Sapphire Sky

July 30, 2015

It Was Night

Filed under: encouragement, theology — Tags: , — Steve Knaus @ 10:22 pm

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It is an awesome responsibility to teach or to lead another person. Whether you are in the role of a parent, a teacher, or a mentor, it is a great privilege to teach another.

But what do we do when things go wrong? What do we do when a student turns away from what they have learned? When they reject the teacher? We can blame ourselves, but we cannot change another person’s decisions.

You could be a perfect teacher, and yet some would still turn away. The best teacher who ever walked on the earth had a student walk away from him.

That student did more than turn away from him. He turned him in to the authorities to be arrested, tortured, and then executed.

Jesus had intensely taught his disciples for three and a half years. They all saw him teach, work miracles, and raise the dead. Each of them were able to teach and do miracles themselves. Eleven of them would follow Jesus to their own death, yet one refused to believe.

Jesus was at the final Passover dinner with his disciples when he became greatly disturbed. To the shock and amazement of everyone in the room, Jesus announced, “One of you will betray me!”

The traitor had hidden himself so well that no one suspected him. Instead, they were all asking, “It’s not me, is it?” They suspected themselves more than they suspected the betrayer.

No one suspected Judas. He was the cultured and educated one. They trusted him with all of their money. He cared for the poor.

But the devil had already put it into Judas’ heart to betray Jesus (see here). Judas was already convinced that he no longer wanted any part of Jesus. Unknown to any of the other disciples, Judas had already secretly made plans with the chief priests to arrest him (see here).

You may already be familiar with Judas, but the surprising part of this section is how Jesus treats him. Jesus knew that Judas has rejected him and that he was about to betray him, yet how does Jesus act?

He washes his feet. He gives him the place of honor at the table. He passes the food to him, giving him the best piece of food (a gesture of friendship).

This was intensely upsetting for Jesus. He felt the agony of being betrayed by a close friend (see here). Yet even at the last minute, he showed nothing but love and friendship to Judas. He took every opportunity to try and rescue Judas.

But it is too late for Judas. After the last gesture of friendship, Satan took full control of Judas. Jesus told him to go and do it quickly. Judas knew that his game is up and he quickly leaves.

John’s final summary is as much poetic as it is factual: “It was night”.

It was night for Jesus. He would face the agony of separation from the Father as he takes the guilt of the whole world.

It was night for the disciples. They are on the darkest night of their lives. Before daylight, their master would be arrested, tortured, and headed for a Roman cross. They will all be scattered in terror.

But most of all, it was night for Judas. Jesus would rise again. The disciples would be brought back together. But for Judas, there would never again be light.

Jesus is very clear. He will be arrested and killed according to God’s plan, but Judas was no machine. Judas rejected and betrayed Jesus out of his own free will. Both Matthew and Mark quote Jesus’ statements about Judas, “It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.”

 

Remember!

  • Jesus knew about Judas, but never stopped trying to rescue him. Don’t stop trying to rescue those who do not believe.
  • Jesus never pulled back his friendship from Judas, even when he knew that Judas would betray him! Don’t pull back from friendships because of how they might fail you — they will! Only God will not fail you.
  • You are in God’s care, even the darkest times! Rely on God when it is night.

 

Previous post: Dirty Feet


John 13:21-30
After saying these things, Jesus was troubled in his spirit, and testified, “Truly, truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he spoke. One of his disciples, whom Jesus loved, was reclining at table at Jesus’ side, so Simon Peter motioned to him to ask Jesus of whom he was speaking. So that disciple, leaning back against Jesus, said to him, “Lord, who is it?” 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. Then after he had taken the morsel, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, “What you are going to do, do quickly.” Now no one at the table knew why he said this to him. 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. So, after receiving the morsel of bread, he immediately went out. And it was night.


Matthew 26:21-25
And as they were eating, he said, “Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” And they were very sorrowful and began to say to him one after another, “Is it I, Lord?” He answered, “He who has dipped his hand in the dish with me will betray me. The Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.” Judas, who would betray him, answered, “Is it I, Rabbi?” He said to him, “You have said so.”


