Twenty-Ninth Day of Lent

John 13:21-30

“The LORD is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear” (Psalm 27:1)?  How often, in times of fatigue and stress, I have repeated this favourite verse and gained comfort and strength from the LORD, my light and my salvation.

Sadly, Judas Iscariot never recognized Jesus as his light and salvation. Even when Jesus offered the piece of bread to him, in a final appeal to reconsider his fateful decision, Judas did not change his mind. He accepted the bread and opened himself again to Satan.

Verse 30 of John 13 says, “As soon as Judas had taken the bread, he went out. And it was night.” At this moment, Judas turned away from Jesus, the Light of the world (John 8:12), into the darkness of the night—darkness which mirrored the darkness of his soul. This final decision led inevitably to his betrayal of Jesus later that night.

How was it that Judas, one of the twelve, would turn from the Light when he had walked closely with Jesus for 3 years, heard him teaching and bringing light to many people in need?  Perhaps Judas did not see himself as needy, one who needed light. He may have been proud that he came from a town in Judah, in the south, not from Galilee, as all the others had. He must have had the respect and confidence of the other disciples, however, since he held the money bag and managed the finances for the group. Perhaps he had a sense of entitlement, helping himself to money in the bag as if it were his, but he rebuked Mary for wasting her precious ointment on Jesus, not recognizing her gift for what it was, a costly act of devotion to Jesus. (John 12:6)  Judas also negotiated with the chief priests a price to hand Jesus over to them (Matthew 26:14-16). All the disciples were totally surprised at his duplicity, even Peter and John at the Last Supper, but it did not take Jesus by surprise. By then, Judas had set his course—he had turned his back on Jesus, the true Light of the world.

How often do we turn away from Jesus, the Light of the World, distracted by our own concerns and needs?  Instead, won’t you join me in looking once again to Jesus the Lord, who alone is our Light and our Salvation.

Laurel McAllister
Green Timbers Covenant Church
Surrey, BC