5 April • Wednesday of Holy Week
21 After saying these things, Jesus was troubled in his spirit, and testified, “Truly, truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” 22 The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he spoke. 23 One of his disciples, whom Jesus loved, was reclining at table at Jesus' side, 24 so Simon Peter motioned to him to ask Jesus of whom he was speaking. 25 So that disciple, leaning back against Jesus, said to him, “Lord, who is it?” 26 Jesus answered, “It is he to whom I will give this morsel of bread when I have dipped it.” So when he had dipped the morsel, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. 27 Then after he had taken the morsel, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, “What you are going to do, do quickly.” 28 Now no one at the table knew why he said this to him. 29 Some thought that, because Judas had the moneybag, Jesus was telling him, “Buy what we need for the feast,” or that he should give something to the poor. 30 So, after receiving the morsel of bread, he immediately went out. And it was night.
31 When he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him. 32 If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and glorify him at once.”
What a tragic moment. Offered a morsel of bread (perhaps a last redeeming offer of grace from Jesus, as some commentators suggest, for Judas to reject the path of betrayal he had trod down), Judas accepted it while sin continued in his heart, and allowed Satan to enter him. Leaving the presence of Jesus and the disciples immediately thereafter, John adds starkly that it was night, heightening the sense of darkness. Judas had followed Jesus for three years, witnessed His miracles, heard His teachings, experienced His love as Jesus washed his feet and yet chose to betray Jesus.
None of us are immune to betraying Jesus (in whatever form that might take), for we remember Peter, the other disciple mentioned in today’s passage, with all his bravado later that evening declaring that he will never forsake Jesus. But he would ultimately also reject Jesus three times that very night.
In His grace, Jesus offers us morsels of moments when we too are confronted with the sin cherished in our hearts. What do we do in these dark moments? Do we forsake sin and embrace light, or do we betray Jesus and allow darkness to reign?
Let us pray using the words in the first stanza of Charles Wesley’s hymn, “I want a Principle Within”.
I want a principle within
of watchful, godly fear,
a sensibility of sin,
a pain to feel it near.
I want the first approach to feel of pride or wrong desire,
to catch the wandering of my will, and quench the kindling fire.
In the loving and redeeming name of Jesus, amen.
Today, in the quiet moments of our heart, let us consider how we might have cherished sin and betrayed Jesus in our lives. Let us repent and return to Christ.
Rev Benjamin Lee
Toa Payoh Methodist Church