John 13:10-11 & 18, NIV
10 "You are clean, though not every one of you." 11 For he knew
who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every
one was clean. . . . 18 "I am not referring to all of you; I know
those I have chosen. But this is to fulfill the scripture: 'He who
shares my bread has lifted up his heel against me.'"

November 30, 2011
Now Jesus begins to separate the wheat from the chaff, the fox from
the chickens. All is not well among his small group of chosen disciples.
One will betray him.

Jesus spoke earlier in this chapter about Peter and the other disciples
only being clean if they allowed him to wash their feet. At that point in
the narrative, the betrayer was still acting the part of a faithful disciple.
He must have allowed Jesus to wash his feet, yet now we find out,
regardless of the foot washing, he was not clean. Appearances are
deceiving. Only Jesus knew the heart of Judas.

Once more, John referred to the scriptures contained in the old
covenant to explain, or at least to set a precedence for, what happened
that night. We are not to be alarmed as we read this. This is all part of
the plan.


                                           John 13:19-20, NIV
19 "I am telling you now before it happens, so that when it
does happen you will believe that I am He. 20 I tell you the
truth, whoever accepts anyone I send accepts me; and
whoever accepts me accepts the one who sent me."

December 1, 2011
Jesus is very concerned for his disciples. How will they ever endure
the events of the next 24 hours! Jesus had been telling them he was
going to die, that he was going to leave them for awhile, but it didn't
make any sense to them. They could not grasp it. What would
become of this little band of disciples?--it was a question they did
not want to face.

So Jesus told them ahead of time that one of their number will turn
against him. That one is not "clean" like the rest of you. When he
turns on me, then you will remember these words of mine, and it
will strengthen your faith in me. You need not be surprised.

And here's another word of comfort. I am sending you out into the
world and anyone who accepts you, accepts me also. Anyone who
believes in me and the words I speak, will accept you also.

When Judas betrays me, that will be a sign to you that my words are
true and you can believe in me without reservations, without any
doubts. It sounds so simple, but I wonder how far one "sign" will go?
And wouldn't it be helpful to have our beliefs confirmed once in a while!

Actually I do see signs of God's love for me. In the sunrises and the
sunsets, the birds, the stars at night, listening to beautiful music, in
the kindness of those around me. In the common, ordinary things that
are extraordinary when I take time to pay attention to them. Who should
I thank for the beauties around me which are mostly taken for granted?
Like the Psalmist, when I consider the work of God's hand, and the
amazing talents of those who persevere in developing them, how
can I not sing a hallelujah chorus.


                                             John 13:21-25, NIV
21 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."
22 His disciples stared at one another, at a loss to know which
of them he meant.

23 One of them, the disciple whom Jesus loved, was reclining
next to him. 24 Simon Peter motioned to this disciple and said,
"Ask him which one he means." 25 Leaning back against Jesus,
he asked him, "Lord, who is it?"

December 2, 2011
Jesus was deeply troubled and the disciples sat and stared at each
other. They didn't know how to comfort him. Their roles are really
reversed this night. Jesus washed their feet when they should have
washed his. Usually Jesus was the one who strengthened the disciples,
and now it is Jesus who needs their comfort.

One of their own number was about to betray Jesus into the hands of
the enemy. They didn't know which one. This is serious. It could have
been any one of them. The suspense was too great, so Peter took
charge. He told the disciple closest to Jesus to lean into him and ask
which one of them he is referring to.

"Deeply troubled" is lonely. Often no one can be of any help. It is
something a person must face alone. Jesus is becoming a solitary
person. Surrounded by people and much activity, leading into his death,
Jesus is walking alone with only the comfort of his Father in heaven.
And even that comfort comes into question when from the cross
Jesus cries out, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"


                                            John 13:26-30, NIV
26 Jesus answered, "It is the one to whom I will give this piece
of bread when I have dipped it in the dish." Then, dipping the
piece of bread, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, son of Simon. 27 As
soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him.

December 3, 2011
If you're feeling sorry for Judas, you're not alone. I often wonder why
there must be a Judas figure? Why did there need to be a betrayer?
Judging from all the excitement surrounding Jesus and whether he
would be in Jerusalem for the Passover feast this year, why would
his arrest require that Judas point out which man was Jesus?

But no one asked me to write the story, so my opinion doesn't count
for anything. Jesus showed the others which of them it would be. He
would dip a piece of bread into the common dish before him on the
table, and hand the piece to the one who would betray him. I can
imagine the room being filled with dread. Hurry up; no, slow things
down. It's interesting that although the gospel writer paints Judas as
an evil person throughout the narrative, none of the disciples could
guess who the betrayer would be on this the night before Jesus
was condemned to die.

Jesus gave the bread to Judas. And Satan took over from there. I don't
understand that last comment. I don't believe we can blame every bad
thing we do on the devil. Maybe it's just another example of the gospel
writer explaining what will happen next. If Satan didn't enter into Judas
until this very moment, then blaming Judas really is not fair because
from now on the devil was at the controls and made him do it.

Regarding good and evil, God and Satan. I believe we decide who we
want to side with. Our desire can be for God to work in and through us
for good. Or we can decide we want to lie, cheat, disregard the rights
of others, etc.--which leads ultimately to evil prevailing over good. It
starts with the desires of our heart. God draws us toward himself;
Satan pulls us any way but.

I suppose what I am saying is that I believe Satan operates from the
outside, not the inside. Although when I think of some of the really evil
characters throughout history, maybe Satan does eventually get inside
and take control. How else would one person be responsible for
thousands, even millions, of innocent people being put to death. How
else could any one person or a group of people be responsible for the
abuse of an innocent little child. How else can there be lynchings,
brutal rapes, child soldiers and ethic cleansing? Who is to blame when
there is no hope and people act out their rage? I do not have an answer
for any of these questions.


                                          John 13:26-30, NIV
"What you are about to do, do quickly," Jesus told him, 28 but no
one at the meal understood why Jesus said this to him. 29 Since
Judas had charge of the money, some thought Jesus was telling
him to buy what was needed for the Feast, or to give something
to the poor. 30 As soon as Judas had taken the bread, he went
out. And it was night.

December 4, 2011
It sounds like Judas was the only one who was not surprised at the
revelation. Throughout this whole conversation, Judas knew Jesus was
talking about him. The other eleven disciples were surprised. Like us,
when we hear breaking news, it takes awhile for the story to become
clear, and for us to adjust our thinking about what is being reported.

Now that we see where this story is going, it's easy to think that maybe
Judas has been embezzling money from the little treasury of funds the
disciples had. It's tempting, when no one is looking, to do things we
wouldn't want to be seen doing.

Jesus told Judas, actually gave him permission, to act quickly. But
none of the other disciples had figured it out yet what Judas was about
to do. They associated him with the money bag, and thought it must be
something pertaining to their common funds. The choices John listed
were to buy something needed for the holiday celebration, or giving to
the poor. Reminds me of Thanksgiving day in the USA, or Christmas
time when shoppers pass by the bell ringers from the Salvation Army.

Judas knew differently. He took the bread from the hand of Jesus, and
went out into the night. He left the Light of the World and chose to walk
into the murky world of darkness. Probably thought he could handle it.

Or maybe Judas was deeply troubled too. And feeling very much
alone with his apprehensions.

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