Mark 14:18-21
And as they were reclining at table and eating, Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me, one who is eating with me.” They began to be sorrowful and to say to him one after another, “Is it I?” He said to them, “It is one of the twelve, one who is dipping bread into the dish with me. For the Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.”


Luke 22:21-23
But behold, the hand of him who betrays me is with me on the table. For the Son of Man goes as it has been determined, but woe to that man by whom he is betrayed!” And they began to question one another, which of them it could be who was going to do this.


 

John 13:21-22
After saying these things, Jesus was troubled in his spirit, and testified, “Truly, truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he spoke.

Matthew 26:21-22
And as they were eating, he said, “Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” And they were very sorrowful and began to say to him one after another, “Is it I, Lord?”

Mark 14:18-19
And as they were reclining at table and eating, Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me, one who is eating with me.” They began to be sorrowful and to say to him one after another, “Is it I?”

Luke 22:21,23
But behold, the hand of him who betrays me is with me on the table.And they began to question one another, which of them it could be who was going to do this.

This scene closely follows the previous section. During the course of the Passover supper, Jesus had stopped and washed the feet of each of his disciples. He then explained that they should also serve in this way (see here). He also concluded his lesson with the statements, “not every one of you are clean” (John 13:10-11) and, “But the Scripture will be fulfilled, ‘He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me’” (John 13:18). As he was serving them, he knew that one of them would betray him.

Jesus knew this, yet he was still greatly troubled by this thought. He then clearly announced to the men, “One of you will betray me”.

The twelve disciples were taken aback with sorrow and grief, asking, “Is it I?” Their reaction can be better translated as, “It is not I, is it?” (expecting a negative answer).

Not one of the disciples suspected the betrayer. The betrayer had hidden so well that each disciple would rather suspect himself than another one of their group.

Note that Jesus had known for at least a year Judas would betray him (John 6:70-71).

“We can now better understand their heavy sleep in Gethsemane, their forsaking Him and fleeing, even Peter’s denial. Everything must have seemed to these men to give way; all to be enveloped in outer darkness, when each man could ask whether he was to be the Betrayer.” – Alfred Edersheim [2]

 

Matthew 26:23-24
He answered, “He who has dipped his hand in the dish with me will betray me. The Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.”

Mark 14:20-21
He said to them, “It is one of the twelve, one who is dipping bread into the dish with me. For the Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.”

Luke 22:22
For the Son of Man goes as it has been determined, but woe to that man by whom he is betrayed!”

“He who has dipped his hand in the dish with me” – This does not identify the traitor, but only shows the closeness of the betrayal. They would have all eaten from the same common dish. [3]

This betrayal and arrest were part of God’s plan, but that does not absolve the betrayer. He followed his own will into sin and will be judged for his own actions.

 

John 13:23-26
One of his disciples, whom Jesus loved, was reclining at table at Jesus’ side, so Simon Peter motioned to him to ask Jesus of whom he was speaking. So that disciple, leaning back against Jesus, said to him, “Lord, who is it?” 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.

Matthew 26:25
Judas, who would betray him, answered, “Is it I, Rabbi?” He said to him, “You have said so.”

Matthew and John’s accounts clearly identify the betrayer. Judas was one of the most trusted men of the company. The other disciples respected Judas to the point that they chose him as treasurer (John 12:6). The other eleven were from Galilee, while Judas was the only Judean in the group [1]. Therefore, while the other eleven were considered uneducated and rural, Judas would be the educated and cultured one.

“So the impression that Judas made on the disciples in those early days, at least, was that of a man of absolute reliability. We may almost say, in fact, Judas was the real gentleman of all the Twelve. Most of them were hard-working men. They came from the region about the Sea of Galilee where the poorer class of people dwelt. But Judas came from Judea from a town called Kerioth, and he was perhaps the most distinguished man of the entire apostolic company.” – H.A. Ironside [4]

Whatever had caused Judas to reject the Lord Jesus was hardened by this time. He had already worked out the arrangement with the Jewish leaders to betray him, and was waiting for the opportune time to get the Roman soldiers so that they could arrest Jesus.

