Jesus Foretells His Betrayal
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.
Jesus had hinted at this in the previous conversation, but now he declares outright, “One of you will betray me.” His words are troubled, and the disciples seem to have missed the earlier hints, for they seem startled. They look at one another – who can he mean? Imagine the low murmur going around the table – who does he mean? What does he mean? Surely not one of us! And finally, Peter says, “John, you ask him!” And so John, who is called “The disciple whom Jesus loved” asked him, “Lord, who is it?” And Jesus answers that it is the one to whom he gives the bread he dips in the bowl. In verse 18, he has quoted scripture, “I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen. But it is to fulfill the scripture, ‘The one who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.” Now, he shares the bread with Judas Iscariot, who seems to be oblivious to the conversation around him.
Judas – We know that he had already decided to betray Jesus, but now, after he shares bread with the Lord, the author tells us that Satan entered into him. That seems to me a curious thing to say – but I do not have the mind of a first-century writer. His purpose is to identify Jesus’ opponent, not as the man Judas, but as the cosmic force of evil. Judas has allowed Satan in, in the form of anger, jealousy, greed, or disappointment – some personal motive, but it is evil that will kill Jesus, not Judas alone.
Jesus tells him to go on and do what he intends to do, quickly. Judas will go to the Pharisees and the Chief Priest, Caiaphas, and they will think they have the upper hand, that they have won. But Jesus knows better. He is preparing to go with them, preparing his disciples for his departure – his hour has come.
It is dark; for a time, darkness rules.