What on earth are you doing for heaven’s sake?
John 13: 21–30
21 After Jesus had said this, he was deeply troubled and declared openly, “I am telling you the truth: one of you is going to betray me.”
22 The disciples looked at one another, completely puzzled about whom he meant. 23 One of the disciples, the one whom Jesus loved, was sitting next to Jesus. 24 Simon Peter motioned to him and said, “Ask him whom he is talking about.”
25 So that disciple moved closer to Jesus' side and asked, “Who is it, Lord?”
26 Jesus answered, “I will dip some bread in the sauce and give it to him; he is the man.” So he took a piece of bread, dipped it, and gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. 27 As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, “Hurry and do what you must!” 28 None of the others at the table understood why Jesus said this to him. 29 Since Judas was in charge of the money bag, some of the disciples thought that Jesus had told him to go and buy what they needed for the festival, or to give something to the poor.
30 Judas accepted the bread and went out at once. It was night.
How often have you asked the question: “What made him/her do that?” Peoples’ motives are a mystery to us, but frequently also a fascination! So we scratch our heads, and wonder, before coming up with all sorts of possible theories, and then share them with friends as we express ‘concern’. In truth it’s difficult enough to establish what our own motives for our behaviour are, never mind guessing at what goes on in other folks’ minds.
We never actually see what Judas has being doing in the dark, but we suspect. We don’t know what his motives are but we have listened to what others have surmised. We have half-stories and accounts of what others saw and heard and interpreted. Now that really is a dangerous mixture.
What we do see in the Gospels is Jesus’ continuing engagement with Judas. He refuses to turn Judas away, or to turn away from him. You don’t see Jesus ranting about how badly Judas has treated him. Others may condemn him but not the one who truly understands what it means to be human. As much as we would like to, we cannot control others’ behaviour or accurately guess their motives. We can however be responsible for our own behaviour and constantly monitor our own motives.
Gracious God, I don’t understand why You love me.
I don’t understand why, when we’ve made the world such a mess, You don’t just “Start again.”
I don’t understand why they call this “Holy Week” when so many unholy things happened to your Son.
I don’t understand how this ‘salvation’ thing works, but I’m glad that it does.
I don’t always understand why I do the things I do!
Over the space of these next few days, enable me to see Jesus more clearly, to follow Him more nearly and to love Him more dearly — and to keep it that way.
Forgive me my lack of personal insight and my eagerness to judge others.
Help me be the change I long to see. Amen.