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Jesus and the disciples, including Judas, were sharing what was known as, "table fellowship,' an intimate bond among partaker's; which made Judas' betrayal particularly perverse.
The reference to the betrayal in this study is more specific than the earlier hints, when He said, one of you is going to betray me. The effect on the disciples was also more dramatic.
Verse 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."
Slaves received authority from their masters and were more prominent than some free peasants. However, they were always subordinate to, and never more distinguished than their masters.
Verse 17: "If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them."
Knowing, yet not doing, finds no approval anywhere in the teaching of Jesus.
Verse 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."
The scripture Jesus quoted is Psalm 41:9, a psalm of a righteous sufferer.
John shows that the betrayal did not catch Jesus by surprise. It was also in prophecy: "He who shares my bread has lifted up his heel against me" (Psa 41:9).
Verse 19: "I am telling you this now, before it takes place, that when it does take place you may believe that I am he."
Since the betrayal itself does not begin until the events in verse 27, this psalm given by Jesus is prophetic. The fact that Jesus had foreknowledge of the event is emphasized and offered as evidence of His divinity.
The use of the, "I AM" in verse 19, is another allusion to the great name of God, in EX 3:14.
After the disciples had witnessed the death and resurrection of Christ, and a short while later saw Him return to heaven, they understood that He was the great, "I AM."
Verse 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."
After He used this divine name in reference to Himself, He returned to the theme of His mission.
Ancient cultures were taught to respond to agents, ambassadors, and representatives, according to the feelings of the person who authorized them. To accept the messenger, was to accept the sender.
The one who represents Christ will meet with the same response Jesus met as an agent of the Father.
Verse 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."
Here, the strain of the betrayal is coming to the forefront. These strong expressions by Jesus reflect the mounting tension of the approach of the Passover and crucifixion.
"Jesus was troubled in His spirit:" Greek philosophers
emphasized the importance of always remaining tranquil and untroubled in spirit. The Gospel of John stresses Jesus' deity, and His humanity, (John 1:140).
There are also many places in the Old Testament where God's passionate feelings surface. (Judg 10:16, Isaiah 63:9-10, and more.
Verse 22-24: "The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he spoke. One of his disciples, whom Jesus loved, was reclining at a table close to Jesus, so Simon Peter motioned to him to ask Jesus of whom he was speaking."
Men would recline on the couches, but women would not dine in the same room, unless with their own families.
Each person would recline slightly behind the person to his right; thus, John could lean his head back, and be even with Jesus' chest. This beloved disciple at the right hand of Jesus, had one of the most honored positions at the feast.
Some commentators think Judas may have been on Jesus' left, the second most honored position.
The Apostle John's vivid account could have only come from an eyewitness. It is generally accepted that John is the one described here, as "the one whom Jesus loved."
Simon Peter motioned for John to ask Jesus which of them would betray Him.
Verse 25: "So that disciple, leaning back against Jesus, said to him, "Lord, who is it?" 26Jesus 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."
The dipping of the piece of bread and the offering of it to Judas was a gesture of honor, which many regarded as a final appeal to Judas, the Betrayer.
Verse 27: "Then after he had taken the morsel, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, "What you are going to do, do quickly."
Anyone who could act like Judas must surely have been under the influence of Satan.
Verse 28: "Now no one at the table knew why he said this to him. 29Some 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. 30So, after receiving the morsel of bread, he immediately went out. And it was night."
Once again, the disciples failed to understand. They thought that since Judas was the treasurer, he had gone to buy food, or to give money to the poor.
Some also thought that doing charitable work before Passover would secure God's favor.
It would not have been customary to go outside on Passover night (Ex 12:22), but in John's narrations, Passover apparently began the following day.
The rest of this chapter is the prelude to the "Farewell Discourses," in Chapters 14 - 16.
Verse 31: "When he had gone out, Jesus said, "Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him. 32If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and glorify him at once."
Now that Judas had gone to set up his betrayal of Jesus, God's plan of salvation for the entire world had been set in motion. The following scriptures reveal the extraordinary way Jesus faced the cross.
Jesus began to speak of His coming glorification:
Verse 33: "Little children, yet a little while I am with you. You will seek me, and just as I said to the Jews, so now I also say to you, 'Where I am going you cannot come."
Teachers sometimes called their disciples, "children," and disciples called teachers, "my father."
Verse 34: "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."
The Law already required the highest devotion to God, but here, Jesus commands the disciples to love one another.
His new commandment set a new standard: "As I have loved you," (Jesus loved them, and the rest of the world, to the point of laying down His life).
We sometimes offer external manifestations of Christ in our lives as proof of our faith; but Christ directs us to something that cannot be duplicated without His power, which is to love the way He loved, (unconditionally)!
When God’s love is made perfect in us, we receive a love that goes beyond the desire to be loved back. In fact, Christ loved Judas, even though He was aware that he was His betrayer.
Jesus went to the cross so that we could be cleansed of guilt, shame, and wrath. This love is not normal in a world that places itself first. Because of His love, Jesus allowed Himself to be sacrificed.
Jesus Christ has purged us from all sin. We are now free to serve and love Him, and to love one another! It is this sacrificial love that will bring forth the joy and peace that passes understanding!
This new commandment presses beyond our natural human inclinations and is only possible by the empowerment of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus Foretells Peter’s Denial
Verse 36: "Simon Peter said to him, Lord, where are you going? Jesus answered him, "Where I am going you cannot follow me now, but you will follow afterward."
Peter asked, “Where are you going. “ Jesus would soon be returning to His home in Heaven, and choosing not to explain, said, let this be enough for now, "You will follow afterward."
Verse 37-38: "Peter said to him, Lord, why can I not follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.
Peter asks why he should be required to wait until later; then makes the bold statement that he would give his life for Jesus.
However, as we learned earlier in this study, Jesus knows the heart of all men, (John 2:24-25).
Jesus knew that Peter would someday follow Him and even suffer crucifixion in martyrdom, but he was not yet ready. That would come after Jesus’ death and resurrection when the power of the Holy Spirit had been granted.
Jesus realized that Peter did not fully understand His mission; nor of the demands and consequences of his commitment to follow.
38"Jesus answered, "Will you lay down your life for me? Truly, truly, I say to you, the rooster will not crow till you have denied me three times."
In an apparent challenge, or what some think was a reprimand, Jesus said, “Will you indeed lay down your life for me?”
Jesus knew that before the cock could crow three times that morning Peter would abandon, disown, and even be ashamed to acknowledge that he had ever known Him.
This concludes our study of
"One of You will Betray Me"
Our Next Study Is:
"I am the Way the Truth and the Life" (John 14:1-31)