John 13 tells us of our Lord washing his disciples feet, setting an example of serving one another, but it was not a command for regular foot washing as it would have just become a ritual. After this Jesus says, “one of you will betray me” (verse 21) causing much heart searching. We all need to ask ourselves, ‘Am I letting Christ down in something I do?’
Jesus hands Judas a “morsel of bread, he immediately went out. And it was night” (verse 30). Darkness had fallen, it was probably about 7 pm. Today is spiritual night – the darkness is becoming really dark. Are we taking regular morsels of God’s word or are we going out into the night? Constantly we should be seeking the fellowship and strength of the faithful. But are the faithful themselves feeling the chill of the night and the darkness?
At the end of chapter 13 Jesus said to Peter, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the rooster will not crow till you have denied me three times”. So this is the final night of darkness in the mortal life of Jesus: by the time darkness comes again he will be dead. The following chapters give a detailed account of what happened next. Jesus says they are to receive a ‘Helper’ “even the Spirit of truth … the Holy Spirit” (14:16,17,26) which, among other things, will enable you to “bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you”.
John’s gospel illustrates this wonderfully – from here to the end of chapter 17 are some of the most heart searching and challenging words in the whole of Scripture! Chapter 18 tells us they then went to “a garden which he and his disciples entered” (verse 1). In the garden the three disciples closest to him were supporting, but kept falling asleep. But not so Jesus! Imagine the intensity of his mind as that night progressed.
In the middle of the night comes a “band of soldiers with lanterns, torches and weapons …” (18:3). There were still hours to go before the cock would crow three times! What a night that was – how the disciples were frightened out of their wits by it all.
It is night now! How are we coping? Peter was crushed in spirit by the events of that night but later wrote of the night that confronts us. “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night, and then the heavens (rulers) will pass away with a roar … the earth and the works that are done in it will be exposed. Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness.”