But Jesus knew all of Judas’ plans. He plainly told Judas that he knew, yet he still extended every possible courtesy to Judas. He had already washed Judas’ feet with the other disciples. When the disciples fought for the best positions at the table, Jesus gave the top position, at the master’s left hand, to Judas. Jesus shared the choicest morsel with Judas, as a gesture of honor and friendship.

This was the final attempt to rescue Judas. Jesus was giving Judas every chance to repent and come to him but it was too late. Judas had already steeled himself.

The Apostle John never gives his own name in his gospel account. He preferred to give himself the title of what he valued the most, that Jesus loved him. Therefore, he called himself, “The disciple whom Jesus loved” (see John 21:20-25).

In John’s effort to be close to the Lord Jesus, he was reclining at the table on Jesus’ right [5]. Peter, on the other side of the table, asked John to find out the identify of the betrayer. John leaned back on Jesus and whispers his question.

Jesus responded by telling John that the betrayer is the one to whom he would give the “morsel”. The men all ate from a common dinner bowl, prepared like a meat stew, from which they would dip bread. It was a common gesture of friendship to give an especially good piece to the one sitting next to you. It was so common that John himself did not recognize the signal when Jesus gave the piece of the bread to Judas. [6] [7]

“The very sop which He would so soon hand to him, although a sign of recognition to John, was a last appeal to all that was human in Judas.” – Alfred Edersheim [2]

Judas kept up the act with the other disciples, asking, “It is I?”. But unlike the other disciples, Jesus directly (and privately) answered Judas, “Yes”.  The game is up, and Judas now knew that Jesus is on to him. As we see below, Judas quickly excuse himself and left.

It is important to note that none of the other disciples heard Jesus’ conversations with Judas and with John. Not one of them suspected Judas when he abruptly left the room (John 13:28-29).

 

John 13:27-30a
Then after he had taken the morsel, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, “What you are going to do, do quickly.” Now no one at the table knew why he said this to him. 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. So, after receiving the morsel of bread, he immediately went out.

Satan had already given Judas the idea to betray him (John 13:2), but now he took full control of him. There was no turning back for Judas. From this hour Satan was in full control.

No one knew why Judas left, but Jesus told him to go quickly, and Judas abruptly left.

“So the Lord Jesus turned to him and said solemnly, ‘[What] thou doest, do quickly’ (v. 27b). As much as to say, ‘Judas, you have sold yourself to the Devil. You have despised every opportunity of mercy. You have trampled on My love and grace. You have hardened your heart against the goodness of God. Now, Judas, make an end of it. What thou doest, do quickly.’” – H. A. Ironside [4]

 

John 13:30b
And it was night.

It was night — both literally and figuratively. The hour was late, but the time of darkness had come.

Judas had left. There was no preparing for tomorrow’s feast. There was no giving to the poor. There was only darkness and death. For Judas, there would never again be light.

 


 

[1] Judas is often mentioned in the gospels with his title or surname, “Judas Iscariot”. This distinguished him from the other apostle who was also named Judas (see John 14:22; the other Judas was called “Thaddeus” in Matthew and Mark). Most Bible commentators and language scholars agree that the name “Iscariot” is from Hebrew, meaning “From Kerioth”. Kerioth was a town in Judea, most likely the Kerioth-Hezron mentioned in Joshua 15:25.

Judas and his father had the same surname, which further indicates that it must refer to his hometown. Both John 6:71 and John 13:26 refer to Judas as the “son of Simon Iscariot”.

Some have argued that the name “Iscariot” was a derivation of “Sicarii”. The Sicarii were a violent group of Jewish Zealots that sought to expel Rome by murdering Romans or Roman sympathizers. These are the same people that are translated as “assassins” in Acts 21:38. However, it is difficult to connect Judas with the Sicarii because of the following reasons:

  • The Sicarii were prominent during the Jewish Wars (c. 50 A.D.), but that was 20 years later. This would be consistent with the timeline of Paul’s ministry in Acts, but not with the life of Jesus Christ. Josephus identified the Sicarii as a group that started during the times of Felix and Festus (52-62 A.D.).
  • Judas was the son of Simon Iscariot, so they both had the same title (see above). Therefore, if Judas was a Sicarii, then his father also needed to be a Sicarii. While this is possible, it would force the definition to be a “family business” of violence, and would also require that they had been part of the Sicarii for a generation.
  • It is much more difficult to connect the word for “Iscariot” to “Sicarii” than to “Kerioth”. The words in Hebrew are much more different and you would need to assume that Judas had a Latin title in order to make it sound like “Sicarii”.

