John 13 - And it was night...

Specific Text - John 13:21-30

Judas Iscariot - the one man in this world Jesus said it would have been better if he had not been born. How did he get to the point in life where he could do what he did? The answer is: one step at a time.

Yesterday in chapter 12, when John records Judas' objection to Mary pouring the expensive perfume on Jesus' feet, John also mentions that Judas was the group's treasurer, and that "as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it." It was probably a coin here and a coin there to begin with, but then it got progressively easier to take more. Judas gave the devil a foothold, and the devil climbed into his life.

Today in v2, John reports that the devil had "prompted Judas..." Literally translated it says that the devil 'threw the idea to betray Jesus into Judas' heart.' This means Judas' heart was open and unguarded. It was an easy shot for the devil. Having planted the idea in Judas' heart, all Satan had to do in v27 is simply "enter into him."

It would have been bad enough that Judas let himself be taken hostage if he was all alone, but this sad progression happened right under the nose of the rest of the disciples. They had to have noticed the changes going on in their friend, but nobody wanted to rock the boat and say something.

John has an elegant way of saying profound things in simple words, and he summarizes the lowest point in human history in v30:

And it was night.

We've been learning from the Psalms each Sunday lately of the importance of filling our hearts with God's Word, to keep all of our attention focused on growing closer to the Lord. Judas gives you an excellent example of what can happen when you leave your heart open and unguarded. If you don't keep filling it with the Lord, your heart will naturally wander off and get filled with something else.

In the next passage, Jesus will predict what will happen when Peter's heart wanders off, but by God's grace, Peter will realize his error and repent. Know that when you do from time to time leave your heart open to temptation, that your savior is always eager to draw you back to Him. A new morning has dawned!

Prayer for the day: Dear Father, please keep my heart focused on you so that I am not tempted to wander away. Help me to recognize quickly when I am being tempted, and fill me with your Spirit so that I always stay safely by your side. Amen.

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