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  • Writer's pictureDeborah


John 13:21b-30 ESV

Forgiveness Series

Just like all of you who have been on the planet for a while, I’ve faced a few difficult things in my life. When it’s been really hard, I have wondered how Jesus would handle this situation.

In other words years ago the saying ‘what would Jesus do’ became very popular. I think that saying is much more than a cheesy thought.

It’s deeply theological. Thinking what God who came to earth would do helps us to pause and consider our actions.

I wonder if we should coin a similar phrase that would remind us to consider our words.

I think Jesus was careful with His words. That’s why when we read His words in John 13:21b we realize He said something to His disciples that was earth shattering. Jesus revealed, “Jesus was troubled in his spirit, and testified, “Truly, truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.”

Given the fact that Jesus always chose His words carefully, we realize that this was a moment when Jesus really revealed His heart to His beloved. “Alexander Maclaren wrote of this remarkable section, John 13-17: “Nowhere else is His speech at once so simple and so deep. Nowhere else have we the heart of God so unveiled to us… The immortal words which Christ spoke in that upper chamber are His highest self-revelation in speech, even as the Cross to which they led up is His most perfect self-revelation in act” (

In the Upper Room Jesus knew this was his last chance to speak with His beloved followers. I don’t believe Jesus was concerned about what he was facing. I think He was concerned about His disciples. He wanted to do everything He could do to prepare them.

His disciples were really confused.

We learn in John 13:22-30, “The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he spoke. One of his disciples, whom Jesus loved, was reclining at table at Jesus' side, so Simon Peter motioned to him to ask Jesus of whom he was speaking. So that disciple, leaning back against Jesus, said to him, “Lord, who is it?” Jesus answered, “It is he to whom I will give this morsel of bread when I have dipped it.” So when he had dipped the morsel, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. Then after he had taken the morsel, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, “What you are going to do, do quickly.” Now no one at the table knew why he said this to him. Some thought that, because Judas had the moneybag, Jesus was telling him, “Buy what we need for the feast,” or that he should give something to the poor. So, after receiving the morsel of bread, he immediately went out. And it was night.”

From my end of it over 2000 years later, it seems pretty clear to me.

Jesus told His disciples one of them would betray Him.

They asked Jesus who would betray Him. Jesus told them it was the man He would give bread to and Jesus gave the bread to Judas.

Jesus even told Judas to go do what he needed to do.

Still the disciples didn’t understand.

I tend to think when we are over stressed we get confused and misunderstand what is going on. Even when Jesus made it really clear, it wasn’t clear.

I get that.

The last time I spoke with my dad I was 34 years old. I didn’t know for sure it would be the last time we spoke but I knew he didn’t have long to live.

He told me things to encourage and strengthen me. Looking back I now know he was thinking of me. He wasn’t thinking about dying. I don’t think he was afraid to die. He knew where he was going and he knew Jesus would be his guide.

I was so upset that I didn’t write down what he told me. In 1987 we didn’t have cellular phones so I could record our conversation.

I lived five hours away and the next day he took a turn for the worse. The night before he died I had a dream. In the dream my dad was walking through a tunnel and at the end of the tunnel there was a bright light. I was on the outside of the tunnel clawing at the outside trying to get into the tunnel. I was screaming but my dad didn’t hear me. He didn’t turn around. He held his head high and walked toward the light.

By the time I made it back he had made it to the light. He was safe in the arms of Jesus.

At first I didn’t know how I would survive life without my dad. I was married and I had four children ranging in age from twelve to four. But my dad had always been there for me.

In the days, months, and years ahead I grew up. I learned how to do life without my dad. Jesus was my guide and Jesus never failed me.

That’s what Jesus’ 11 disciples had to do. They had to carry on.

They were frightened and confused. Even though Jesus gave them clues about what would happen they didn’t really understand.

They slept through Jesus’ most difficult night in the Garden of Gethsemane before the arrest. Peter had promised Jesus he would never deny him (Matthew 26:35) and he denied knowing Jesus three times. Not just once or twice, but three times.

They failed. They failed. They failed.

John the son of Zebedee (also called the Beloved) was the only disciple who was present at the crucifixion.

The disciples must have been devastated and confused after Jesus died.

They lost their Master, their Leader, their beloved teacher and friend.

I cannot begin to imagine how they survived the next hours, Friday night, all day Saturday and Saturday night. They probably thought over and over again about things He said. They probably thought they must have missed something.

They were lost and alone.

Everything they had hoped for was gone.

But then…the sun came up Sunday morning and everything changed.


Forever, we are Forgiven.

Today’s Spiritual Practice is: Believe

Even when you sometimes feel alone, you are not alone. You are never alone. The Spirit of God is always with you. Believe and embrace forgiveness.

In God, Deborah


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