Sources: “Zealots and Sicarii”; Iscariot Meaning; International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

 

[2] Alfred Edersheim, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, Book V, CHAPTER X. THE PASCHAL SUPPER – THE INSTITUTION OF THE LORD’S SUPPER.

 

[3] Pfeiffer & Harrison, The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, Matthew 26:21-25, page 978

 

[4] H.A. Ironside, Address 43, THE TRAITOR EXPOSED, John 13:18-30

 

[5] Chairs were not used for dining in this culture. Instead, the people would recline on cushions around a long, low table. They would lean on their left arm and eat with their right hand. John would have been on Jesus’ right side so that he could lean back on him to ask a private question. Judas would have been directly on Jesus’ left (the most coveted seat), where Jesus could give him the morsel and could quietly answer Judas’ question without the others hearing.

“But the chief place next to the Master would be that to His left, or above Him. In the strife of the disciples, which should be accounted the greatest, this had been claimed, and we believe it to have been actually occupied, by Judas. This explains how, Christ whispered to John by what sign to recognise the traitor, none of the other disciples heard it. It also explains, how Christ would first hand to Judas the sop, which formed part of the Paschal ritual, beginning with him as the chief guest at the table, without thereby exciting special notice. Lastly, it accounts for the circumstance that, when Judas, desirous of ascertaining whether his treachery was known, dared to ask whether it was he, and received the affirmative answer, no one at table knew what had passed.” – Alfred Edersheim [2]

 

[6] Doug Bookman, Behold The Lamb, Audio Series, Part 5. http://www.bookmanministries.com/

 

[7] There are several explanations for what exactly is the “morsel” in John 13:26. The ESV translates this word as “morsel of bread”; the NASB translates it as “morsel”; and the KJV translates it as “sop”. It appears to be as simple as bread which was dipped into a meat stew, but other commentators have much more elaborate explanations for what actually constituted the “morsel”. Regardless of the actual composition of the morsel, the point of John 13:26 is that it was passed to an honored friend at the table, which Jesus did for Judas.

 

6 Comments »

  1. […] Previous post: It Was Night. […]

    Pingback by I Am Returning to the Father | Sapphire Sky — August 6, 2015 @ 11:17 pm

  2. […] Jesus prays for our preservation. Not one of them has been lost except for Judas. It is not that Jesus lost Judas, Judas never belonged to him. Even Judas’ rebellion was part of God’s plan (see here). […]

    Pingback by The Lord’s Prayer | Sapphire Sky — October 1, 2015 @ 11:19 pm

  3. […] had left Jesus in the upper room, on the western hill of Jerusalem (John 13). From there, he would have gone to meet with the chief priests and to gather the soldiers for […]

    Pingback by The Kiss | Sapphire Sky — October 15, 2015 @ 10:57 pm

  4. […] during this time. The apostle John (who called himself “the disciple whom Jesus loved”, see here), and four women: Mary the mother of Jesus, Mary’ sister (Salome, Mark 15:40), Mary the wife of […]

    Pingback by The First Three Hours | Sapphire Sky — November 29, 2015 @ 8:59 pm

  5. […] John’s account highlights specific individuals. Mary Magdalene was the most visible of the group of women, and she specifically sought out Peter and John (referenced here as the other disciple whom Jesus loved, see here). […]

    Pingback by He is Risen! | Sapphire Sky — January 2, 2016 @ 1:01 am

  6. […] Jesus announces that Judas will betray Him (Matthew 26:21-35; Mark 14:18-31; Luke 22:7-39; John 13:21-30) […]

    Pingback by Events of the Passion Week | Sapphire Sky — March 26, 2016 @ 1:49 am


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