It was a vague, seemingly enigmatic statement. After all, how could it be that anyone would betray Jesus, especially if they had spent so much time with Him? But Jesus was troubled in His spirit and he made the statement, regardless of the confusion it may cause.
“Very truly I tell you, one of you is going to betray me.”
The disciples looked around the room and tried to guess. They tried to pick out the culprit, but it just didn’t make sense to them. How could anyone who walked with Jesus betray him? They saw Him walk on water, heal the deaf, bring voice to the mute, and even raise the dead. Surely, Jesus was talking about something else. Maybe someone else. But not His disciples.
We vilify Judas. His name has become synonymous with betrayal, disloyalty, faithlessness, abandonment, and desertion. And in painting him into the bleak and tormented role he embraced we forget one indispensable truth.
Jesus loved him.
Jesus dipped the bread, gave it to Judas, and in that moment Judas stepped into a destiny that was no longer led by Christ, but by Satan himself. The fact that Judas was in a position to receive the bread directly from Jesus means that he sat close to Jesus, likely right next to Him. If Judas had been reclining on Jesus’ left, he would have been sitting in a place of honor.
Some would even say that in that moment, knowing the outcome, Jesus’ love was so great for Judas that offering the dipped bread was one last extension of grace and love. Jesus knew what was to come, but it doesn’t mean it was easy. It doesn’t mean that he in that moment, did not cry out for something different. He wanted His love for Judas to matter. He wanted His love to be enough. But Judas, in that singular moment, “exchanged Christ’s tenderness for the terror of that awful night, love’s appeal became hate’s dynamic: AND IT WAS NIGHT.“¹
This powerful statement reveals both Judas’ decision and Jesus’ reality. Jesus did not create this spiritual darkness, but He had to walk through it nonetheless. Jesus’ love demanded He carry the weight of the betrayal and love still.
When you traverse through the dimmest moments of your life, those moments when you look outside and see the sun shining but feel nothing but darkness, nothing but night, you must remember that one indispensable truth.
Jesus loves you.
That very love that carried Judas’ betrayal and caused the Son of God to walk in the night, carries your burden and pain. In your darkest night, at your darkest moments, Jesus walks so closely to us that if you were to close your eyes and speak His name He would show you the cross. It is a permanent symbol that declares that the night is not final and that Jesus is willing to go the distance for you to experience the peace he promises.
“I have come into the world as light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.” – John 12:46
A lightbulb in a bright room has little effect, but a light in the darkness brings relief to those who have grown accustomed to the night.
Jesus is with you. Right now. In your darkest moment. He’s been there and He promised that He would never leave or forsake you. He walked through the night and knows what you are feeling. He knows your fears, your anger, your pain, and your doubt and He hears you as His Father heard Him. He will be the light that sees you through, this I know.
“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” – John 1:5
¹Gangel, Kenneth O. John. Vol. 4. Holman New Testament Commentary. Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2000.