Read: John 13:21-30
Imagine what it would be like to read other people’s minds. It seems like an awesome power to have, right? You could know what your friends are thinking without asking. You could find out what other people think about you. You could relate to people’s pain in a unique way because you understand them. You could give people ideas that they’re not yet considering. But while this all may sound great at first, it could also be dangerous. You’d find out more than you want to know about those closest to you.
Jesus is troubled in spirit in John 13:21 because He knows that one of His own disciples is about to betray Him. His knowledge of Judas’ plot to turn Him over to the high priests grieved him. He even explicitly identifies Judas as his betrayer in verse 26 because He knows for sure what Judas is about to do. Judas carries out his plan with alacrity, leaving as soon as Jesus hands him a piece of bread, at which point verse 27 says that Satan himself entered Judas.
The fact that Jesus knows that Judas will turn against Him is already impressive, but even more so is the seemingly small gesture Jesus makes toward His disloyal friend the moment before he leaves the table. Jesus offers Judas a piece of bread. This clearly fulfills the prophecy quoted in John 13:18, but also signifies something deeper. Charles Caldwell Ryrie, an American theologian, says that in Eastern cultures, offering a piece of bread to a special guest was a custom displaying special friendship and honor. Jesus extends love and peace, even in His knowledge of the horror that would come to Him because of Judas. Jesus offers His enemy grace and reconciliation through Himself.
Jesus loved his enemies, absolutely humbling Himself. He stood in the face of evil by extending friendship out of true and authentic love. Even Jesus’ knowledge of the betrayal doesn’t stop Him from being perfectly selfless, regardless of the pain it caused Him to know.
How can your small gestures show profound love to your enemies? How can you reach out in peace instead of retaliating or holding a grudge?