'It was night': John 13.21–30 (22 March 2020)

Bible Society's Daily Reflections follow the M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, designed for those who want to read the whole Bible in one year. Each reflection focuses on one of its four daily chapters.



Lord, prepare me to receive your word. Clear my mind and warm my heart. Assure me of your loving purposes for me, and speak into my life today.



The Second Set of Stone Tablets

1The LORD said to Moses, “Cut two stone tablets like the first ones, and I will write on them the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke. 2Be ready tomorrow morning, and come up Mount Sinai to meet me there at the top. 3No one is to come up with you; no one is to be seen on any part of the mountain; and no sheep or cattle are to graze at the foot of the mountain.” 4So Moses cut two more stone tablets, and early the next morning he carried them up Mount Sinai, just as the LORD had commanded.

5The LORD came down in a cloud, stood with him there, and pronounced his holy name, the LORD. 6The LORD then passed in front of him and called out, “I, the LORD, am a God who is full of compassion and pity, who is not easily angered and who shows great love and faithfulness. 7I keep my promise for thousands of generations and forgive evil and sin; but I will not fail to punish children and grandchildren to the third and fourth generation for the sins of their parents.”

8Moses quickly bowed down to the ground and worshipped. 9He said, “Lord, if you really are pleased with me, I ask you to go with us. These people are stubborn, but forgive our evil and our sin, and accept us as your own people.”

The Covenant is Renewed

10The LORD said to Moses, “I now make a covenant with the people of Israel. In their presence I will do great things such as have never been done anywhere on earth among any of the nations. All the people will see what great things I, the LORD, can do, because I am going to do an awesome thing for you. 11Obey the laws that I am giving you today. I will drive out the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, as you advance. 12Do not make any treaties with the people of the country into which you are going, because this could be a fatal trap for you. 13Instead, tear down their altars, destroy their sacred pillars, and cut down the symbols of their goddess Asherah.

14“Do not worship any other god, because I, the LORD, tolerate no rivals. 15Do not make any treaties with the people of the country, because when they worship their pagan gods and sacrifice to them, they will invite you to join them, and you will be tempted to eat the food they offer to their gods. 16Your sons might marry those foreign women, who would lead them to be unfaithful to me and to worship their pagan gods.

17“Do not make and worship gods of metal.

18“Keep the Festival of Unleavened Bread. As I have commanded you, eat unleavened bread for seven days in the month of Abib, because it was in that month that you left Egypt.

19“Every firstborn son and firstborn male domestic animal belongs to me, 20but you are to buy back every firstborn donkey by offering a lamb in its place. If you do not buy it back, break its neck. Buy back every firstborn son.

“No one is to appear before me without an offering.

21“You have six days in which to do your work, but do not work on the seventh day, not even during ploughing time or harvest.

22“Keep the Harvest Festival when you begin to harvest the first crop of your wheat, and keep the Festival of Shelters in the autumn when you gather your fruit.

23“Three times a year all your men must come to worship me, the LORD, the God of Israel. 24After I have driven out the nations before you and extended your territory, no one will try to conquer your country during the three festivals.

25“Do not offer bread made with yeast when you sacrifice an animal to me. Do not keep until the following morning any part of the animal killed at the Passover Festival.

26“Each year bring to the house of the LORD the first corn that you harvest.

“Do not cook a young sheep or goat in its mother's milk.”

27The LORD said to Moses, “Write these words down, because it is on the basis of these words that I am making a covenant with you and with Israel.” 28Moses stayed there with the LORD forty days and nights, eating and drinking nothing. He wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant — the Ten Commandments.

Moses Goes Down from Mount Sinai

29When Moses went down from Mount Sinai carrying the Ten Commandments, his face was shining because he had been speaking with the LORD; but he did not know it. 30Aaron and all the people looked at Moses and saw that his face was shining, and they were afraid to go near him. 31But Moses called them, and Aaron and all the leaders of the community went to him, and Moses spoke to them. 32After that, all the people of Israel gathered round him, and Moses gave them all the laws that the LORD had given him on Mount Sinai. 33When Moses had finished speaking to them, he covered his face with a veil. 34Whenever Moses went into the Tent of the LORD's presence to speak to the LORD, he took the veil off. When he came out, he would tell the people of Israel everything that he had been commanded to say, 35and they would see that his face was shining. Then he would put the veil back on until the next time he went to speak to the LORD.

Jesus Washes his Disciples' Feet

1It was now the day before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. He had always loved those in the world who were his own, and he loved them to the very end.

