receiving the piece of bread, he left immediately; and it was night.

Therefore when he had left, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in Him; if God is glorified in Him, God will also glorify Him in Himself, and will glorify Him immediately.”

It’s important to note that during this specific period of time, people did not sit at a table to eat like we currently do with a chair. They reclined on the left side of a low platform, resting on the left elbow and eating with the right hand, their feet extended outward. Reclining in such a way, a man’s head was near the chest of the person on his left. Keeping that in mind makes the above Scripture much easier to understand.

It’s also important to note that up until this point in time the disciples did not know that one of them would betray Jesus. This is one of the things that Jesus is now letting them know in advance. Jesus specifically lets John and Peter know that it is in fact Judas and Jesus tells Judas to basically do what he is doing, quickly. John also lets us know that it is this specific point in time that Judas decides to go through with betraying Jesus. Judas may have been tempted to do so previously but this is the moment that Judas decides to act on it and John records that Satan enters him.

It’s hard to conceive that someone who had personally experienced, witnessed and heard all the things that Jesus had done and said could actually turn on Jesus, but this is the witness of John and all of the rest of the Apostles, when they subsequently needed to replace him as recorded in Acts 1:16-28. Also note that Judas knew that Jesus knew. And even though Peter and John now knew who it was that would betray Jesus, none of them knew for what purpose Jesus had told Judas to do what he was to do (and consequently what he was going to do) and some of them presumed Judas had left to buy things for the feast or give to the poor.

In John 13:31-32 NASB we have Jesus quoted by John as saying the following” “Therefore when he had left, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in Him; if God is glorified in Him, God will also glorify Him in Himself, and will glorify Him immediately.”

I think of this as the initial domino in a row of dominos being put into motion. Judas had left to do what he had decided to do, now what was to take place was indeed underway. The hour for which Jesus had been born had finally come. Jesus ultimately will be glorified and in doing so, God the Father will be glorified. And if the Father is glorified in the Son, God the Father ultimately glorifies Himself and this is immediately underway. When one considers the last words of Jesus on the cross, “It is finished” (John 19:28-30), it puts all of what now unfolds into perspective.

And then here, at this particular moment in time, Jesus says the following in John 13:33-35 NASB: “Little children, I am still with you a little longer. You will look for Me; and just as I said to the Jews, now I also say to you: ‘Where I am going, you cannot come.’ I am giving you a new commandment, that you love one another; just as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all people will know that you are My disciples: if you have love for one another.”

Jesus never does anything on a spur of the moment, Jesus introduces His new commandment, love one another as I have loved you, here for a reason. And what is Jesus about to do? Jesus, the Son of the Living God, the Lamb of God without blemish, is about to subject Himself to terrible torture and death and He calls His disciples “little children”. And when it comes to understanding the thoughts and ways of God, that is exactly what we are, little children. John 3:16 comes to mind, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life.”

That would be God’s love towards us, that would be the love of Jesus towards us, and our love towards one another. What else could it possibly be and what else could possibly exemplify it more than this? Nothing, absolutely nothing. And when I consider how some of us treat our brothers and sisters in the Lord, it makes me want to hang my head in shame. Love one another as I have loved you. Lord have mercy.

The last Scripture verses in this section are John 13:36-38 NASB which read as follows: “Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, where are You going?” Jesus answered, “Where I am going, you cannot follow Me now; but you will follow later.” Peter said to Him, “Lord, why can I not follow You right now? I will lay down my life for You.” Jesus replied, “Will you lay down your life for Me? Truly, truly I say to you, a rooster will not crow until you deny Me three times.”

Simon Peter. You gotta love him. This would be one of those things that Jesus tells them in advance. Another “proof” but one in which I know, Peter would have wished, he had done without. This is the same Peter that Jesus asked three times if he loved Him and three times Jesus said ‘feed my sheep”.

There is a great follow-up by gotquestions.org on this that you can view here.

More to follow.

Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!

4 comments

  1. Thanks for sharing from one of my favorite passages. I always thought that when someone knows he’s going to die soon, he isn’t going to waste precious time talking about unimportant things. So John 13-16 is something to be read and meditated on often.
    Recently our pastor preached on this passage, focusing on the contrast between Judas and Peter. After Judas left, John added the phrase, “and it was night.” For Judas, night was falling, and he was passing into the darkness. But for Peter, after the dark moment of his denial, the rooster crowed, and a new day was beginning. The difference was, Peter had always been devoted to Jesus – not perfect, but after his moment of weakness, he was crushed and repentant, and later Jesus reinstated him. Judas, on the other hand, was not devoted to Jesus, and his downfall showed that after 3 years with Him, he really never was.
    (My pastor did a better job of saying all this.)

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    • You did fine! I thought you would put an eye roll in there! It just makes one wonder what can go on inside someone’s head at times (what Judas decided) after witnessing all that he witnessed. Definitely a total contrast there. I can understand Judas not being able to live with himself. On another note, thank you for taking the time to comment Ann, I always enjoy hearing from you. You’ve become one of my old faithfuls! God’s grace, peace and blessings to you and yours. Love in Christ – Bruce

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  2. Grate work Bruce, thanks for your labor in His service! Son of Man glorified: He alone is worth; Simon Peter. You gotta love him: walked with Him, loved Him, denied Him then boldly proclaimed Him – Wow

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