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.” 22 The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he spoke.
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The very thought that someone from his most intimate circle of disciples could betray him gave Jesus what the Gospel calls “trouble in his spirit.” Judas Iscariot was so trusted hat no one looked his way. They looked around with bewilderment.
One of the ways we know Judas was trusted by the twelve is because he was the one responsible for the disciple’s treasury. The money bag was guarded from thievery and bandits by Judas Iscariot, which may suggest that the word “Iscariot” was etymologically connected to the word sicarii. The sicarii was a Jewish ultra-zealot terrorist group operating in Judea that leveled blow after blow to the Roman occupation and their supporters. It is possible that Judas was a former sicarii. (They were largely men of principled convictions and excellent fighting skills. Judas was not entrusted with the money because he could count better than the other disciples. Had this been the case, Mathew, the former tax-collector, would have been chosen.)
23 One of his disciples, whom Jesus loved, was reclining at table at Jesus’ side,
In a world where tables were on the same level as the floor, the disciples partook of their food reclining (almost prostrate) around the area where food was served. One of the disciples was this mysterious person who is called “the beloved disciple.” There have been various theories put forth as to the identity of this disciple. (None fully convincing). He was most likely the author of this otherwise anonymous Gospel. (Read more HERE).
24 so Simon Peter motioned to him to ask Jesus of whom he was speaking.
Notice the level of detail that the Gospel gives. It can best be explained by the author (in opposition to Luke’s account) being an eyewitness to the narrated events. He remembers the small points, like the beloved disciple motioning to Jesus to get his attention during the meal where no doubt the disciples were loudly talking.
25 So that disciple, leaning back against Jesus, said to him, “Lord, who is it?” 26 Jesus 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.
We can almost feel the tension. Jesus speaks of his betrayal by one of the disciples. The beloved disciple asked him quietly to show him who would betray him. Jesus answered just as quietly: “I will show you now”. (It was customary to take a piece of bread and dip it in something tasty and give it directly to another person nearby.) It was the perfect way to tell the beloved disciple something in such a way that no one would guess what Jesus was really doing.
27 Then after he had taken the morsel, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, “What you are going to do, do quickly.” 28 Now no one at the table knew why he said this to him. 29 Some 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. 30 So, after receiving the morsel of bread, he immediately went out. And it was night.
As Jesus extended his hand to give the peace of bread to Judas Iscariot he told him out loud that he should hurry up. Jesus had routinely given Judas assignments, so it looked like nothing unusual had taken place.
31 When he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him. 32 If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and glorify him at once. 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.’
It is intriguing that while we normally ascribe the term glorification to Jesus only after his resurrection, Jesus does so in advance of the events. It seems that Jesus viewed betrayal, death, resurrection and ascension as one package, so much so that at the time when the events that ultimately led to his death and resurrection began, he was already able to say: “Now is the Son of Man glorified”.
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.”
This was intended for of all faithful Christ-followers everywhere and at all times (and rightly so) but originally it was in reference to the 12 apostles. How you may ask? If Jesus was appointing new heads of the tribes of Israel and as such was renewing Israel’s hope; when could we expect there to be some correlation with the narratives of the 12 heads of the tribes of Israel. One of the foundational stories of the sons of Jacob was the story of Joseph’s near-killing and eventual being sold into slavery in Egypt. One can hardly speak of anything more unloving than the heads of Israel’s key family attempted murder of their brother. In our text, here, at the foundation of the renewed Israel through the twelve new heads/apostles, Jesus begins by commanding them to love one another. This is indeed how their authority as true disciples of Christ would be recognized by those who are true Israel.
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.” 37 Peter said to him, “Lord, why can I not follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.” 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.
Peter’s commitment would soon be tested. Jesus told Peter that when the time would come, Peter would deny him. That time was rapidly approaching. One of the reasons Jesus said this was because he already knew Judas Iscariot was on his way to the Temple to betray Jesus’ location to the authorities for his immediate arrest.
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