I tell folks when they read the Bible to read it slowly. Don’t rush through. It’s not a race.
Read slowly. Listen. Pay attention. See what God may be saying to you through the words you are reading. Something will jump out to you. Something will grab you. Something will say – look there! That’s important!
I was reading this morning in John on this Wednesday of Holy Week went something jumped out to me. I was reading the text where Judas left to betray, when I saw something I’d never really noticed before. Listen to John’s Gospel:
Jesus responded, “It is the one to whom I give the bread I dip in the bowl.” And when he had dipped it, he gave it to Judas, son of Simon Iscariot. When Judas had eaten the bread, Satan entered into him. Then Jesus told him, “Hurry and do what you’re going to do.” None of the others at the table knew what Jesus meant. Since Judas was their treasurer, some thought Jesus was telling him to go and pay for the food or to give some money to the poor. So Judas left at once, going out into the night.
Lots of stuff there, but what got me was that last sentence – “Judas left at once, going into the night.”
In John’s Gospel, light and darkness are big deals. Jesus is the light. He is the light of the world. He is called light over and over and over again. He is the light that has come forth into the world to shine God’s goodness and mercy and salvation.
And, likewise, where there is no light, there is darkness. And darkness is where we don’t want to be. Darkness is apart from Jesus. Darkness is sin and evil and destruction. Listen to what John says in chapter 3:19, “And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil.”
Light has come. But people loved the dark more than the light. They loved their sin more than His life. They loved their way more than His way.
So, today, what did Judas do – He left Jesus and went into the night. Into the darkness. To betray.
Today, you will have choices to make. Will you leave Jesus and go into the darkness? Into the darkness of sin? Of lust? Hate? Pride? Greed? Anger? Judgement? Rage? Will you leave the side of your savior and walk into the night?
We are called to be the children of light, not of darkness. May we not go chasing after the dark places. May we stick by Jesus’ side. May we not wander into the night.