North Texas Conference Cabinet Holy Week Devotional For Wednesday

“The Betrayal of Jesus” by Rev. Dr. Owen Ross

Scripture: John 13:21-31

Focus: “Some thought that, because Judas had the common purse, Jesus was telling him, ‘Buy what we need for the festival.’ ” (29)

Owen RossThe news hit, “Very truly, I tell you, one of you will betray me.” John observed that the disciples “looked at each other” until Peter finally asked John to ask the Lord who he was talking about. Jesus then shows the disciples who the betrayer was by giving bread to Judas and telling Judas, “Do quickly what you are going to do.” John also observed, “No one at the table knew why Jesus said this to Judas,” and pointed out that some thought Jesus was sending Judas out for groceries.

How could that be? How did the disciples miss that Jesus said, “One of you will betray me … It is the one to who I give this piece of bread,” and then Jesus gives the bread to Judas and basically told him to get out? Then, when Judas left, they still didn’t recognize that Judas was going to betray Jesus?

I wonder if the disciples’ three-year discipleship under Jesus made them so gracious that they gave Judas the benefit of the doubt. I know most of us if we were about to eat our last suppers and our betrayer was at the table, we would have wanted to tell Judas to go quickly before even the smell of appetizers got to the table. In contrast, Jesus washed Judas feet and shared his own bread with him.

Lord knows there are certain people who I have a hard time extending grace to and giving the benefit of the doubt. I quickly question intentions and motives. If I am not vigilant, I can find myself cracking the doorway to my heart and allowing resentment and bitterness to sneak in. If the disciples had done this, they would have allowed Judas to ruin their last supper with their Lord.

None of us can know all that is going on with people: what stresses they have in their life; what they have been through; what all their motives or intentions are; or exactly how God is working in and through any situation. The disciples definitely could not have known the moment Judas left the room, Jesus would say to them, “Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him.”

Question for Reflection

  • Who am I not extending grace to, not giving the benefit of the doubt to, and not treating as the Lord desires in thought, word, or deed, and especially in thought?


Lord in this COVID-19 season, we are frustrated. Keep resentments from sneaking in and becoming bitterness. We acknowledge we see through a glass, darkly. Help us to extend the grace you have extended to each of us and to trust you are working in all things.


Rev. Dr. Owen Ross is the director of the Center for Church Development.

Published: Wednesday, April 8, 2020