Lent Devotion for March 20
Reader: “The one who eats my food…”
Response: “…has turned against me.”
SCRIPTURE: Psalm 41:9
“Even my best friend, the one I trusted completely, the one who shared my food, has turned against me.”
SCRIPTURE: John 3:12-28
12 After washing their feet, he put on his robe again and sat down and asked, “Do you understand what I was doing? 13 You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and you are right, because that’s what I am. 14 And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. 15 I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you. 16 I tell you the truth, slaves are not greater than their master. Nor is the messenger more important than the one who sends the message. 17 Now that you know these things, God will bless you for doing them.
18 “I am not saying these things to all of you; I know the ones I have chosen. But this fulfills the Scripture that says, ‘The one who eats my food has turned against me.’ 19 I tell you this beforehand, so that when it happens you will believe that I am the Messiah. 20 I tell you the truth, anyone who welcomes my messenger is welcoming me, and anyone who welcomes me is welcoming the Father who sent me.”
21 Now Jesus was deeply troubled, and he exclaimed, “I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me!”
22 The disciples looked at each other, wondering whom he could mean. 23 The disciple Jesus loved was sitting next to Jesus at the table. 24 Simon Peter motioned to him to ask, “Who’s he talking about?” 25 So that disciple leaned over to Jesus and asked, “Lord, who is it?”26 Jesus responded, “It is the one to whom I give the bread I dip in the bowl.” And when he had dipped it, he gave it to Judas, son of Simon Iscariot. 27 When Judas had eaten the bread, Satan entered into him. Then Jesus told him, “Hurry and do what you’re going to do.” 28 None of the others at the table knew what Jesus meant.
Reader: “The word of the Lord.”
Response: “Thanks be to God.”
Eating together has always been a sign of friendship, fellowship, and unity. We go out to dinner with friends. We celebrate weddings, anniversaries, graduations, baptisms, even fellowship meals after funerals around the table. Such occasions are usually expressions of warmth and significant friendship. In the Psalm we have the sharp contrast expressed by David, that his best friend, the one he ate with, betrayed him. The friend had become an enemy. During His final earthly meal with His disciples, Jesus picks up on this portion of David’s psalm. He had just finished washing each of the disciples’ feet including Judas’. What do you think was going on in Judas’ mind as Jesus washed his feet? What was going on in Jesus’ mind since He knew what Judas was going to do? Judas had even heard Jesus tell the other disciples that one at the table would betray Him. Betrayal is based on complete trust. That is the hideous part. In Jesus’ case, He knew the largest picture of the Passion and used this event to further confirm for the eleven faithful disciples as to His identity as the Messiah. Notice that even in the betrayal of Judas, Jesus still dipped the bread in the bowl and gave it to Judas. He did not cut him off even though Judas was giving up his master to the enemy. Even at that point, it would seem that Judas had an opportunity to come clean and not follow through with his turning over Jesus. Notice Judas ate the bread, which rather than confessing, carried through on the betrayal. At that point Satan entered Judas. This is one of the rare places in all of Scripture where the devil enters a person. Jesus, who was never out of control in any part of His Passion, told Judas to leave and do his deed. Have you observed how calm Jesus remains through all of this? Read what follows. He simply continues on the course His Father has laid out for Him. He brings comfort and assurance to the rest of the disciples. He is not side-tracked or consumed in bitterness or revenge by the betrayal of Judas. He moves forward that God might be glorified. Not a bad example for all of us when we are betrayed by a friend. What wondrous love shown by our Savior.
MUSIC: “What Wondrous Love Is This?” by Robert Shaw Chamber Singers (Do not miss this!)
O Thou whose eternal love for our weak and struggling race was most perfectly shown forth in the blessed life and death of Jesus Christ our Lord, enable me now so to meditate upon my Lord’s passion that, having fellowship with Him in His sorrow, I may also learn the secret of His strength and peace. I remember Gethsemane; I remember how Judas betrayed Him; I remember how Peter denied him. Grant, O most gracious God, that I who now kneel before Thee may be embraced in the great company of those to whom life and salvation have come through the Cross of Christ. Let the redeeming power that has flowed from His sufferings through so many generations flow now into my soul. Here let me find forgiveness of sin. Here let me learn to share with Christ the burden of the suffering of the world. Amen.
–John Baillie, A Diary of Private Prayer, p.71.