Jesus knows the end is near. His entire ministry was soon to culminate in one last momentous act of love that would change the world. The Devine purpose was soon to be achieved. In John 13:1-38 we see Jesus in an upper room celebrating the feast of Passover. That was no accident since the original Passover was the shadow of things to come, the foreshadowing of when Messiah would become the true Passover Lamb. What were His thoughts? What emotions filled Him? He was God, and as God this was His hearts desire, to finally reconcile the world back to Him. But he was also a man with flesh that could feel pain and a heart that could be broken.
In verse two John tells us that Satan had already put the idea of betraying Jesus into Judas Iscariot’s heart. Here was a man who had been with Jesus from the beginning, was hand picked by Jesus and loved by Him, shared meals with Him, traveled along the same dusty roads, seen the miracles He performed, received His personal attention and instructions. Yet Judas never “got it.” Got who Jesus was or why He was here. How it must have broken Jesus’ heart to know that the one on whom such love and care had been lavished was now going to hand Him over to the executioners.
Jesus understood betrayal, understood the pain of someone He loved going out of his way to harm Him. And so He understands when this happens to us. I don’t think we can live many years without being betrayed or disappointed by someone we love, someone we trusted. It happens. People disappoint. They don’t always “get” our love, or value the time and effort we have poured into them. And even worse, we sometimes disappoint others.
Scripture paints a very dire picture of Judas’ eternal future, but I believe that if he had asked Jesus for forgiveness, Jesus would have granted it. After all, Peter betrayed Jesus, too, though in a different way, and Jesus not only forgave him but restored him as His apostle. And there in is the secret. Forgiveness. Yes people we love will disappoint us. Some may even do us great harm, and while these things are painful and sometimes even devastating, forgiveness is the only road to wholeness. When we consider all that Jesus went through for us, the undeserved ill-will, the phony trials, the abandonment by all except a few, the beatings, the excruciatingly painful crucifixion, and then hear that his last words before He committed His Spirit to God, were “Father forgive them for they know not what they do,” can we do less? And if we are the ones who have betrayed or disappointed, wouldn’t we want to be forgiven, too? I know I would.
Until next time,