John 13:27b

Jesus said to him, “what you are going to do, do quickly.”-John 13:27b

Jesus was troubled, tormented, by what was to come. In his humanity, he absolutely did not want to go through with the crucifixion. Who of us would? Yet in his divinity, he understood that there was no other way. To save people meant the cross.

These eight words—“what you are going to do, do quickly”—were the only recorded verbal interaction between Jesus and Judas in the upper room. We are given one other glimpse of Judas a chapter earlier. In John 12:3, Judas criticized the woman who anointed Jesus. The gospel writers recorded no other verbal engagement between them.

Even though Jesus was “troubled in spirit,” he did not bargain with Judas, plead with him to reconsider, nor heap shame upon him. He spoke directly and without hesitation: “What you are going to do, do quickly.” Jesus knew his purpose and plan and he saw no need to put it off.

We typically fail to live with the same level of conviction. We bargain. We avoid others and delay difficult conversations. We use shame as a motivator. Rather than facing conflict head on, we dance around it. But Jesus taught us the value of directness.

Jesus, when I ponder your interaction with Judas, I am amazed at your directness. I tend to bargain, justify, or avoid difficult circumstances. Teach me to lean into my discomfort, having hard conversations when they are necessary, and to put my trust always in you. Amen.

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