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Passion Week

Jesus Predicts His Betrayal

Scripture

John 13:18-30

Commentary

There are many reasons that the prediction of Jesus' betrayal is interesting.  At first glance it seems straight forward and not surprising since anyone reading the account already knows the ending to the story, that Judas betrays Jesus.

First of all, Judas' betrayal is a fulfillment of scripture as Jesus points out.  This doesn't mean that Judas is not responsible for his own actions, simply that it was prophesied long before that Jesus would be betrayed.

Perhaps most interesting in this passage is when Jesus announces that one of the disciples would betray Him.  The reaction is not that they were incapable of betraying Him but one of belief when they look around to determine which person would be the betrayer.  The disciples missed the point a lot before they were given the Holy Spirit but one thing they understand is the depravity of their souls.  While each disciple likely doesn't believe that they would do it, they all recognize that they are sinful and that there is at least a possibility of betrayal (although they probably don't think of the magnitude that Judas will betray Jesus.)

When Jesus reveals Judas as the betrayer by handing him the piece of bread dipped in the dish, the disciples don't realize that Jesus is identifying Judas as the betrayer.  While this appears dense of the disciples, the Holy Spirit has likely blinded them to the truth for the time being to prevent them from stopping what must take place.  If the disciples understood Judas was the betrayer, they would almost certainly prevent him from leaving if not kill him outright in order to protect Jesus.  Judas must betray Jesus to fulfill scripture and thus the disciples must be kept from realizing that he is the betrayer ahead of time.  With reflection it is obvious however.

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