Strange thought. Even in the betrayal of Jesus, the Scriptures are being fulfilled. We tend to think that God has a plan for the good things in our lives, but what about the terrible things? Does God still reach to control those events that threaten us, terrify us, or undermine us? Some people think that God looks the other way when evil occurs, and that they need to hold to this view of God in order to protect his reputation as being fully good. But look! Here is the greatest evil ever done, and not only is God in control of those events of betrayal, but they are what was predicted by the Old Testament and they must take place! It is at our darkest moments, the moments of betrayal, that God is working out his plan of salvation. No cross, no crown.
Still, this does not make such evil pleasant, or a good thing itself. Even Jesus is “troubled” about the betrayal (13:21). It is no help to us, or to others, to plaster on a fake smile and pretend that we feel things that we do not feel, or that we are not hurt when we have been hurt. If we are troubled, then we are troubled—our emotional state does not prevent God’s good plan, but it is a reality that needs to be recognized so that it can be addressed and transformed in God’s good time.
Jesus’ friends now go into action. Simon Peter indicates to the “disciple whom Jesus loved,” almost certainly John, the author of this Gospel, who humbly hides his identity throughout this Gospel and only reveals it by the general truth that he (like the others) was the disciple whom Jesus loved. The disciples want to know who it is that is going to betray Jesus. They are coming alongside, acting like a team, being “there for him.” How important is that! We, in our humanity, require companionship, comradeship, colleagues, a team of friends with whom we can “do life together.” Do you have that? A small group perhaps? An adult community? If not, would you ask God to provide you a few true godly friends to go through life together?
Judas does what he must do. “And,” John records in his masterful way, “it was night” (13:30). Sometimes it is night. Sometimes it is dark. Sometimes there is evil. Sometimes there is horror. Sometime we are troubled, and sometimes we are betrayed. If it happened to Christ, it will happen to us. If it happened to the Master, then surely the servant will also experience such “night” moments. But, look, none of this is a surprise to God. It is his will. Strange thought, but oh, so comforting. For, no cross, no crown. Lean in to your friends and family. Stay close to those who love you in Christ’s name. And be assured that it is darkest before the dawn.
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