Today's Life Journal readings are Jeremiah 7, Jeremiah 8, Jeremiah 9, and John 13.
Scripture: John 13:27 (NIV)
"As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered him."
The author of John is giving us his version of the last supper in this chapter. After Jesus loved them by washing their feet, he sat back down and told them that they would be blessed by serving others. Then he said the words in verse 27.
Jesus may have dropped hints before that not every disciples' intentions were honorable. In Matthew and in Mark, Jesus calls one of the Twelve Satan. Jesus talks of being denied by one of his closest followers. Then we have the dipped bread in this scene, which sets in motion a series of events that would eventually lead to death.
This one bothers me. When asked by the Twelve who the betrayer would be, Jesus said that it would be the one to whom he would hand the dipped bread. He then dips the bread and hands it to Judas. Scripture says that it was then that Satan entered him. I admit, that bothers me.
No doubt Judas was becoming disillusioned. Jesus' teachings had shifted from the image of Messiah found in the book of Daniel, a warrior king who would come in and overthrow the enemies of the people of God and establish a new kingdom, to images of a sacrificial Messiah who's death would be the redemption of his people.
Maybe Judas wanted to shake things up a bit, or even force Jesus' hand, and maybe Christ knew that and allowed it to happen just as the Psalm said. What do we do with the idea that, at least on a surface reading, Jesus may have chosen his own betrayer? What do we do with any of the scriptures that leave us scratching our heads?
O God of head and heart, teach me that you are even present in those times when I just don't understand. Show me how to teach even as I continue to learn. Amen.