Who are we?

In this blog, there will be a variety of material: thoughts on Bible books, book reviews, historical characters, aspects of Scottish church history and other things.

Monday, 24 December 2012

Identifying the Traitor (13:26-30)

In reply to John’s question, Jesus intimated that he would give a piece of bread to the traitor, Judas Iscariot. It is possible that the other disciples did not hear this message that Jesus gave to John, which would explain why the other disciples did not understand the significance of Jesus’ action (v. 28).

For three years, Judas was highly privileged and shared in great purposes. He was privileged in the sense that he heard gracious teaching from Jesus and observed him perform wonderful miracles. He participated in great purposes because he was involved in helping Jesus. For example, he took part in the feeding of the 5,000 and when he was sent out with another disciple on mini preaching tours he experienced powerful signs as he preached.

Since Jesus was able to hand over the piece of bread without moving his position, some scholars suggest that Judas was sitting on the other side of Jesus from John. He certainly was very near physically to Jesus. Yet spiritually he was as far away from Jesus as possible.

Nevertheless we can see that Jesus was in control of events. He instructed Judas not to delay in his designs, indeed he is to do it quickly. Judas leaves the room, and John graphically notes that it was night, literally time wise, but spiritually true for Judas. 

As we think of Judas and his three years spent in the presence of Jesus listening to his teaching, we can see that Judas ignored many a warning from Jesus. Repeatedly Jesus addresses his disciples about the possibility of false discipleship. Judas did not listen and paid the penalty. He is a warning to us what a deaf ear can bring. 

John, on the other hand, is an example of the riches of God’s grace. He was not only saved, he was satisfied; he was not only receiving instruction, he was rewarded with intimacy. He is a picture of the happy state that grace can give.

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