122: A traitor among the disciples
The disciples were ashamed. When no one stepped forward to wash all those dusty feet, Jesus finally did it Himself.
One man among the disciples did not feel sorry and repentant at all. He sat among the others at the table. He put his lips to the cup from which His Master had drunk. He took the bread and ate some of the lamb. He dipped the bread in the sauce, just as his Master did. But his thoughts were busy with a horrible plan. He was about to betray Jesus.
Jesus knew what was in his mind and could bear it no longer. As He ate this holy meal with His disciples, Judas's thoughts made Him deeply unhappy.
His voice was full of pain when He said, "Truly, truly, I say to you, one of you will betray Me."
This threw an awful scare into the disciples. One of them was to betray Him?
They looked at each other with dismay in their eyes. Who would be capable of something so horrible?
"Am I the one?" each one thought. "Could I ever do such a thing? No, surely He means someone else!"
Sadly the disciples said to Jesus, one by one, "Surely You don't mean me, Master! Please say that I am not the one."
Jesus answered simply, "The one who will betray Me dipped his bread in the same dish I used to dip My bread. The Son of man will depart, just as it is written. But woe to the man by whom the Son of man is betrayed. It would be much better for that man if he had never been born."
The disciples looked at each other despairingly, still trying to figure out to whom Jesus was referring. Peter, seeing that John was sitting closest to Jesus, signaled him to ask Jesus who it was.
John understood at once. He leaned over to Jesus and whispered, "Lord, who is it?"
Jesus took a piece of bread in His hand and answered softly, "The one to whom I give this piece of bread after I dip it in the sauce." He spoke so softly that only John heard Him.
At that moment Judas bent over the table and said, "Surely You don't mean me, Rabbi!"
Jesus dipped the bread in the sauce and gave it to Judas. Looking into the eyes of His faithless disciple, He answered, "You have said it." He said this very softly.
This, too, was not heard by the other disciples. But John heard it. Now he knew who the traitor was. He looked at Judas in dismay, but he did not doubt for a moment
that Judas was the one. Judas's eyes were filled with hatred and rage as he took the bread Jesus offered him. It seemed as if satan had taken possession of Judas.
Jesus looked at Judas and said to him earnestly, "What you are about to do, do quickly."
No other disciple understood what Jesus meant by this. Judas looked after the money, and therefore some of them thought that he had to buy something for the meal. Perhaps he had to bring something to the poor.
They watched as Judas stood up and went to the door. His figure was outlined briefly against the dark night sky. Then he closed the door behind him.
The traitor was on his way to carry out his horrible assignment.