John 13:21 After saying this Jesus was troubled in spirit, and declared, “Very truly, I tell you, one of you will betray me.” 22 The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he was speaking.
We’re getting close to Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection in the gospel of John. Jesus was telling the disciples that one of them would betray him, then indicated Judas as the culprit. The part of the passage that sticks out for me is “After saying this Jesus was troubled in spirit…”
It’s assumed by many that Jesus knew how his story would unfold far ahead of time. He knew what would happen, how it would happen, and who would be involved. Maybe. But as I read the gospels, Jesus strikes me as one for whom the story (at least the details) is unfolding in real time. It’s possible that Jesus was troubled in spirit because he was finally getting clarity on how he would die and who would betray him. And as the Father revealed this to Jesus, it broke his heart. Betrayal would not come at the hands of some outsider, but from one of his closest brothers. Judas would hand Jesus over – for a few pieces of silver.
“Jesus was troubled in spirit…”
Somehow these few words endear Jesus to me. He was human in a way I understand. He loved and he laughed and he grieved and he cried. Lord bless those today who are troubled in spirit. Give us grace to rest in you. Amen.
One thought on “The betrayer is revealed…”
I don’t know if Jesus could foresee the future detail for detail ahead of time or not. I can look at my small child eyeing the cookie jar and know he is going to raid it the moment I turn away, and I will be right in that prediction 100% of the time, but it does not mean I am particularly prophetic or psychic at all. Nevertheless, I feel sure Jesus was unusually perceptive and thoughtful, and had at least as good a grasp on his plans for the future (which he predicted numerous times) as any.
That said, I also know, because he predicted it, that he planned to die at the hands of Jewish and Roman leaders in an unjust death sentence.
Planned on it.
I have always held the opinion that because of that planning and foresight for such a difficult mission that he knew would cost himself so very much, that he had a rich prayer life. This alone, if not his love for God more, could account for his withdrawing to pray as he did.
I remember an old call in radio show where the old pastor would give advice to parishioners who sought it out. One night a guy called in saying he has trouble staying awake to pray. The old pastor told him not to pray while lying in bed, better to take a walk or go somewhere that he might kneel and take a prayer posture so that he would remain awake.
I was young when I heard this, but I suddenly remembered that even Jesus’s closest friends had that trouble, and they were the pillars of the church! The apostles in the garden couldn’t stay awake and keep watch even one hour!
Jesus, though, knew what was coming, and he was compelled to pray.
We say there are no atheists in foxholes, and if you put your life on the line for God, you will find a prayerlife you didn’t know you had come poring out from places you didn’t know you had!
This was true for Jesus as much as any, except maybe more so. He planned this life, this mission way before anyone else ever considered it.
Well, that’s what I think anyway.
And sure enough, the crowds come running from all directions looking for him when he withdraws to pray. But I think he was getting himself in the Father’s hands, finding his focus and faith to endure what lay ahead. And we can learn from that too.
I have a lot of plans for my life, and if they all work out, I should be very comfortable between here and the end most days. Sadly, there is a complacency that goes with it – a deadening of the prayers. I don’t seem to NEED God, certainly not at the bottom of my desperate need. Instead, my lame sleepy prayers tend to yawn a bit, and if I were really honest with God, I would just come out and say… “I got this. Thanx!”
But I don’t. I don’t really “got this”. Not really. Its a game I play with myself. But Jesus didn’t play it.
That’s what I think.