“After He had said this, Jesus was troubled in spirit and testified, ‘Very truly I tell you, one of you is going to betray me.’ His disciples stared at one another, at a loss to know which one of them He meant. One of them, the disciple whom Jesus loved, was reclining next to Him. Simon Peter motioned to this disciple and said, ‘Ask Him which one he means.’ Leaning back against Jesus, he asked Him, ‘Lord, who is it?’
“Jesus answered, ‘It is the one to whom I give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.’ Then, dipping the piece of bread, He gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot…'” John 13:21-26 NIV.
Why was Jesus troubled in spirit? Was He thinking about all the suffering He was about to endure because of Judas’ treachery? I hardly think so because it did not fit with His disposition.
He was supremely un-preoccupied with Himself. It was either His Father and the kingdom of God or people in need that took His attention. Even on the occasion when He had taken His disciples to a deserted place so that He could spend time with them away from the people who were always clamouring for His attention, He was not annoyed when they arrived en mass to spoil their day. Instead, His heart went out to them in compassion because they were like sheep without a shepherd.
On His way to the cross, the women en route were wailing because of Him. In the midst of His weakness and pain He turned to them and said, “Don’t weep for me. Weep for yourselves and for your children.’ He was more concerned about the suffering that was coming upon them when the Romans destroyed Jerusalem than He was for Himself.
As formidable as the next few hours were going to be, Jesus was grieved because of what Judas was bringing upon himself by his choice to sell Him out for a few pieces of silver. Psalm 7:11 (KJV) says, “God judgeth the righteous and God is angry with the wicked every day.”
Why is God angry? There are several reasons why He is angry; the wicked have disregarded and trampled His glory under foot; they have ignored His laws and set up their own rules; they have worshipped themselves as gods; but most of all they have wasted their potential to become what God created them to be — sons of the Most High God.
God is love. His passionate love for everything He has created is the outflow of who He is. He created the universe to be the home of the creatures He had made in His own image and placed them on the earth, a tiny planet spinning in the vastness of space in a cosmos held together by His powerful word so that He could lavish His love on us. To live as we like without any regard for the God whose goodness is towards us, is the worst possible insult we can throw at Him.
Judas could have enjoyed all the bounty of God’s love, revealed to Him in Jesus whom he had followed for three and half years, had he only submitted his heart to Him instead of choosing his own way. But Judas judged himself by choosing his way. His “reward” was pathetically miniscule and short-lived because he judged himself unworthy of God’s love and forgiveness…. and Jesus grieved because He knew what could have been.
I think Jesus was disturbed because of Judas’ fall for the devil’s deception. Satan lured him with the reward of a few pieces of silver or the hope of a place in an earthly government under Jesus, free from Roman oppression, but what was that compared with a conscience free from guilt and a place of authority in God’s eternal kingdom?
How He must grieve over us when we exchange the vast treasure of what He has promised us if we follow Him for the miserable trinkets of the world that are as transient as this life. Yes, we choose our own reward, be it a place in God’s eternal kingdom with Christ on His throne, or an eternity of loss and regret because we refused to believe the truth and fell for the devil’s deception because we thought we knew better.
Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.