This account takes place before the Passover (see John 13:1) but has echoes of the Last Supper as told in the other Gospels. There is no sharing of bread and wine, no mention of Jesus’ body and blood, but a focus on the betrayal that is about to happen.
Jesus speaks of his imminent betrayal, and Jesus gives the sign of dipping the bread in the dish and handing it to Judas. A Jewish person would recognise this sign immediately as a mark of special favour, for example a husband would give the piece of bread to his wife at the Passover table. Is Jesus trying to show Judas that if he turns back even now, he will be forgiven?
He chooses to leave, and it is night – the time we often fear, the time of darkness, when the light has gone. Yet Jesus says that it is now that the Son of Man is glorified (v.31). In the darkness the light shines brightly, and will continue to shine, though the shadows will hide it from our sight over these next few days.
Does this seem a dark time to you, when a virus that cannot be seen is wreaking havoc in the world, causing people to fall ill, resulting in panicked responses and stoking fear of death?
Friday is almost upon us, but Sunday is coming. There will be a way, through, and the light shines in unexpected places.