2Jesus and his disciples were at supper. The Devil had already put into the heart of Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, the thought of betraying Jesus. 3Jesus knew that the Father had given him complete power; he knew that he had come from God and was going to God. 4So he rose from the table, took off his outer garment, and tied a towel round his waist. 5Then he poured some water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet and dry them with the towel round his waist. 6He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Are you going to wash my feet, Lord?”

7Jesus answered him, “You do not understand now what I am doing, but you will understand later.”

8Peter declared, “Never at any time will you wash my feet!”

“If I do not wash your feet,” Jesus answered, “you will no longer be my disciple.”

9Simon Peter answered, “Lord, do not wash only my feet, then! Wash my hands and head, too!”

10Jesus said, “Those who have had a bath are completely clean and do not have to wash themselves, except for their feet. All of you are clean — all except one.” 11(Jesus already knew who was going to betray him; that is why he said, “All of you, except one, are clean.”)

12After Jesus had washed their feet, he put his outer garment back on and returned to his place at the table. “Do you understand what I have just done to you?” he asked. 13“You call me Teacher and Lord, and it is right that you do so, because that is what I am. 14I, your Lord and Teacher, have just washed your feet. You, then, should wash one another's feet. 15I have set an example for you, so that you will do just what I have done for you. 16I am telling you the truth: slaves are never greater than their master, and messengers are never greater than the one who sent them. 17Now that you know this truth, how happy you will be if you put it into practice!

18“I am not talking about all of you; I know those I have chosen. But the scripture must come true that says, ‘The man who shared my food turned against me.’ 19I tell you this now before it happens, so that when it does happen, you will believe that ‘I Am Who I Am.’ 20I am telling you the truth: whoever receives anyone I send receives me also; and whoever receives me receives him who sent me.”

Jesus Predicts his Betrayal

21After Jesus had said this, he was deeply troubled and declared openly, “I am telling you the truth: one of you is going to betray me.”

22The disciples looked at one another, completely puzzled about whom he meant. 23One of the disciples, the one whom Jesus loved, was sitting next to Jesus. 24Simon Peter motioned to him and said, “Ask him whom he is talking about.”

25So that disciple moved closer to Jesus' side and asked, “Who is it, Lord?”

26Jesus answered, “I will dip some bread in the sauce and give it to him; he is the man.” So he took a piece of bread, dipped it, and gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. 27As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered him. Jesus said to him, “Be quick about what you are doing!” 28None of the others at the table understood why Jesus said this to him. 29Since Judas was in charge of the money bag, some of the disciples thought that Jesus had told him to go and buy what they needed for the festival, or to give something to the poor.

30Judas accepted the bread and went out at once. It was night.

The New Commandment

31After Judas had left, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man's glory is revealed; now God's glory is revealed through him. 32And if God's glory is revealed through him, then God will reveal the glory of the Son of Man in himself, and he will do so at once. 33My children, I shall not be with you very much longer. You will look for me; but I tell you now what I told the Jewish authorities, ‘You cannot go where I am going.’ 34And now I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35If you have love for one another, then everyone will know that you are my disciples.”

Jesus Predicts Peter's Denial

36“Where are you going, Lord?” Simon Peter asked him.

“You cannot follow me now where I am going,” answered Jesus; “but later you will follow me.”

37“Lord, why can't I follow you now?” asked Peter. “I am ready to die for you!”

38Jesus answered, “Are you really ready to die for me? I am telling you the truth: before the cock crows you will say three times that you do not know me.

Solomon's Proverbs

1These are Solomon's proverbs:

Wise children make their fathers proud of them; foolish ones bring their mothers grief.

2Wealth that you get by dishonesty will do you no good, but honesty can save your life.

3The LORD will not let good people go hungry, but he will keep the wicked from getting what they want.

4Being lazy will make you poor, but hard work will make you rich.

5A sensible person gathers the crops when they are ready; it is a disgrace to sleep through the time of harvest.

6Good people will receive blessings. The words of the wicked hide a violent nature.

7Good people will be remembered as a blessing, but the wicked will soon be forgotten.

8Sensible people accept good advice. People who talk foolishly will come to ruin.

9Honest people are safe and secure, but the dishonest will be caught.

10Someone who holds back the truth causes trouble, but one who openly criticizes works for peace.

11A good person's words are a fountain of life, but a wicked person's words hide a violent nature.

12Hate stirs up trouble, but love overlooks all offences.

13Intelligent people talk sense, but stupid people need to be punished.

