How can we recover from rejection? Part 6

“Having received the piece of bread, he then went out immediately. And it was night.” John 13:30

In our study of John 13:18-30, we are learning that we can recover from rejection when we…

– Look to the Bible for God’s purpose (John 13:18).

– Let Christ deepen our faith in His Person (John 13:19).

– Learn not to take rejection personally (John 13:20).

– Lay aside our denial of pain (John 13:21).

– Lean on Jesus for His power to forgive (John 13:22-26).

The sixth and final we can recover from rejection is to LINGER IN JESUS’ PRESENCE (John 13:27-30). “Now after the piece of bread, Satan entered him. Then Jesus said to him, ‘What you do, do quickly.’ ” (John 13:27). While Judas took the piece of bread from Jesus, we are not told that he ate it as a sign of receiving the Messiah’s offer of salvation. In fact, John 17:12 would indicate that Judas did not believe in Christ for salvation as Christ refers to him as the “son of perdition” who is “lost.”  Also, it appears that “Satan entered” Judas after he took“the piece of bread” (John 13:27) which suggests Judas did not eat it. Judas’ persistent unbelief toward Christ allowed Satan to enter his body and take control of him so he could do his evil work “quickly.”

John informs us, “But no one at the table knew for what reason He said this to him.” (John 13:28). When Jesus told Judas to do his work quickly (John 13:27), the disciples did not know the meaning of Jesus’ words. Even John must have missed the meaning of Christ’s words until later. “For some thought, because Judas had the money box, that Jesus had said to him, ‘Buy those things we need for the feast,’ or that he should give something to the poor.” (John 13:29). Since Judas was the treasurer, some of the disciples thought Jesus was telling Judas to go “buy those things… for the feast” of Unleavened Bread which would start on Friday at 6 pm. The disciples did not suspect Judas’ act of treachery. They did not know Judas’ heart like the Lord Jesus did. Judas deceived his fellow disciples, but he could not deceive the Lord.

“Having received the piece of bread, he then went out immediately. And it was night.” (John 13:30). The phrase “having received the piece of bread” along with verse 27 indicates that Satan’s control of Judas and Judas’ departure from Jesus must have been simultaneous. Judas would miss out on the Lord’s Supper and Jesus’ deeper teaching on discipleship (John 13:31-17:26).

John’s mention of it being “night”is not just a time reference, especially when we consider John’s contrast of light and darkness in his gospel (John 1:4-5; 3:19-21; 8:12; 12:35-36) and other writings (I John 1:5-7; 2:8-11). Judas was leaving the Light of the world (Jesus) and going out into the darkness of sin, devoid of God and without direction. Judas chose the darkness of sin and death instead of choosing the Light. Wilkin writes, “How fitting that Judas would betray Jesus during the time of darkness. An unbeliever reading these words would easily be highly disturbed. Going away from Jesus in unbelief leads one into the darkness. To avoid an eternal darkness, forever separated from Jesus and His kingdom of light, one must believe in Him.” 1

In order for believers to recover from rejection, they must remain close to the Light of the world, Jesus Christ, and not withdraw from His presence into the spiritual darkness of sin. John alludes to this in his first epistle. 9 He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now. 10 He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him. 11 But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.” (I John 2:9-11). AChristian cannot remain close to Christ if he hates his Christian “brother” who may have rejected him. If we continue to hate those who have hurt us, we will walk in darkness out of fellowship with God. The longer we walk in darkness, the more difficult it is to come back into the light of God’s will and love.

Several years ago, my wife and I went to the Alabaster Caverns State Park in northern Oklahoma which has a three-quarter mile alabaster cave. We took a guided tour into the cave and when we were about half a mile inside the cave, they turned all the lights off, leaving us in total darkness for a few minutes. Our tour guide told us that the longer a person lives in total darkness, the more difficult it is to adjust to living in the light again. Just being in a dark movie theatre a couple of hours makes it difficult to go back outside on a bright sunny day.

Likewise, the longer we live in the darkness of sin, the more difficult it is to come back into the presence of the Light of the world. However, when we choose to forgive those who reject us, it enables us to walk in the light of fellowship with Christ and remain close to Him.

We need to face our hurts from rejection, but we do not need to do it alone. Jesus is there to guide us through this process of recovering from rejection. He understands how we feel and He guarantees that He will never leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 4:15; 13:5). Knowing this, provides the security and strength we need to release our hurt to Him and rely on His power to forgive our betrayers and stay close to our understanding Savior and Lord.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, I praise You because even though the world around me is growing very dark, You remain the Light of the world shining brightly as the Way, the Truth, and the Life. As the Way, You provide direction for me to recover from rejection. As the Truth, You expose the lies that keep me from forgiving those who have rejected me. And as the Life, You teach me how to experience Your life abundantly by staying close to You. Thank You, my Lord and my God! In Your holy and loving name I pray. Amen.  


1. Robert N. Wilkin, “The Gospel According to John,” The Grace New Testament Commentary, Vol. 1: Matthew – Acts (Denton, TX: Grace Evangelical Society, 2010), pg. 441.

How does the Light of the World effect those who refuse to believe?

“And Jesus said, ‘For judgment I have come into this world, that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may be made blind.’” John 9:39

Jesus came into this world to bring “judgment” based on how people respond to Him. “Those who do not see may see” (9:39a) refers to those who admit their spiritual blindness and sin and call out to Christ to heal them of their spiritual blindness so they might see and believe the gospel. Christ will give spiritual sight to those who admit their spiritual blindness and their need for God’s forgiving grace. He will forgive those who come to Him in faith. 

“Those who [think they] see may be made blind” (9:39b), refers to the self-righteous, like the Pharisees, who refused to admit they were spiritually blind. They thought they already could see spiritually. Jesus came to show unbelievers like these religious experts that they were spiritually blind. Their works-salvation was spiritual blindness. Christ does not forgive the self-righteous because they do not see their need to come to Him for forgiveness. Instead, they are deceived by their own sin into thinking that they can be saved by their own works.

The deceitfulness of sin often makes self-righteous people,who are in the greatest need of God’s help, think that they are the most spiritually enlightened people. Only God’s Spirit, using God’s Word, can break through that deep darkness, to bring conviction of spiritual blindness, and to create an openness to the gospel.

Christ says to these spiritually blind religious leaders, “If you recognized your spiritual blindness and acknowledged your sin and guilt, you would have come to Me for forgiveness. And I would have forgiven you so “you would have no sin” (9:41a). But because you claim to have spiritual sight and deny your own sin, and refuse to come to Me for forgiveness, “your sin remains” (9:41b). These leaders refused to admit their sinfulness and need for a Savior. Therefore, their sins remain. They were swollen with pride. They loved the darkness and hated the Light. 

Someone once said, “The same sun that melts butter, hardens clay.” Light gives sight to some and it blinds others. Jesus has the same effects as the Light of the world (John 8:12; 9:5). The physical and spiritual healing of the man born blind reveals the healing power of Jesus Christ toward those who respond in faith toward Him (John 3:36a). But it also reveals the condemning power of Jesus Christ toward those who refuse to believe in Him (John 3:36b).