April 28, 2011

The Light Betrayed In Darkness

Jesus is troubled three times in the Gospel of John. The first time was when He approached Lazarus' tomb (John 11:33). The second was after His entry into Jerusalem and the Greeks approached and want to speak with Him and He declares that, "The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified." The third is the fact that one of His disciples will betray Him. It doesn't surprise Him as He knew beforehand this would occur as it was the will of the Father. It did trouble Him though. It is indeed troubling even for us as readers and believers when we come across this set of passages in John. Who in their right mind would betray the Son of God. I guess that is the point. No one would betray the Son of God in their right mind. Only a mind or minds broken would.

It is within the 13th Chapter of John that something dark and twisted begins to take place. Something twisted and profound. The period of this Passover had been deeply disturbing and from all outward appearances - tormenting. They would continue on this course also. Jesus not only anticipated His death, He spoke of it with His disciples and told them that they were, "going to have the light just a little while longer". The anticipation of knowing your death is coming cannot be easy--even for Jesus. It is in the shadow corridors of chapter 13 that things turn downright sinister.

Who shall betray the Chosen One? We and Simon Peter are told via the disciple whom Jesus loved that it will be, "the one to whom I will give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.” Then, dipping the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas...as soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him. Not just a demon but Satan. this is the first mention in John of the proper noun. Before this time he had been referred to as the devil (John 6:70) but now we see the bastard son of lies and perdition, Satan himself. This is done to show definitively that Judas comes under the sway and authority of someone other than Jesus Himself.

The giving of bread is ironic if not symbolic. In His ministry Jesus had referred to Himself as the Bread of Life that had come down from Heaven (John 6:32-40, 48-51). Whose body and blood (a metonymy for life) results in eternal life. Such a powerful statement being misunderstood drives disciples away from Jesus and they stopped following Him. It was at that time when some of the disciples left that Jesus had made the comment, (v.71) “Have I not chosen you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil!”

Back in Chapter 12 we see Jesus give Judas the piece of bread before he departs under the power of Satan. John emphasizes bread and the giving of bread in the Gospel of John by repeating. We must pay close attention to anything in Scripture that is repeated. It is being repeated to draw attention to it due to its importance. With this act of giving bread to His betrayer Jesus symbolically offers Himself to Judas a final time. It is exactly at this time that Satan enters him. The power and principality that holds sway in this sinful and fallen world system. Judas not only betrays Jesus at this point but he betrays Him to His death.

What I find remarkable in this John 13:27 is the usage of grammar and syntax in Greek. The verse literally reads:

"μετα το ψωμιον - τοτε εισηλθεν εις - εκεινον - ο σατανας"
"after the morsel - then entered into- that one- the satan"

"That one"...as if Judas has now lost a sense of identity and has become something more than himself...or less. Judas, now under the authority of the powers of the dark. Not under the power of a demon or and evil spirit(s) but Satan himself. Scumbag. God has allowed the slanderer a foothold in Judas to use him as a tool to carry out the biggest miscarriage of justice in history---The Crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

"So, after receiving the morsel of bread, he immediately went out. And it was night." John 13:30

So Judas departs into the dark. He leaves the Light of the World to enter the betraying darkness.
In John's Gospel he uses the word [παραδίδωμι / paradidomi] or betray/betrayal. This words speaks of not only Juda's deed but also the Temple leadership. They too betray Jesus (God) when bringing Him to Pontius Pilate(John 18:30). Paradidomi implies the transfer of something or Someone from one realm of authority to another one. Jesus is given into the hands the world system (Satan's). he is delivered up to the custody of the world, to be judged, condemned, punished, scourged, tormented and put to death.

This is in stark contrast to Jesus Himself and God. God...and the act of giving. In contrast to the paradidomi of Satan, man and the world we see  [δίδωμι / didomi] or the give/gave from God. God gave us His Son (John 3:16). Paradidomi or betrayal is the behavior or act of one who does not believe. It literally means to toss, throw away or reject. Didomi or give is an act (of grace) out of love such as giving a gift (to the world). God gives His Son, in turn Judas and the religious leaders reject Him and take His life instead...or at least they thought they did. In actuality Christ "gave" [παρεδωκεν] or "surrendered" it of His own accord. Those boneheads couldn't even get that part right...unless God allowed it.

"So Jesus said to them, "The light is among you for a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you. The one who walks in the darkness does not know where he is going." John 12:35

What is Jesus saying here? HE is the light and they would be well advised to walk in It [Him]. It is clear that Jesus views the darkness as a realm or sphere that must be resisted. The realm of Satan. If you are of Christ and in Christ you will shine like a light in the darkness. What must also be considered is this...a light in the darkness is easily spotted and that skunk the Devil will do whatever he can to snuff it out. He will at least try to dim it. The more He can trip you up or get you to trip yourself up the dimmer he can make your light. Dwell fully in Christ and blaze like a torch in this dark world.

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