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JOHN - The Light Shines in the Darkness
A Bible Study Course on the Gospel of Christ according to John
PART 3 - Light Shines in the Circle of the Apostles (John 11:55 - 17:26)
B - Events That Follow the Lord's Supper (John 13:1-38)

2. The traitor exposed and disconcerted (John 13:18-32)

JOHN 13:21-22
21 When Jesus had said this, he was troubled in spirit, and testified, “Most certainly I tell you that one of you will betray me.” 22 The disciples looked at one another, perplexed about whom he spoke.

Jesus told his disciples about mutual love and service. He represented a model of humility and meekness before them and foretold that his sovereignty would shine forth amid weakness so that they might be aware that he is Lord, the doer and director of events, even in the hour of death. As part of this clarification, Jesus exposed Judas’ treachery and conceded him the commitment of his crime, in order that Judas might not act according to his private plot only but in line with the oversight of heaven.

Jesus disclosed to his disciples that one of them had decided to deliver him to the Council of Jewry. This announcement came as an eruption during a happy festival. Jesus did not announce this fact casually, but was himself troubled in Spirit as he had been at the grave of Lazarus. He was grieving especially at the thought that his Father would leave him. Jesus had loved Judas and chosen him; it seemed impossible that a chosen friend would betray the Son of God. Although the Bible refers to this in Psalm 41:9, "He who eats my bread has lifted his heel against me."

At that, the disciples scanned each his colleague thinking, "Is he the traitor?" They had misgivings about whether it was possible for any to intend betrayal. Each had in mind the thought of leaving Jesus as soon as his way would take a downward trend in scorn and rejection. They saw themselves exposed before him, were ashamed and were unable to face the divine test before the searching light of Jesus.

JOHN 13:23-30
23 One of his disciples, whom Jesus loved, was at the table, leaning against Jesus’ breast. 24 Simon Peter therefore beckoned to him, and said to him, “Tell us who it is of whom he speaks.” 25 He, leaning back, as he was, on Jesus’ breast, asked him, “Lord, who is it?” 26 Jesus therefore answered, “It is he to whom I will give this piece of bread when I have dipped it.” So when he had dipped the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. 27 After the piece of bread, then Satan entered into him. Then Jesus said to him, “What you do, do quickly.” 28 Now no man at the table knew why he said this to him. 29 For some thought, because Judas had the money box, that Jesus said to him, “Buy what things we need for the feast,” or that he should give something to the poor. 30 Therefore having received that morsel, he went out immediately. It was night.

In the midst of this turbulence resulting from betrayal about to take place, we read a fine testimony to loving kindness. John was resting at Jesus’ side. The evangelist does not once mention his own name in this gospel, but he prominently refers to his nearness to Jesus, a sign of love. He had no greater privilege than being loved by Jesus. In this respect he omits his own name, glorifying God’s Son.

Peter was too shy to ask Jesus directly about the traitor’s identity but was at the same time unable to hold his nerve. He gestured to John to find out who the traitor was. John bent towards Jesus and asked, "Who is it?"

Jesus answered this question quietly, not naming the traitor, but with a quiet gesture. Jesus did not wish to disclose the traitor’s name publicly at this stage. There was just the possibility that Judas might relent. Jesus broke bread of grace that united him with his disciples and dipped the morsel into the bowl and offered it to Judas. The purpose of this action was to strengthen a disciple to eternal life. But as Judas was intent on betrayal, the morsel had no effect, rather it hardened him. His heart was closed to grace, and Satan entered him. What a frightful picture! By his sovereign will Jesus hardened the hard-hearted. As Jesus was offering him the bread, Satan was toying with his thoughts. After he received the bread, evil descended on him. Jesus judgment on the betrayer deprived him of divine protection and delivered him to Satan.

Suddenly, Judas found himself exposed when taking the morsel. Then Jesus’ royal command struck him, "Do not delay to carry through your evil design, but do it at once for evil to finish its course and good may come out instead."

The disciples failed to grasp Jesus’ charge for Judas to hurry. Normally he would charge him to buy the food for the company. John never forgot that fearsome picture of Judas, passing from the light of Christ’s presence to outer darkness.

JOHN 13:31-32
31 When he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. 32 If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and he will glorify him immediately.

How is Jesus glorified by this act of treachery? How can good fruit come out of evil actions?

Jesus grieved – when his chosen disciple forsook him. He retained that look of love lest the betrayer return. But the latter hurried to the Jewish Council who armed the guards to arrest Jesus by night.

Christ resisted the diabolical temptation to become a political Messiah when he sent Judas to carry out the betrayal. He chose to die as the Lamb of God, to redeem mankind by meekness and weakness, announcing by his death that sacrificial love is the essence of his glory.

Jesus did not seek personal glory, but his Father’s glory in his death. His Father had sent him into the world to save the lost. The Son desired to renew the image of the Father in fallen mankind. For this renewal Jesus revealed the Father and nurtured them to faith in God’s fatherly goodness. Training alone is not enough, for sin has abounded to erect a barrier between God and his creatures. The Son had to die so that this barrier might be demolished that separates us from God, and the requirements of righteousness be met. Christ’s death is the key to the glorification of the Father’s name. Without that death, there can be no true knowledge of the Father, no legal adoption, nor true renewal.

When Christ denied himself, whereby his death would bring glory to the Father, he also announced that his Father would pour his glory on him, so he would become the spring of all glorious gifts. In the hours prior to his arrest and crucifixion, Jesus foresaw his own rising and ascension to the throne. Christ had to die to enter his glory.

All who deny the sufferings and death of Christ, or regard them as a sign of weakness, fail to realize God’s will crystallized in the cross, and the holiness of the Son, who burst open the grave. He showed his glory on the divine altar where he died in place of all, so that all who believe in him may be justified.

PRAYER: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we magnify you for your salvation, humility and suffering, your death and resurrection. We believe that we are redeemed by Christ’s blood. We give you glory in the Spirit’s power. You have saved us amidst the afflictions and dangers of life. The life you offer us is eternal. We believe that your Son will appear soon in glory. Amen.


  1. What are the meanings of glory that Jesus demonstrated when Judas left him?


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