John 13: 28-29.
Now no man at the table knew for what intent He spake this unto him.
For some of them thought, because Judas had the bag, that Jesus had said unto him, Buy those things that we have need of against the feast; or, that He should give something to the poor.
Had not Jesus just said that the man who received the wine-soaked bread would be the one to betray Him? Did they not see that exchange between Judas and Jesus? Did Jesus do it so quickly and privately that the disciples missed it altogether?
They did hear Jesus tell Judas to go quickly to do what he planned, but they took it to mean that Judas needed perhaps to pay for the meal, or give money to the poor.
Matthew 26: 25 gives us a little more insight into the conversation. The disciples had asked, I imagine in a near-panicked way, “Is it I, Lord?” And Judas, sitting next to Him, voiced the same question. Jesus, handing him the bread He had dipped into the wine, looked him in the eye and said, “You have said it.”
Then, we are told, Satan entered Judas completely. And Jesus saw it, saw the moment reflected in Judas’ eyes when he allowed Satan complete control of his behavior, all the while knowing that he was still loved by the Master. How did he know? The sop, the bread dipped in wine, was a token of friendship and hospitality. It must have tasted bitter in Judas’ mouth!
Never think for a moment that anything that happened during the next hours came as a surprise to Jesus. He knew exactly what would happen, did not shrink from it, and even suggested to Judas to hurry up and get it under way.
Neither is God surprised by our own lack of faithfulness. Still, He loves us. It’s an amazing thing.
What surprises me, though, is how the other disciples could have missed what was happening between Judas and Jesus. Maybe they were engrossed in conversation with each other, and missed the passing of the sop. Maybe they weren’t paying enough attention to see the nonverbal exchanges between Judas and Jesus. And clearly, they still trusted Judas. He must have been a very good actor.