Jesus often taught in parables – a simple story with a much greater meaning. Unfortunately, those around Him, including the disciples, didn’t always understand the meaning of His words. And there are times we don’t understand. Why do bad things happen to good people? Why did that baby have to die? Why did that family fall apart after they lost their mother? Why do wildfires destroy not only land but lives? Why? What does God really mean when He says the first must be last and the last will be made first? I’m often guilty of reading Scripture only to act indignant over the fact someone who had gotten to walk and talk with Christ in person couldn’t understand what He was talking about. I mean, there’s no language barrier, no lack of personal communication, no lack of actions matching words. But all the same could be applied when I’m seeking answers to my whys. The real reason we don’t understand everything is………..WE ARE NOT GOD. There are things we don’t need to know.
Today we’re reading from John 13:18-30.
18-20 “I’m not including all of you in this. I know precisely whom I’ve selected, so as not to interfere with the fulfillment of this Scripture:
The one who ate bread at my table
Turned on his heel against me.
“I’m telling you all this ahead of time so that when it happens you will believe that I am who I say I am. Make sure you get this right: Receiving someone I send is the same as receiving me, just as receiving me is the same as receiving the One who sent me.”
21 After he said these things, Jesus became visibly upset, and then he told them why. “One of you is going to betray me.”
22-25 The disciples looked around at one another, wondering who on earth he was talking about. One of the disciples, the one Jesus loved dearly, was reclining against him, his head on his shoulder. Peter motioned to him to ask who Jesus might be talking about. So, being the closest, he said, “Master, who?”
26-27 Jesus said, “The one to whom I give this crust of bread after I’ve dipped it.” Then he dipped the crust and gave it to Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot. As soon as the bread was in his hand, Satan entered him.
“What you must do,” said Jesus, “do. Do it and get it over with.”
28-29 No one around the supper table knew why he said this to him. Some thought that since Judas was their treasurer, Jesus was telling him to buy what they needed for the Feast, or that he should give something to the poor.
30 Judas, with the piece of bread, left. It was night.
And there you have it. Jesus had answered the question of who would betray Him. And the disciples reasoned what the betrayal might be – incorrectly but reasonably. God doesn’t always act in a way we consider reasonable. That’s something to be thankful for. He doesn’t feel the need to fit in the box that we have for Him. The disciples were thinking with a reasonable faith. We often do the same. Today we are challenged to fast from rationalism. As soon as I read that an image of Sheldon Cooper, lead character on “The Big Bang Theory”, popped into my mind. He would say without rationalism there is not meaning to anything. But King Solomon taught something entirely different in Proverbs 3:5-6. It’s a verse I first memorized while teaching children at Pleasant Grove Church in Hatton, MO. “Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him and He will make your paths straight.” So today, let’s all attempt to submit to God and not our own understanding.