After saying this Jesus was troubled in spirit, and declared, ‘Very truly, I tell you, one of you will betray me.’ The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he was speaking. One of his disciples—the one whom Jesus loved—was reclining next to him; Simon Peter therefore motioned to him to ask Jesus of whom he was speaking. So while reclining next to Jesus, he asked him, ‘Lord, who is it?’ Jesus answered, ‘It is the one to whom I give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.’ So when he had dipped the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas son of Simon Iscariot. After he received the piece of bread, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, ‘Do quickly what you are going to do.’
Theologian Ray Anderson in his book The Gospel According to Judas, relates being in a men’s room in San Francisco, and seeing in block letters with a felt tip pen across a mirror: JUDAS COME HOME – ALL IS FORGIVEN.
Here we see incarnate love shining through Jesus to the end as He reaches out to Judas. From the beginning Jesus has known what was in Judas’ heart, and that he was “the one who would betray him” (John 6:64). Yet we see Jesus giving Judas every opportunity to turn back, trying to save him from what he planned to do.
In today’s Scripture text we see Judas having been given the place of honor at Jesus’ side. Bible scholars believe that the bread which Jesus gives to Judas is the Charoset of the Passover meal, given by the host to single out a guest for special honor. Bruce Milne, in his commentary on John’s Gospel, says that this bit of bread Jesus gives to Judas “was a mark of special favour”. Such is the inscrutable, unfathomable love of Jesus as He ever seeks to draw even His betrayer close to His Father’s heart.
Jesus does call all of us home, telling us that all is forgiven! The old hymn, “Come Ye Sinners, Poor and Needy”, says it so well:
Let not conscience make you linger,
Not of fitness fondly dream;
All the fitness He requireth
Is to feel your need of Him.
By the way, who do you think wrote the words that Ray Anderson saw, JUDAS COME HOME – ALL IS FORGIVEN? (I think it was Jesus!)
What are there in Jesus’ words today to know; to feel; to do?