May 06, 2013
From the desk of Dr. A.J. Higgins
The Sensitive Christ
“When Jesus had thus said, he was troubled in Spirit
and testified, and said,
“… one of you shall betray Me.”
There must have been an almost palpable sense of anticipation in the upper room that evening. It was the commemoration of the Passover. The Lord Jesus had just washed their feet, an act of untold humility, and likely a bit humiliating for some of the disciples; they realized too late that they should have taken the low place.
To the small select band, He now introduced a subject that must have taken them by surprise. One of them was about to betray Him, to deliver Him up to His enemies. It was one of those who had eaten bread with Him – an Eastern mark of friendship and trust; he would actually lift up his heel, a universal mark of disdain, against Him. To their credit, they began to inquire among themselves which of them it was that would do this (Matthew 26:22). They had learned not to trust themselves.
The words that highlight our meditation are profound and worthy of our deepest and most thoughtful consideration. Why was He troubled? Was it that Satan had been able to gain a foothold among the band? Was it that one of them was choosing self-destruction instead of life? Could it have been due to the repercussions it would have on the fragile band of disciples? Was it His grief over the approaching hour that the betrayal would hasten? All of these were matters which normally would cause grief. But none is perhaps the most poignant.
The context is most revealing. Note that in verse 20, the Lord Jesus affirms that those who receive the disciples are, in effect, receiving Him. Likewise, those who receive Him are receiving the One that sent Him – the Father. Bring this syllogism now to the next verse. If receiving the Son means receiving the Father, then rejection of the Son must mean rejection of the Father.
What then was His deepest grief? Why was His soul troubled? It was not for what Judas was doing in rejecting Him; it was for what Judas was doing in rejecting the Father. The Lord Jesus was far more concerned with the Father’s honor than with His own. He felt far greater grief at the rejection of His Father than over His own rejection. His deepest grief, and His deepest joys were always linked with the Father, and not with Himself.
1. Was the purpose of His disclosure to the disciples of His betrayal by Judas, to unmask Judas or to strengthen the disciples (v 19)?
2. “Lifted up his heel against Me.” What is so significant about someone hitting you with their heel? Does it suggest kicking someone as they walk past you while they have their back to you?
3. In the Old Testament, the high priest wore the Urim and Thummin in the breastplate on his breast. Is there is significance then in the one who was leaning on Jesus breast being asked to find out of whom the Lord was speaking? Notice as well the different words used for ‘lying’ and ‘leaning’ in verses 23, 25.