John 13:30 – So, after receiving the morsel of bread, he immediately went out.  And it was night.

At the end of our prior post, we saw Judas accepting the morsel of bread from Jesus, which essentially sealed his choice to betray Christ.  At that point, he willingly gave himself up fully to Satan and hardened his heart against God. 

Scripture tells us that once the line of no return had been crossed, he immediately left the group.  Why the rush?

For one thing, Jesus had instructed him to do what he was going to do ‘quickly’ or without delay (John 13:27).  Judas may have placed his allegiance behind Satan, but neither one of them had the power to refuse a direct command of God.  Thus, we see Judas actually obeying the command of Christ.

In addition, Judas was probably anxious to leave before the other 11 finally figured out what was going on.  Remember, the remaining disciples were confused about who was going to betray Jesus, and at the time Judas left the group, they were under the mistaken impression that Jesus had set him out to buy supplies for the feast.  Who knew how they would react when they discovered the truth?  Judas may have been fearful of what they might do, so he wanted to leave before any kind of a confrontation could occur.  Perhaps he was fearful that they would try to talk him out of his decision.

Thirdly, evil no doubt compelled him to leave this holy group without delay.  Darkness has no fellowship with light; they are enemies of one another.    

As we know, in any contest between light and darkness, light will always win:

John 1:5 – And the light shines in darkness; and the darkness overcame it not.

In the natural realm, even a single small point of light can be seen for great distances through the darkness because the darkness must flee when the light shines.  The same is true in the spiritual realm.  Judas chose to align himself with the kingdom of evil and darkness.  But God and his love/mercy cut through the worst darkness Satan can produce; when God is present, darkness must flee.  Therefore, we should not be surprised that Judas couldn’t stand to stay in a room full of the love and light of God.   He probably couldn’t wait to get out of there!

It was night when he left.  John records this as a simple fact; the darkness of the coming night had already begun when Judas left the room.  There is nothing to indicate that the author of this gospel meant anything other than what was stated.  Yet, our spiritual minds cannot help but see the significance in the spiritual realm.

John 11:9-10 – Jesus answered, …If any man walks in the day, he stumbles not, because he sees the light of this world.  But if a man walks in the night, he stumbles, because there is no light in him.     

Not only did Judas step into physical darkness that night, he also stepped from the light of the gospel into the darkness of sin.  He chose the prince of darkness over the Light of the World, dooming himself to stumble through whatever short life he had left to live on earth.  

His first task was to find the religious leaders.  Although night time during a big festival was a very unlikely time to pursue business, it didn’t matter to Judas.  He used the cover of night to slip away and make his bargain of blood with the religious leaders. 

This brings up a good question – why try to keep his agenda hidden?  Why not pursue his business in the light of day?  Why not proclaim from the temple grounds that he was turning Jesus in, as the religious leaders requested?  Why not look for accolades and fame?  

Of course, we know the answer.  Judas knew he was doing evil, so he tried to keep his activities hidden in the darkness of night.  Evil hates to be exposed by the light, so it will always avoid it at all costs.  When the final judgment comes, Judas won’t need anyone to condemn his actions; his own behavior shows that he knew he was sinning. 

John 13:31 – When he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him.”

As we have mentioned in the past, God’s ways are not our ways – his ways (and his thoughts) are always higher and better than ours (Isaiah 55:5-9).

In fact, the kingdom of heaven often operates in a manner exactly opposite of what we would expect.  For example, in our society, how do you get rich?  The answer is that you keep all you have for yourself.  But in the kingdom of heaven, the opposite is true.  If you want to gain possessions, you give away what you have (Luke 6:38). 

What about life itself?  If you want to save your own life in this world, you do anything and everything that benefits you, without regard for anyone else.  But in the kingdom of heaven, you save your life by losing it in service to others (Matthew 16:25). 

The present case is exactly the same.  Jesus is saying that his glorification is about to take place, but it won’t happen in the manner the disciples think it will.  It will manifest through his betrayal, suffering, humiliation and death.

How is that possible?

Because in the economy of heaven, Jesus is glorified by glorifying the Father, which means he will accomplish God’s will (specifically the giving of his life on the cross).  His suffering on the cross displays the inestimable goodness of God for all to see.  It is an everlasting, irrefutable, astonishing display of the love of God for mankind.  What can compare to the mercy, love and compassion of God as he gave the life of his only begotten Son on that slab of wood? 

