Treason is a serious crime with harsh penalties. The United States legal code states, “Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason and shall suffer death, or shall be imprisoned…” To those of us who are innocent, these penalties seem reasonable because a traitor’s actions can lead to the death of many others.
In our daily lives, we consider a traitor one who betrays trust and confidence, deceives, and leads us astray. But we are inconsistent about the level of deceit we are willing to accept (think white lies).
- How have you responded when someone betrayed you?
- When did you last betray someone else?
READ THE WORD: JOHN 13:12-30 (ESV)
12 When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? 13 You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. 14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. 16 Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them. 18 I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen. But the Scripture will be fulfilled, ‘He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.’ 19 I am telling you this now, before it takes place, that when it does take place you may believe that I am he. 20 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever receives the one I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.”
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.
English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
(Today’s questions focus on verses 21-30. Verses 12-20 were covered previously.)
- Reread verses 20-21, replacing “receives” with “rejects” in verse 20. Why would these things have troubled Jesus?
- After predicting that one of them would betray him, why did Jesus not reveal the traitor’s name to the group of gathered disciples? What does this tell us about Jesus?
- According to verse 27 (and John 13:2), who was behind Judas’ actions?
- What is the significance of John’s notation in verse 30 that it was night when Judas departed?
- In what ways have you betrayed Jesus?
RESPOND TO GOD
Jesus knew that Judas’ impending actions would rapidly set into motion his own death. At this critical moment, Jesus “stopped the clock” and showed Judas his love for him. To the other disciples, Jesus’ prediction prompted them to wonder who would betray him. But to Judas, Jesus’ words were an invitation to turn aside from Satan’s lies.
Throughout his book, John contrasted the results of living in the light to living in darkness so it is no coincidence that Judas departed from Jesus into the darkness full of frustration, greed, and lies from which he never returned. Jesus extends the same invitation to you that he extended to Judas. Have you accepted his invitation or are you still walking in the dark?
- Thank Jesus for the ways he has shown you his love and invited you back into his fellowship.