Holy Wednesday – Lenten Devotional Series 2020

The Paradox of Love by Pastor John

In his last days on earth, Jesus was betrayed by his beloved disciples whom he had walked closely with for the past three years.

First, Judas commits to betraying Jesus during their last meal as a family. Perhaps more than the other disciples, Judas has become disillusioned with Jesus; no longer believing that he is the Messiah who would overthrow Rome and be their king.

The second major betrayal is by Peter. After Judas leaves, Jesus says it is his time to be glorified and that he would no longer be with the disciples. This worries Peter and he proclaims that he will to follow Jesus unto death. Peter’s pride is wounded when Jesus says that Peter will deny knowing him three times before the morning. This will indeed happen, but not before all the other disciples abandon Jesus as he is being arrested. Talk about betrayal and abandonment. So, when the Gospel of John says Jesus was “troubled in spirit,” it feels like we should read “heartbroken.” How could he not be? Within the next 24 hours, his 12 closest friends either betray, deny or abandon him.

Looking at all of chapter 13, I find it interesting that woven between acts of betrayal and denial are the acts of love — Jesus washing the disciples’ feet, the sharing of a meal, and the command to love one another; this weaving together of joy and pain speaks to the paradox of life.

In our deepest and closest relationships, we can experience both deep love and deep pain, which makes the command to love one another so powerful and essential to the body of Christ.

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.