Lenten Devotional

March 3, 2020

All Day

God Has a Plan

Jesus answered, “It is the one to whom I will give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.” Then, dipping the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him.

So Jesus told him, “What you are about to do, do quickly.”

But no one at the meal understood why Jesus said this to him.

Since Judas had charge of the money, some thought Jesus was telling him to buy what was needed for the festival, or to give something to the poor. As soon as Judas had taken the bread, he went out. And it was night (John 13:26-30). 

Today’s text about Judas Iscariot’s betrayal has always intrigued me. Why does Jesus say, “It is the one to whom I give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish” who will betray me rather than just directly say “Judas Iscariot will betray me?” Why does Jesus seem to encourage the betrayal by saying “What you are about to do, do quickly”? And why does this all happen just after Jesus has washed the feet of the disciples (including Judas’). 

It seems deliberate that Jesus did not declare the betrayer’s name out loud, but rather gave each of the disciples the opportunity to reflect on their own potential betrayal of Christ. The other disciples may have been relieved during the Last Supper when they saw that the bread was given to Judas, but when they considered their own actions later that night and on the next day, remorse at their own betrayal must have swept over them.

Jesus’ request to Judas, “What you are about to do, do quickly,” was also deliberate. Jesus knew God’s plan and he knew Judas’ role in it. He didn’t try to stop Judas nor even delay the inevitable. The other disciples didn’t know what was going on. After all the indications that Jesus had given them as to God’s plan and its graciousness, they still didn’t get it.

And even the order of the events of the evening was deliberate: Jesus washed the feet of all the disciples before the discussion of the betrayal transpired. Jesus knew that Judas would betray him, but Jesus washed his feet anyway. Jesus gave all the disciples the possibility to be clean, but Judas chose his own course, thereby rejecting Jesus and that cleansing.

God has a deliberate plan for our redemption through Jesus Christ. He gives us the free will to accept or reject that redemption. He leaves the choice up to us. 

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for your goodness. Forgive us when we don’t see your graciousness and your plan for our lives. Keep us from betraying you or your Son. Help us choose the redemption and salvation that you give us in Christ Jesus! Amen. 

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