Posts Tagged ‘inky blackness’

judasJohn 21:21-32 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.

• • •

Today’s word is NIGHT. Judas’s betrayal is underlined by the Gospel’s ominous words, “…and it was night.” Even as the darkness was approaching, we see the loving hospitality of Jesus, sharing bread with one he treated as a friend. Though Jesus knew what was to be in his betrayer’s heart, yet still he engages him in deep conversation at the table. How deep must be the pull of darkness when the light of Christ’s friendship and kindness cannot break through!

Judas’s story reminds us that closeness to the Savior is not enough. The light of living faith must be present to illuminate the inky blackness of our hearts. The betrayer’s spirit was soon to be all night and no stars; pitch black, not allowing even the tiniest glint of moonlight to shine through. The source of this deep darkness? — “After he received the piece of bread, Satan entered into him.” Thus the chill depths of night fell in full force.

John Killinger comments on this scene:

Judas may have been almost as close to Jesus at the table as John, for Jesus had handed him the morsel. As treasurer of the group, he probably held a place of importance, perhaps even on Jesus’ left hand. It is likely, when Jesus spoke to him, that the others did not hear. “What you are going to do, do quickly,” said Jesus (v. 27). And Judas went out.

…There is an ominous note in John’s words “and it was night” (v. 30). Jesus had come as the light of the world, and he was opposed by the darkness (1:4-5). Near the end of his public ministry, Jesus had warned: “Night comes” (9:4). “If any one walks in the night,” he said, “he stumbles, because the light is not in him” (11:10). Now Judas had gone out into the darkness. Soon the darkness would appear to overcome the light.

And so Holy Week takes its ominous turn as we draw near to the Death of jesus (in this world). Stay tuned tomorrow for what happens next.

Prayer for Holy Wednesday:

Father, on this day I acknowledge you as the One who said in the beginning, “Let there be light” — and there was light. In the dark wilderness of our lives, your light leads the way.

I confess the darkness in my own heart; in fact, it frightens me how much I am attracted to the darkness. Even when you engage me in warm, bright kindness, I find myself feeling the pull of the night. Lord Jesus, be my Light and my Salvation this day. Send out your light and truth and let them lead me. May your word be a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Deliver my soul from death, my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before you in the light of the living.

Forgive me, renew me, and lead me, that in this holiest of weeks I may delight in your will and walk in your ways. Amen.