Let’s finish John 13 today.  Read John 13: 18 – 38.

I am amazed by the way Jesus treated Judas.  And we see Him trying to break through Judas’ cold heart in this passage.  Jesus loved Judas.  There is no greater test of agape love than the way you treat your enemies. 

Picture this scene … the disciples gathered around a meal together.  William Barclay describes the custom of the day.

The Jews did not sit at table; they reclined.  The table was a low solid block, with couches round it.  It was shaped like a U and the place of the host was in the center.  They reclined on their left side, resting on the left elbow, thus leaving the right hand free to deal with the food.  Sitting in such a way, a man’s head was literally in the breast of the person reclining on his left.  Jesus would be sitting in the place of the host, at the center of the single side of the low table.  The disciple whom Jesus loved must have been sitting his right, for as he lent on his elbow at the table, his head was in Jesus’ breast.  It is quite clear that Jesus could speak to Judas privately without the others overhearing.  If that be so, there is only one place Judas could have been occupying.  He must have been on Jesus’ left, so that, just as John’s head was in Jesus’ breast, Jesus’s head was in Judas’.  The revealing think is that the place on the left of the host was the place of highest honor, kept for the most intimate friend.

Jesus evidently placed Judas close so that He could talk with him without the others hearing.  What a gracious protection for Judas.  I wonder what Peter would have done had he realized Judas’ plan.  Then there is the piece of bread mentioned in verse 26.  For the host to offer a tid-bit personally to one of the guests was a sign of special friendship.  Time after time Jesus appeals to Judas … and time after time Judas ignores the appeal.  Why?  I think it was because Jesus was not the kind of Messiah that Judas wanted.  He was disappointed in Jesus.  He wanted political power.  He wanted Rome gone.  Jesus could have accomplished that … but Jesus did not accomplish that … and Judas was horrifically disappointed. 

Have you ever been there – knowing that God could do something – but did not do it?  What do you do with those disappointments?  It is in those times of bitter disappointment that our faith is tested the hardest.  It is in those times of bitter disappointment that we are faced with a core question:  Can God be trusted, or not?  Judas chose not.  I pray that you and I will choose trust.  God is God … and there is no other.  God is love … and there is no deeper.  God is wise … and there is none wiser.  So when I am disappointed in the outcome of something, a healing not happening, a circumstance not resolving like I wanted it to … I stand in the same place as Judas … Judas chose darkness.

I choose trust.  And you? 

It is only after Judas departs that Jesus begins His final discourse with His disciples.  There are no more precious words in all of scripture than the next 4 chapters.  I am praying for you … that God will minister to your heart as we read them.