Lesson 81


The Gospel of John

World English Bible translation

 Today's Scripture

13:21 When Jesus had said this, he was troubled in the spirit, and testified, "Most assuredly I tell you that one of you will betray me."

13:22 The disciples looked at one another, perplexed about whom he spoke. 13:23 One of his disciples, whom Jesus loved, was at the table, leaning against Jesus' breast. 13:24 Simon Peter therefore beckoned to him, and said to him, "Tell us who it is of whom he speaks."

13:25 He, leaning back, as he was, on Jesus' breast, asked him, "Lord, who is it?"

13:26 Jesus therefore answered, "It is he who I will give this morsel to when I have dipped it." So when he had dipped the morsel, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. 13:27 After the morsel, then Satan entered into him.

Jesus therefore said to him, "What you do, do quickly."

13:28 Now no man at the table knew why he said this to him. 13:29 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. 13:30 Therefore, having received that morsel, he went out immediately. It was night.


 Today's Lesson 

Today's Scripture deals primarily with how Jesus deals and responds to Judas Iscariot. He begins this section by expressing clearly what He had been hinting at until now. "Most assuredly I tell you that one of you will betray me." None of the disciples except the betrayer knew whom He was speaking about. Simon Peter asks one of the disciples who was reclining close to Jesus, close enough to lean against Him. This disciple is only identified as "(the one) whom Jesus loved."

 

There are several theories about the identity of this disciple. There are two strong possibilities. The strongest possibility is that this disciple is the Apostle John, the brother of James. Tradition assigns the authorship of this gospel to John and it is reasoned that John did not use his own name for various reason but refers to himself as "The Disciple Whom Jesus Loved." Another strong possibility is that this disciple is Lazarus. Lazarus is spoken of in several places as one whom Jesus loved as well. The drawback to this theory is that Lazarus is not otherwise accounted as a disciple.

 

The unnamed disciple asks Jesus who the betrayer was to be. Jesus, in effect, points Judas out by saying that the betrayer would be the one who Jesus would give a choice morsel to. The text says that after Judas had taken the morsel, "Satan entered into him." We are not told exactly what is meant by "Satan entered into him." My understanding of it would be that it was at this point that Judas completely surrendered himself to betraying Jesus. He allowed himself to be influenced in this decision by evil spiritual forces that were allied against Christ, namely the devil or Satan.

 

Some believe that in this day and age a belief in Satan is primitive and unsophisticated. However, the Bible clearly portrays Jesus as believing in and reacting to what HE FELT was a real spiritual being named Satan. I believe a proper response to these situations is that which Jesus expressed in yesterday's scripture, "A servant is not greater than his lord." If Jesus believed and spoke as though Satan was a real entity, then I don't know how I can be His servant and believe that He was simply being naive.

 

As Judas leaves the table to depart, we are told once again that it is he who was in charge of the money box for the disciples. The other disciples assume that Judas is leaving to purchase something for the poor. And, we are told that when Judas departs, "It was night." This is another representation of darkness and light. In this case, the evil in Judas is exemplified by leaving the upper room as night has arrived.

 

In the midst of the small band of disciples that followed Jesus, evil entered. There is no group of people, however small, that is immune to the spiritual influences of evil. Even within groups that are dedicated to serving the Lord, evil has its foothold. But we do not have to be defeated or overly preoccupied by its presence. Greater is He who is in us than all the evil that exists in the world.

 

The goal in confronting evil is to constantly keep our focus on our Lord. He is the one who will strengthen us even in the presence of evil. The question for believers is always, "Is there anything that compels my interest more that serving Christ?"

 

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