He then having received the sop went immediately out: and it was night.
The subject suggests —
I. THE TWO-FOLD AND EVEN CONTRASTED SIGNIFICANCE OF THE SAME THING.
1. The giving of the sop meant one thing to John, viz., who was the betrayer? It does not seem to have been fully understood (ver. 28), but that was its meaning. To Judas it was meant as a mark of kindness. There was no inconsistency in this. It was done for a good reason. It consisted with Christ's affection for John, not to allow the suspicion of betrayal to rest upon him, and with His love for Judas to show him kindness. But why should Christ so act when He knew the result? Because He invariably acted as though results were unknown. He knew that He would raise Lazarus, yet He gave way to grief. He knew who believed not and who should betray Him, but that did not lead Him to slacken efforts on their behalf.
2. And so the same providence now may convey a varied meaning according to our feeling or position. We are more susceptible at one time than another. A song may make glad feelings in one and sad in another, according to the mood. Let each learn what God says aside to him.
II. HOW MUCH MEANING MAY BE CONVEYED BY A LITTLE THING. In the very unobtrusiveness of the sop there was an element of power. It was better than if many words had been employed. The little friendly act was sufficient to flash the whole before His mind, and to discover the whole attitude of the Saviour. It was an intimation that it was not too late for repentance. Shortly before Christ put into a little service the great lesson of humility and serviceableness; shortly after He put great meaning into a look; and while sitting there He put meaning to all time into simple bread and wine. It needs only to have susceptible warm hearts to learn great lessons through little things.
III. THE DISASTROUS EFFECT THAT MAT FOLLOW FROM THE REJECTION OF AN APPEAL.
1. During all his declension Judas had the close attendance of Jesus, and therefore must have had every help toward a successful issue in his trial. And now a last appeal was about to be made. Would he say yes or no to the love of Christ. That was the turning point in his, as in every man's, destiny. And he was so infatuated with evil as to say No. And so Satan, who had only previously put the thought in his heart, now entered him, and the Spirit of the Lord departed from him. But as soon as the act was performed, the enchantment was gone, and he hurried himself into eternity.
2. And so Christ is continually making appeals to us, in some sermon, book, mercy, worldly loss. If we do not yield there will come a last and decisive appeal, and if we reject that, despair.
IV. HOW EXTERNAL NATURE REFLECTS AND MEETS STATES OF THE HUMAN SOUL. "It was night" — a congenial time for the deed of darkness. The children of darkness are dark within, and when Judas went out the dark thought of his mind was reflected there. Perhaps it was a relief to be away from the light, perhaps a suggestion of destiny. There is only outer darkness for those who "go out" from Christ. Let us accept Him now, from whose presence by and by we shall go no more out.
(R. Finlayson, B. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: He then having received the sop went immediately out: and it was night.