That Morsel of Bread

“Then after he had taken the morsel, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, “What you are going to do, do quickly.”” (John 13:27 ESV)

“So, after receiving the morsel of bread, he immediately went out. And it was night.”
(John 13:30 ESV)

I find it interesting that John mentions that famous morsel of bread [for Greek studs the word is only “morsel,” bread is assumed] two times, both in reference to after Judas had taken the morsel of bread, almost as if it was crossing the Rubicon for Judas.  Indeed, this is exactly what we find in the passage.

First, John links the fact that Judas takes the morsel of bread from Jesus with the point that Satan then entered him.  There is no turning back after the morsel.  Satan enters Judas; Jesus tells Judas to do what he must do and do it quickly, and Judas leaves to betray Jesus.

The thing to remember—and this is startling—is that dipping bread and sharing it with someone was a sign of honor.  The Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible says: “For the host to dip a piece of bread in the common bowl (or on Passover, no doubt bitter herbs in a container of something sweeter) and hand it to someone was normally a sign of honor to the person who received it.” Think about it for a minute.  Jesus has just washed Judas’ feet along with the rest of the disciples.  Now he proceeds to honor him at the supper, knowing all along that Judas was in the very process of selling him out to the authorities!  Inconceivable.

Second, it is after Judas takes the morsel that he immediately goes out.  It is almost as if the act is the decision.  Receive bread.  Leave to betray Christ.  Set this event in the context of the fact that Judas was with Jesus day after day after day for three years.  He saw the miracles; he heard the messages; he was present for the private communications. And…none of it grasped him.  Thirty pieces of silver was worth more than all of Jesus’ love and compassion and promises.  Amazing.

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