After Jesus finished the Passover meal with his disciples, he retreated to the Mount of Olives, which is just outside of Jerusalem, to pray. While there, he was arrested by a crowd led by Judas, one of his own disciples. Jesus’s choice to stay at the Mount of Olives was significant for two reasons:
- Jesus knew Judas would betray him.
In a previous conversation among the disciples, Jesus predicts that one of the twelve would betray him, even calling out Judas by name (John 13). The very night of the Last Supper, he makes a similar remark:
“The hand of him who is going to betray me is with mine on the table” (Luke 22:21).
- Judas knew Jesus would be at the Mount of Olives.
During the week leading up to Jesus’s death, he and his disciples had spent every night at the Mount of Olives:
Each day Jesus was teaching at the temple, and each evening he went out to spend the night on the hill called the Mount of Olives” (Luke 21:37).
Judas surely knew where Jesus would be on this particular night, yet Jesus didn’t try to hide.
Instead, Jesus invited Judas to his table to eat dinner together.
Jesus stayed the night in the very place Judas knew he would be.
You and I were a lot like Judas. We were full of ugly thoughts, misguided intentions, mixed-up priorities, and shameful feelings. Jesus saw our filthy sin, yet he invited us into his presence to give us freedom from it. The greatest irony is that the person who knows our flaws best, loves us the greatest.
You are fully known, and yet you are deeply loved.
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)