Night

First, evil thoughts entered the heart of Judas and then, the devil himself.
The sun had slipped beneath the western horizon hours before. Darkness lay on the land like an impenetrable fog, unbroken except for the meager lights filtering through open windows. Flames from candles and oil lamps tried as best they could but could only push back the night for a few inches each.

Ready to Listen
None of the men could remember any other time when Jesus exhibited this mood. There was a note of sadness in His voice they had never heard before. He seemed resolved to impending events, whatever surprises they might hold for the rest of them. If He was ready and they were with Him and led by Him, surely they were ready too. One sign they could read with no misunderstanding—Jesus had things to tell them that night. Of this they were sure. Each man, with his feet so recently washed and dried by Jesus, was fully awake now and ready to hear what Jesus had to say

A line had been crossed.
A sequence of events had begun and there was no way to stop them from continuing. One of their number had, for reasons unknown, decided to betray Jesus to the authorities. It is useless to try and determine the motives of Judas. We are sure of only this: Satan was the one who beguiled the treasurer of the group. In the closeness of the night, as shadows on the wall danced with the flames of lamps and candles, Jesus revealed the moment to all of them.

“He who eats bread with Me has lifted up his heel against Me.”

All individual conversations ceased. In the ensuing silence, heads began to swivel left and right, each man seeking indications in the eyes of the others of who the traitor might be. Many had feared this very thing from outsiders but never from within their company. Suddenly the silence broke in a chorus of questions from eleven of the Twelve. Jesus set the context.

“…I tell you before it comes, that when it does come to pass,
you may believe that I am He.”

The issue was the same as always—do you believe Jesus was Messiah? If so, then all of the prophesies must come to pass. He spoke of His Father and of their unbreakable unity. To receive Him was to receive His Father. The thought of betrayal from within this hand-selected group broke Jesus’ heart. The disciples wanted to ease His pain and to declare their own innocence.

John, the Beloved
John was closest to Jesus and asked the question that filled the mind of each man.

“Lord, who is it?”

Jesus gave John a sign; it would be the one to whom he gave a morsel of bread. With that, Jesus dipped the bread into a cup of oil mixed with wine and gave it to Judas. When the betrayer ate the bread, the light in his soul went out. In its place came darkness and the presence of one too evil to contemplate. Jesus sensed the exchange.

“What you do, do quickly.”

Judas was shocked but he should not have been. Of course, Jesus knew! Of course He did. Was this permission to do what was in His heart to do? Deception clamped the man’s mind like a vice. Wiping the oil and wine from his lips, Judas stood to his feet and left the upper room. A dark wind seemed to follow him out the door. Some of the eleven, trying to make the best of this turn of events, thought Judas was on an errand for Jesus.

John concludes the scene with the simple declaration,

“And it was night.”

So true. So very true.

John 13:18-30
“I do not speak concerning all of you. I know whom I have chosen; but that the Scripture may be fulfilled, ‘He who eats bread with Me has lifted up his heel against Me.’ Now I tell you before it comes, that when it does come to pass, you may believe that I am He. Most assuredly, I say to you, he who receives whomever I send receives Me; and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me.” When Jesus had said these things, He was troubled in spirit, and testified and said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, one of you will betray Me.” Then the disciples looked at one another, perplexed about whom He spoke. Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved. Simon Peter therefore motioned to him to ask who it was of whom He spoke. Then, leaning back on Jesus’ breast, he said to Him, “Lord, who is it?” Jesus answered, “It is he to whom I shall give a piece of bread when I have dipped it.” And having dipped the bread, He gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. Now after the piece of bread, Satan entered him. Then Jesus said to him, “What you do, do quickly.” But no one at the table knew for what reason He said this to him. For some thought, because Judas had the money box, that Jesus had said to him, “Buy those things we need for the feast,” or that he should give something to the poor. Having received the piece of bread, he then went out immediately. And it was night.
Isaiah 60:1-3 NKJV
Arise, shine; For your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, And deep darkness the people; But the Lord will arise over you, And His glory will be seen upon you. The Gentiles shall come to your light, And kings to the brightness of your rising.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus there is a darkness in this world, the Prophet Isaiah called it a “deep darkness.” It is more than revolving of the earth, turning away from the sun. This is the darkness of men’s souls turning away from You. You are the Light of the World. You lit the fuse that kindled the sun. Your mighty angels light the night as do the stars of heaven. Your Word is a lamp and a light to guide me through this darkness. Help me walk in the Light so that those who see me can also see You, the way out of this dark night. Amen and Amen.

Song:
Here I Am to Worshi
p
Words and Music: Tim Hughs

1. Light of the World You stepped down into darkness
Open my eyes Let me see
Beauty that made This heart adore You
Hope of a life Spent with You

Refrain:
Here I am to worship
Here I am to bow down
Here I am to say that You’re my God
You’re altogether lovely
Altogether worthy
Altogether wonderful to me

2. King of all days Oh, so highly exalted
Glorious in Heaven above
Humbly You came To the earth You created
All for love’s sake became poor

Refrain

Bridge:
I’ll never know how much it cost To see my sin upon that cross
I’ll never know how much it cost To see my sin upon that cross
I’ll never know how much it cost To see my sin upon that cross
I’ll never know how much it cost To see my sin upon that cross

Refrain

Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2018 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

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