18 I am not talking about all of you. I know the ones I have chosen. But what the Scriptures say must come true. And they say, “The man who ate with me has turned against me!” 19I am telling you this before it all happens. Then when it does happen, you will believe who I am. 20 I tell you for certain that anyone who welcomes my messengers also welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.
(Matthew 26.20-25; Mark 14.17-21; Luke 22.21-23)
21After Jesus had said these things, he was deeply troubled and told his disciples, “I tell you for certain that one of you will betray me.” 22They were confused about what he meant. And they just stared at each other.
23Jesus' favorite disciple was sitting next to him at the meal, 24and Simon motioned for this disciple to find out which one Jesus meant. 25So the disciple leaned toward Jesus and asked, “Lord, which one of us are you talking about?”
26Jesus answered, “I will dip this piece of bread in the sauce and give it to the one I was talking about.”
Then Jesus dipped the bread and gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. 27Right then Satan took control of Judas.
Jesus said, “Judas, go quickly and do what you have to do.” 28No one at the meal understood what Jesus meant. 29But because Judas was in charge of the money, some of them thought that Jesus had told him to buy something they needed for the festival. Others thought that Jesus had told him to give some money to the poor. 30Judas took the piece of bread and went out.
It was already night.
Unaware that this is Jesus’s last meal, the disciples celebrate Passover with him. In the privacy of the upper room, they listen eagerly as Jesus teaches the way to live. But, they are somber tonight. Jesus has frightened them lately with dark words of the end looming. Jesus is in danger from the crowds who have turned on him. And earlier tonight, he surprised the disciples by washing their feet. Tonight is different.
As he eats, Jesus is troubled. “One of you will betray me.”
Peter prods John to ask Jesus, “Who?”
Jesus says to John, “I will dip this piece of bread in the sauce and give it to the one I was talking about.” Jesus dips the bread and gives it to Judas. Judas realizes Jesus knows his intent. Judas is exposed and Satan rages into him, like blood boiling.
Jesus whispers to Judas, “Go quickly and do what you have to do.” Judas’s rage turns deadly cold. He slinks away, jaw clenched to betray. The other disciples don’t know what has happened.
Jesus knows what is in people’s hearts. Judas’s heart pounds with the black blood of murder. Consider this: all the while betrayal festers in Judas, Jesus loves him. Jesus calls Judas on the evil in his heart, but Judas does not repent. Like a horse that takes the bit in his teeth and runs away with the rider, the evil in his heart controls Judas.
Jesus knows your rebellion, your willful pride, and your evil plans. “What evil?” you say, “I’m a pretty good person.” Really? From the white lie and pilfered pencil to assault and murder, sin is sin. It separates you from God and betrays your fellowship with Jesus. It kills. Will you take the bit in your teeth and run with the sin in your heart? Or will you humble yourself and repent?
Stop. Think. Confess.
Jesus wipes the slate clean every time.
Lord, reveal my sins. Open my eyes to their danger. Help me to humble myself and repent, lest I lose you. Amen.