The sacrifice of Christ satisfied the wrath/justice of God, blotting out death and providing for the salvation of all things.  Where death once reigned, life now springs forth, to the glory of God!  

In addition, the humiliating and disgraceful death of Jesus is the means by which he obtained the victory over Satan and all the powers of darkness. 

Colossians 2:14-15 – Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, [Jesus] took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it.

Satan is now a defeated foe.  Hallelujah!  Jesus is the fearless, all powerful head of the church.  And he guarantees that through his blood, we will have the power to stand against the very gates of hell itself (Matthew 16:18) and come out victorious. 

The real question is how could the death of Jesus not glorify the Father?

John 13:32 – “If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and glorify him at once.”

Furthermore, because Jesus glorifies the Father, the Father will immediately glorify Jesus as well.

God glorifies Jesus by showing great signs and wonders at the crucifixion:

  • The sun was darkened; there was darkness over the entire land for three hours (Matthew 27:45).
  • There was a major earthquake (Matthew 27:51-54).
  • Some of the dead rose from their graves (Matthew 27:52-53).
  • The veil of the temple which separated the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies was torn in two, from top to bottom (Mark 15:38, Matthew 27:51). 

God glorifies Jesus by giving him a position of honor at his right hand:

Hebrews 10:12-14 – But this man [Jesus], after he had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right hand of God;  From then on waiting till his enemies be made his footstool.  For by one offering he has perfected forever them that are sanctified.

God glorifies Jesus by exalting his name and giving him authority over everything in, on and below heaven and earth:

Philippians 2:9-11 – Therefore God also has highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:  That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;  And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

God glorifies Jesus by making him the head of the church:

Ephesians 1:20-22 – Which he performed in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age, but also in that which is to come: And has put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church…

God glorifies Jesus by keeping the promises he made to him hundreds of years before his death:

Isaiah 53:12 –Therefore will I [God the Father] divide him [Jesus] a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he has poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

As horrific as the cross is, there can be no doubt that through it Jesus glorified his Father, and that the Father in turn glorified his Son.

John 13:33 – “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.’”

Jesus knows that his time with the disciples is very short.  He also knows that they will be devastated by his death.  He now seeks to lessen the agony of their parting by offering words of comfort and hope.

Although they will not be able to follow him into the eternal realm just yet, they should not think that he doesn’t love them.  On the contrary, he considers them his ‘little children’.

This is an expression of great tenderness.  It denotes the love and concern that Jesus had for the welfare of his disciples.  God himself exercises great care over every aspect of our lives, as any good parent would do for their offspring.

As ‘little children’ of God, we can rest assured that nothing can change our relationship with the Father.  He is pleased to have us call him Abba.  He is excited to make us joint heirs with Christ (Romans 8:14-17).  Paul was so right when he said, ‘the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us’ as the children of God (Romans 8:18)!

Just as children in the natural realm need to be taught and guided into maturity, we can expect God to be actively present in our spiritual growth.  He provides shepherds to assist Holy Spirit in our spiritual development and growth.

John 13:34 – “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.”

As Jesus prepares the disciples for his departure, he gives them a command or a badge of discipleship which will characterize them in such a way that outsiders will recognize them as followers of Christ.  In other words, it distinguishes them from other groups of people. 

The ‘badge’ or characteristic is Christian love.  Christians should/will/must love one another.

At first, this does not appear to be a ‘new’ command; the law had long ordained that the Jews should love their neighbors as themselves (Leviticus 19:18).   But it is new in the sense that love had never been the distinguishing characteristic of any group of people before.  Think about it – the Jews were known for their external rites and covenant, the Romans were known for their cruelty, the Greeks were known for their desire to learn, etc. 

And truly, unless Christ made it possible, Christians wouldn’t be known for love either. But through the Spirit, we can love as Christ commands. 

The neat thing is that the ability to love (and be loved) is available to everyone, regardless of how much or little education you have, how much or little money you earn, what kind of clothes you wear, how famous you are, the color of your skin, your marital status or anything else.  Since no one is excluded or ineligible to be in the family of God, no one is excluded from brotherly love.  Only God could come up with a program in which everyone around the world is eligible to participate!

As brothers and sisters in the kingdom, we are all redeemed by the same blood.  We are all going to the same heaven.  We have the same trials and tribulations as others, and we experience similar wants and needs.  For this reason, we are to pull together as a family and assist each other in running our earthly race victoriously.  (I Peter 1:18-23).

