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Gene’s Daily Scriptural Postings


The Fateful Choice: John 13:18-30

Focus Passage: John 13:18-30 (NCV)

During the last supper Jesus had with the disciples before His crucifixion, John’s gospel includes an interesting statement that stands out when I read it. Part of me wonders how this event would have been different if this one key detail had happened differently.

According to John, when asked who would betray Jesus, Jesus responds by saying, “‘I will dip this bread into the dish. The man I give it to is the man who will turn against me.’ So Jesus took a piece of bread, dipped it, and gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered him.” (v. 26-27a)

What stands out in my mind when I read this is that it seems as though Judas Iscariot willingly takes the bread and that by accepting the bread, He allowed Satan to enter him. I wonder if in this act, Judas fully accepts the role of betrayer.

I wonder what would have happened differently if Judas had refused the offer of bread from Jesus. If Judas had refused to accept the bread, would that also have meant that He refused to be known as the betrayer. If Satan had not entered him, would Judas have still gone through with turning Jesus in?

In some ways, John’s gospel paints Judas Iscariot as a victim. If Satan entered Judas through the simple act of taking bread from Jesus then the argument could be made that it was Satan who betrayed Jesus, not Judas.

But the plan to betray Jesus had already been put in place before this night. Judas Iscariot already had received the thirty pieces of silver, and he was already looking for an opportunity for the religious leaders to arrest Jesus while He was away from the crowds.

Satan entering Judas at that moment was a mere formality when accepting the bread. Perhaps Judas believed Jesus would not allow Himself to be arrested or condemned. Perhaps Judas saw this as a way to push Jesus forward into claiming the Messianic role that Judas believed He should be.

And unknowingly, Judas Iscariot actually does push Jesus’ mission forward – but not in the way he expected it to go. Seeing how this event unfolds, Judas didn’t need Satan in him to move forward with the plan, but perhaps Satan entering Judas helped solidify that Judas would follow through with the plan.

Judas opened himself to Satan when he refused Jesus’ correction and Jesus’ love. Judas held tight to his own view of who the Messiah was supposed to be, and because of this, there was no way for Jesus to help correct his belief. It was only after the arrest and realizing that Jesus was letting Himself be crucified that Judas realizes Jesus really did have a different picture of the Messiah role than he did – and this realization prompts his suicide.

Jesus wants to teach each of us who He is and what He is like. In every case, this involves us being open to letting Him break down the box we have placed Him in, and letting Him define the boundaries of who He is. The Bible describes One God, and One Truth – and it reveals this to us through the character of the One Messiah, Jesus Christ. We don’t have to make the same mistake as Judas Iscariot. We can let Jesus teach us while we still have time to learn and grow.

This thought was inspired by studying the Walking With Jesus “Reflective Bible Study” package. To discover insights like this in your own study time, click here and give Reflective Bible Study a try today!

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