Lifted His Heel
This Summer we spent time in the Psalms in Jumpstart. Jesus’ words in John 13:18 may seem a little odd to us, yet familiar—“He who ate my bread has lifted up his heel against me” (ESV). This quote comes from Psalm 41 by David, which we read this summer. While we don’t really understand where the idiom “lifting the heel” comes from, we do understand it’s basic meaning—betrayal by a close associate. This phrase was literally true for David, but so often as happens with the Old Testament, this experience also pointed toward Christ’s experience who is the ultimate fulfillment. As one commentator writes:
“As David was betrayed by his trusted table companion Ahithophel, who then hanged himself V 2, (2 Sam. 16:20–17:3, 23), so Judas, Jesus’ close companion, betrayed Him and then hanged himself. Though Judas’ deed was foreknown by God, he was fully culpable. The fact that Jesus knew all this in advance (before it happens) and that it fit the Scriptures helped the disciples after the fact to believe God sent Jesus (John 13:19; cf. 14:29).”
(Bible Knowledge Commentary)
One of You Will Betray Me
These men had been walking together in close company for 3 years. Not only that, most of them probably knew each other before they started following Jesus in his ministry because they were from the same region. That being said, when Jesus says, “One of you will betray me,” the air was sucked out of the room. The tension was such that Peter, who is known for sticking his foot in his mouth, didn’t even want to ask too loudly about whom Jesus was talking—he made John do it.
Do It Quickly
We know the story, but in John’s retelling, he elaborates the Apostles’ confusion. Jesus identified his betrayer, but the disciples still couldn’t comprehend what was forthcoming. Remember that this group had just experienced the Triumphal Entry (John 12:12). Also, if you remember what I wrote back in John 10, the Jewish people of the time missed what Jesus as the Messiah was coming to do. The expectation was the reigning in of a King with Jerusalem at the center of world power, overthrowing Rome and every other world power. Psalm 2 is incredibly important for understanding the Jewish expectation. Thus, for Jesus to actually be captured and killed by the Romans only days after the Triumphal Entry was completely off their radar.
John tells us “no one at the table knew why [Jesus] said this to [Judas].” He even provides us with an idea of what the Apostles’ thought might be happening—Judas was buying provisions or giving money to the poor. However, as John says, “It was night,” and Jesus had a mission to complete so his time was running out.
Although Jesus experienced betrayal on a level none of us could comprehend, he did so to inaugurate forgiveness that is equally incomprehensible. Unforgiveness is a cancer of the mind that is completely one-sided—it only hurts you. If there is any unforgiveness in your life, write down the name of that person on a piece of paper and begin praying for them. The day that God gives you the grace to forgive them, throw it away to symbolically give it back to God. (Matt 18:23–35)
By: Tyler Short