“After saying these things, Jesus was troubled in his spirit, and testified, “Truly, truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he spoke. One of his disciples, whom Jesus loved, was reclining at table at Jesus’ side, so Simon Peter motioned to him to ask Jesus of whom he was speaking. So that disciple, leaning back against Jesus, said to him, “Lord, who is it?” (John 13:21-25)
Has someone ever betrayed you? A betrayer is a person you trusted and in whom you had placed your confidence who violated that trust and confidence. Synonyms include the words disloyalty, treachery, bad-faith, faithlessness, falseness, duplicity, deception and double-dealing.
While Jesus was in complete control of all the events leading up to and including His crucifixion, He was still troubled (ταράσσω; tarasso) and greatly distressed in His mind, emotions and will. This is the same word used of Jesus in John 11:33 and 12:27. It will also be used by Jesus in John 14:1 and 14:27. As one commentator explains, “Being human, Jesus was troubled over Judas’ soon betrayal of His love and friendship. Being divine, Jesus knew in advance that it would happen. Jesus sensed the spiritual hardness and deadness which sin had produced in Judas.”
Jesus then spoke in a familiar way by invoking the phase “truly, truly.” As we have already noted in previous texts from John’s Gospel, the phrase emphasizes that what Jesus was about to say was an important reality which was not to go unnoticed. Jesus said, ““Truly, truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” This was not mere speculation of Jesus’ part. He providentially knew that Judas’ betrayal was a certainty. This was a serious statement by the Lord.
The disciples, with the obvious exception of Judas, were in shock. “The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he spoke.” The word “uncertain” (ἀπορέω; aqporeo) means to be perplexed. In other words, the eleven did not know what to do or how to respond to Jesus’ statement.
Finally, Peter motioned to John. “One of his disciples, whom Jesus loved, was reclining at table at Jesus’ side, so Simon Peter motioned to him to ask Jesus of whom he was speaking.” Peter wanted to know who it was who would betray Jesus.
Dr. John Walvoord explains that “Simon Peter, the leader and perhaps the most emotional disciple, wanted to deal with the traitor. Luke 22:38, 49–50 mentioned that the disciples had two swords! The disciple whom Jesus loved was evidently John, the author of this Gospel. John and Judas were reclining next to Jesus, but Peter’s position at the table was not near enough to ask Jesus privately. So he motioned to John and asked him to ask Jesus whom He meant.”
John, in response to Peter’s request, complies. “So that disciple, leaning back against Jesus, said to him, “Lord, who is it?”
The IVP Background Commentary of the New Testament says, “Men would recline on couches at feasts (women would not dine in the same room with a gathering of men outside their family). Each person would recline slightly behind the person to his right; thus John could lean his head back and be even with Jesus’ chest. (They would lean on the left elbow with the right arm free and so could not cut up their food; it would come presliced at the banquet.) This beloved disciple (presumably John) has one of the most honored positions at the feast, along with the person on the left—perhaps Judas, as some commentators have suggested, given verse 26.”
When we meet again, we will see how Jesus identified His betrayer.
When someone hurts you, either physically or emotionally, it is hard to experience and often times harder to understand. There is a sense of violation. Thoughts come to one’s mind that raise questions about the sincerity of the betrayer ever having been a friend in the first place. There may also be emotional thoughts which prompt you to never again trust another individual. You vow never to allow yourself to be hurt again in the same way. What should you do?
Ephesians 4:31-32 says, “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”
Romans 12:9-21 says, “Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
Ancient words, ever true.
Soli deo Gloria!