14The wise get all the knowledge they can, but when fools speak, trouble is not far off.

15Wealth protects the rich; poverty destroys the poor.

16The reward for doing good is life, but sin leads only to more sin.

17People who listen when they are corrected will live, but those who will not admit that they are wrong are in danger.

18Anyone who hides hatred is a liar. Anyone who spreads gossip is a fool.

19The more you talk, the more likely you are to sin. If you are wise, you will keep quiet.

20A good person's words are like pure silver; a wicked person's ideas are worthless.

21A good person's words will benefit many people, but you can kill yourself with stupidity.

22It is the LORD's blessing that makes you wealthy. Hard work can make you no richer.

23It is foolish to enjoy doing wrong. Intelligent people take pleasure in wisdom.

24The righteous get what they want, but the wicked will get what they fear most.

25Storms come, and the wicked are blown away, but honest people are always safe.

26Never get a lazy person to do something for you; he will be as irritating as vinegar on your teeth or smoke in your eyes.

27Obey the LORD, and you will live longer. The wicked die before their time.

28The hopes of good people lead to joy, but wicked people can look forward to nothing.

29The LORD protects honest people, but destroys those who do wrong.

30Righteous people will always have security, but the wicked will not survive in the land.

31Righteous people speak wisdom, but the tongue that speaks evil will be stopped.

32Righteous people know the kind thing to say, but the wicked are always saying things that hurt.

Paul's Work for the Gentiles

1For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles, pray to God. 2Surely you have heard that God in his grace has given me this work to do for your good. 3God revealed his secret plan and made it known to me. (I have written briefly about this, 4and if you will read what I have written, you can learn about my understanding of the secret of Christ.) 5In past times human beings were not told this secret, but God has revealed it now by the Spirit to his holy apostles and prophets. 6The secret is that by means of the gospel the Gentiles have a part with the Jews in God's blessings; they are members of the same body and share in the promise that God made through Christ Jesus.

7I was made a servant of the gospel by God's special gift, which he gave me through the working of his power. 8I am less than the least of all God's people; yet God gave me this privilege of taking to the Gentiles the Good News about the infinite riches of Christ, 9and of making all people see how God's secret plan is to be put into effect. God, who is the Creator of all things, kept his secret hidden through all the past ages, 10in order that at the present time, by means of the church, the angelic rulers and powers in the heavenly world might learn of his wisdom in all its different forms. 11God did this according to his eternal purpose, which he achieved through Christ Jesus our Lord. 12In union with Christ and through our faith in him we have the boldness to go into God's presence with all confidence. 13I beg you, then, not to be discouraged because I am suffering for you; it is all for your benefit.

The Love of Christ

14For this reason I fall on my knees before the Father, 15from whom every family in heaven and on earth receives its true name. 16I ask God from the wealth of his glory to give you power through his Spirit to be strong in your inner selves, 17and I pray that Christ will make his home in your hearts through faith. I pray that you may have your roots and foundation in love, 18so that you, together with all God's people, may have the power to understand how broad and long, how high and deep, is Christ's love. 19Yes, may you come to know his love — although it can never be fully known — and so be completely filled with the very nature of God.

20To him who by means of his power working in us is able to do so much more than we can ever ask for, or even think of: 21to God be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus for all time, for ever and ever! Amen.


Daily Reflection: John 13

In John's Gospel, the heart of the story of the Last Supper is Jesus washing his disciples' feet. It demonstrates the relationship all believers are to have with one another, and particularly the relationship leaders are to have with their followers.

We don't know what led Judas to betray Jesus, but by this time he was too far gone. Having shared the last meal, he leaves to do his last devil's work.

One of John's themes is the contrast between light and darkness. In the previous chapter Jesus warns people to 'Continue on your way while you have the light, so that the darkness will not come upon you' (12.35). After Judas leaves the gathering, John writes bleakly, 'It was night': he has gone out into the darkness.

In the developed Western world, we don't really understand darkness. Most of us live in cities that are never really dark. If we live in the country and we're out in the fields we have powerful torches that shed light at the touch of a button. John's readers knew what a  moonless night was really like: true darkness was bewildering and dangerous.

Judas's tragedy tells us that if we turn away from the light of Jesus, we become vulnerable to any kind of temptation. We should never think we aren't capable of betraying Christ; indeed, we do it far too often.



God, help me to walk in the light of Christ, and to be wise and strong enough to turn away from darkness. Forgive me for the times I have betrayed him, and have mercy on me.

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