Wednesday, April 8th | Betrayal
One Of You Will Betray Me, John 13:21-32
After saying this Jesus was troubled in spirit, and declared, “Very truly, I tell you, one of you will betray me.” The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he was speaking. One of his disciples—the one whom Jesus loved—was reclining next to him; Simon Peter therefore motioned to him to ask Jesus of whom he was speaking. So while reclining next to Jesus, he asked him, “Lord, who is it?” Jesus answered, “It is the one to whom I give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.” So when he had dipped the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas son of Simon Iscariot. After he received the piece of bread, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, “Do quickly what you are going to do.” Now no one at the table knew why he said this to him. Some thought that, because Judas had the common purse, Jesus was telling him, “Buy what we need for the festival”; or, that he should give something to the poor. So, after receiving the piece of bread, he immediately went out. And it was night. When he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once.
Reclaimed from Darkness
I’m struck by three small words: “it was night.” John begins his account with the triumphant words, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it (John 1:5).” Yet, for a short period it looked as if darkness overcame Jesus. He was betrayed, arrested, convicted, crucified, buried. All of this was part of God’s plan. Jesus knew the betrayal was coming, but did nothing to stop it.
Jesus did not work in spite of darkness, but with the unwitting, God appointed help of darkness. God did his greatest work through this darkness, the reclamation of us. He was oppressed, afflicted, and taken away because of us.
Then he dispelled the darkness. He broke the chains of sin and death. His redeeming work finished; all the sins of his people were paid. That is the glory of Jesus and his Father, “Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him.”
When he was doing what only he could - dispelling darkness, conquering death, defeating Satan, paying for sin, removing condemnation - this was his most glorious achievement. In one sense, his brightest moment is the darkest night. What if you could see in your darkest moments the glory of God at work. He will bring about a glorious end through your suffering when you follow him. It is in the dark that stars shine the brighter.
One of my favorite prayers comes from a Puritan Prayer book, The Valley of Vision:
Lord, High and Holy, Meek and Lowly,
Thou hast brought me to the valley of vision,
where I live in the depths but see thee in the heights;
hemmed in by mountains of sin I behold thy glory.
Let me learn by paradox
that the way down is the way up,
that to be low is to be high,
that the broken heart is the healed heart,
that the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit,
that the repenting soul is the victorious soul,
that to have nothing is to possess all,
that to bear the cross is to wear the crown,
that to give is to receive,
that the valley is the place of vision.
Lord, in the daytime stars can be seen from deepest wells,
and the deeper the wells the brighter thy stars shine;
Let me find thy light in my darkness,
thy life in my death,
thy joy in my sorrow,
thy grace in my sin,
thy riches in my poverty,
thy glory in my valley.
Three Questions for You:
How might God be using your present circumstances?
What do you sense God saying to you right now?
What do you think God might want you to do in response to what he is saying?