This badge of love is also new in regards to the extent to which we are to carry out our love for each other.  We are now held to the highest standard possible – we must love each other as fully and completely as Christ has loved us. 

Since Jesus’ love for us is strong, complete and unending so must our love be for other believers (Philippians 2:1-11). 

John 13:35 –“By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Love for each other will certainly set the Christian apart from the world.  In the world the prevailing standard is ‘every man for himself’. 

But God reveals to us that no amount of human accomplishment is worth a hill of beans, if it comes without love for others (I Corinthians 13).  Love is the one thing that all people need/desire.  It is fitting that we should display the love of Christ in such a way that sinners will desire to turn toward him and experience the same love that we know. 

The world-wide church of Jesus certainly needs to work on brotherly love.  Denominations seem far more eager to focus on differences rather than on love.  Let’s commit to being part of the solution, not part of the problem.  Let’s make sure that within our own spheres of life we love other Christians – even those in other denominations. 

John 13:36 – 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.”

Here we find Peter acting somewhat inappropriately (shocker). 

Jesus has just given his followers loads of practical instructions.  He washed their feet and told them to do so for others.  He just revealed the depths of his love for them and instructed them to let that kind of love be the defining characteristic in their lives.  There’s a lot to think about and consider. 

But Peter’s mind is wandering.  Instead of focusing on those instructions, he demands to know about the things that Jesus has chosen to keep silent about.  He is all about satisfying his own idle curiosity. 

I think there is a lesson buried in here for us.  We would do well to keep our hearts and minds focused on things that edify and build us up spiritually, rather than always allowing our minds to jump to idle questions that cannot be answered. 

There are some things that Jesus is keeping secret for the time being, so stop trying to guess what’s on his mind and concentrate on the commands he has given us!

John 13:37-38 – Peter said to him, “Lord, why can I not follow you now?  I will lay down my life for you.”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 was very sincere in his love and affection for Christ, as evidenced by his willingness to lay down his life.  However, he did not yet understand that he was not spiritually mature enough to accept the suffering that was required to give his own life for the gospel message.  Of course, this became abundantly clear to him on the night when he denied Jesus three times.

Jesus does not discourage Peter from making a commitment to lay his life down for the gospel.  Instead, he endeavors to show Peter that it will take the empowerment of Jesus’ own Holy Spirit to make that commitment possible.  And the good news is that Holy Spirit is still at work in believers today, bringing us to spiritual maturity just as he did the eleven apostles. 

Let me offer you some encouragement:

I work in an environment that could be considered under the control of darkness rather than light. Perhaps that is true of your work place as well.  It can sometimes be discouraging to shine your light into the darkness day in and day out, without seeing any significant change.

But today I want to encourage you (and myself) not to give up!  We need to keep letting our lights shine for Christ (even if we don’t see big results right now) because it is impossible for us to know who is being affected by the light of Christ that we offer.  We must trust that in due time we will reap a harvest of souls in our work places and see these institutions completely changed for Christ!  

Let me offer you some relief:

Peter denied Christ three times after adamantly declaring that he would die for him.  At the time, it must have seemed like an epic failure (which it actually was). 

But a very short time later, Peter’s hope was restored.  God had not given up on him.  Instead, God filled Peter with power and wisdom on the day of Pentecost when he was baptized in the Holy Spirit. 

Perhaps you have failed God in the past.  If so, let me offer you some relief – God does not show partiality among his children (Acts 10:34).  If he forgave, restored and empowered Peter, he will do the same thing for you.  Humble yourself and repent – then watch the Lord work great wonders in your life!

Let me offer you some strength:

Jesus glorified his Father by obeying his commands and faithfully carrying out his will.  We can glorify God in the same manner.  Let’s stop and ask ourselves this question:  Are we obeying his commands?  What is our level of personal holiness?  Are we willing to crucify the lusts of our flesh in order to glorify our Father? 

This is not an easy task.  But it can be done.  According to a much older and wiser apostle Peter,  when we were sinners we had plenty of time to indulge in our flesh.  Now that we have been bought with the blood of Christ, it’s time to be sober minded, live according to the Spirit and give ourselves to prayer.    

Interestingly, Peter also instructs us that above all else we should love each other, for love covers a multitude of sin (I Peter 4:1-11).  

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