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  • Bob Burk

Lent Day 43

Scripture: John 13:21-32

A poignant, passionate story of being found out in betrayal.

21 After he had said this, Jesus was troubled in spirit and testified, “Very truly I tell you, 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?”

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, the son of Simon Iscariot. 27 As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him.

So Jesus told him, “What you are about to do, do quickly.” 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 festival, or to give something to the poor. 30 As soon as Judas had taken the bread, he went out. And it was night.

Jesus Predicts Peter’s Denial

31 When he was gone, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man is glorified and God is glorified in him. 32 If God is glorified in him,[a] God will glorify the Son in himself, and will glorify him at once.

Today's Meditation: 

The text tells us that Jesus, as He sat there among them, was troubled. Surely so. This was Thursday, in the time we Christians call Holy Week. Dramatic events were happening each day, and the future loomed fearful.  Then Jesus adds to that already-tension-filled time by making the statement that one of those present would betray Him.

Imagine yourself as one among those at that table, in that room. What would you be thinking?  Where would you be looking? Would you immediately deny that it’s you, or would you wait to see whom Jesus would name? Each one present could surely think of at least one thing they said or did, or did not say or do, in the almost three years they’ve been together that might constitute betrayal. Consider the wild range of emotions that would have seized them. Any rational, thinking, loving person would do some self-examination, however momentary. 

Jesus, of course, knows all hearts, all motives. He dips a piece of bread into the dish, hands it to Judas, and says to him, ‘Do quickly what you are going to do.’ Still, the others do not understand, attributing Jesus’ words to a directive for Judas to do something with their common purse, because Judas served as treasurer. 

Judas receives the piece of bread, which is now nothing less than the body of Christ, as Jesus had given new meaning to this meal. Then Judas left “and it was night.”  Yes, it was night, in all respects. All hearts, all motives would be laid bare. Because someone else’s sin appears worse does not excuse our own. Within 24 hours Jesus would die to save us all.


Precious Lord, I am left speechless when I consider the events of the last week of Your earthly life. I know that I cannot escape the self-deceptions and failures that characterize all humanity. Help me turn that realization into awe and gratitude for Who You are and what You have done for me. Amen.

Michelle Prentice-Leslie


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