Tuesday, April 06, 2004
Jesus and Judas, Peter, and John  

Today's Gospel reading, John 13:21-33, 36-38, tells us of three of the disciples' responses to our Lord as they were with him in the upper room.

Jesus troubled in His spirit, knows the heart of Judas, and He tells all of the disciples that one of them will betray Him. They all wonder who this will be. Peter, in an a bit of unusual timidity does not directly ask Jesus Himself, but he asks John to ask the Lord who it will be. John, who is lying close to the breast of Christ, asks Him who will betray to Lord. And Jesus responds that the one who will betray Him is the one to whom He gives a piece of bread after He has dipped it. Jesus gives the piece of bread to Judas. After he receives the bread, Judas sets his will to betray Jesus. Jesus exhorts him to do what he is going to do quickly. Judas leaves, and the Scripture indicates it was night to show the darkness of Judas' soul and the evil into which he was entering.

Later on after Jesus has told that disciples that He is about to go somewhere where they cannot follow, Peter boldly asks Jesus where He is going. Jesus repeats that he cannot follow Him now, but he will follow Him later. Peter has a sense of where Jesus will go because he brashly claims that he will lay down
his life for Jesus. And Jesus prophesies to Peter with compassion, "Will you lay down your life for me? Truly, truly, I say to you, the cock will not crow, till you have denied me three times."

The contrast is clear from later Scripture. As far as we know from Scripture, Judas did not repent of his betrayal of the Lord. Instead, he killed himself. We entrust him to God's mercy. Peter, we know, cried bitter tears of repentance for his denial of Christ and he was restored by Christ (John 21:15-17). What about the third disciple mentioned in this Gospel reading? John stayed close to our Lord's heart, and he alone was with Jesus at His crucifixion. At different times, we have all been each disciple mentioned. We
must strive to avoid betraying and denying our Lord, and we must pray to remain close to our Lord, recognizing how easy it is for us to be a betrayer or a denier of our Lord. The key the Gospel indicates, is to remain close to the Heart of Jesus because John alone remained with Jesus while Peter and Judas left our Lord. Thanks be to God that Peter was restored in order to strengthen the others. However, we must also never despair as Judas did. We may have betrayed Jesus just as he did, but we must always remember
that Jesus wants to, even longs to, restore us. All we have to do is repent and turn back toward Him.

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