What Love Looks Like in the Face of Evil.

In John 3:16-21, Jesus talks about the difference between light and dark. Those who would reject Jesus rejected that light due to their deeds being exposed.

Last week we talked about Jesus washing the disciples’ feet, but when Jesus came to Judas, He didn’t skip him. Jesus was instructing them on how to love in the face of evil.

When we talk about evil, we must recognize that the source of evil is real. Satan is real. Society depicts him as cartoonish; but he’s not just someone with horns, a tail, and pitchfork. In the face of evil, Jesus lovingly prepares the disciples for the true evil to come.

Jesus Shows Love Through His Knowledge and Authority

In John 2, God makes it clear that Jesus knows the hearts of all men. But if Jesus knew Judas’ heart and that he would eventually betray Him, why didn’t Jesus expose him openly?

In John 6:32-35, Jesus taught how His body and blood would be given for sinners. Many people did not understand or outright rejected Him and left. But Peter, representing all the disciples, said “we” are not going to leave. Jesus replied, “Did I Myself not choose you, the twelve? And yet one of you is a devil.” (See John 6:66-71.)

Jesus predicted several times that He would die and be raised again. He also predicted that one of His own disciples would betray Him. Jesus tells them that He knew this would happen, so that the Scriptures would be fulfilled. This was to show His authority.

Everything was under Jesus’ control. In John 13:19, Jesus tells them he was preparing them, because what was going to come wouldn’t make sense to them. He wanted their faith to be preserved in the truth.

Believers Should Show Love Through Christian Faith

“God gives us promises when He doesn’t necessarily give us explanations.”

In the parable of the soils, only one of the soils is true. Two of the others look identical to true faith, but they die off. Jesus tells us that even amongst true believers, there is unbelief.

When Peter is talking to Jesus in John 6:68-69, Peter is including Judas in his response. It may seem plain to us who are reading the account, but the disciples were ignorant of who would be the betrayer. Each of them wondered if it could possibly be them (Matt. 26). Sometimes unbelief believes the same things and affirms the same things as true belief.

People will fail you, but Christ is still on His throne. Jesus knows what it’s like when people treat you this way.

Judas spent 3 years in the presence of Jesus, experiencing a perfect friendship. Jesus treated Judas like any of the other disciples. He gave him leadership status as treasurer. We know from John 12 that Judas embezzled, but Jesus permitted it. The disciples had no reason to think Judas was a betrayer from how Jesus acted towards him. Jesus showed love without anger and without fear, love enough to literally wash the feet of His enemy. Yet within 24 hours, Judas would go from dining with Jesus to eternal torment.

In John 13:21, John tells us that Jesus became troubled in spirit. This is the same word used in John 11 at the tomb of Lazarus. In John 12, when Jesus was considering His own death, He was also troubled. Jesus was not just troubled about the impact on Himself, but also on the disciples.

Jesus was teaching them and us how to love because of our faith in Him. Jesus is in complete control and knows the outcome.

Application Points

In our lives, events can shatter faith or they can direct us to a fuller faith.

  • What if we look at this passage as a mirror? How do you respond if you are confronted with your sin? Judas had an opportunity to confess, but he did not. Judas saw following Jesus as a way of making money. He looked at Jesus as a financial opportunity. Do you go to Jesus as a way to get something? Or do you see Him as the One Who holds authority over your life now and in eternity?
  • How do you respond when Jesus says “one of your own will betray me”? What if this person went to your own church, maybe even holding a place of leadership, like Judas did, serving as a deacon or elder? How do we guard ourselves?
  • We are praying for souls to come to Jesus. But when we see someone who professes Christ still attempting to live how they want and holding on to their sin, the way we see them and pray for them is different. Follow Jesus’ example of how to love God and others in the face of evil. Pray also for yourself that you will be truly obedient to God until you breathe your last.

Tools for Further Study

Cross References to Explore:
  • John 3:16-21
  • John 2
  • John 6
  • 1 John 2:18-20
  • 2 Peter 2
  • John 11
  • John 12
  • Matthew 26