Advanced search Click here for the website of the current Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby

This is an archived website containing material relating to Dr Rowan Williams’ time as Archbishop of Canterbury, which ended on 31st December 2012

Skip Content

1 April 2015

Read today’s Gospel Reading John 13.21-32

In St John’s Gospel, the drama of Jesus' passion runs on two levels at once. The first is on the human level of intrigue, personal relationship and betrayal, and the second is at the spiritual level – a level without boundaries, without limits.

The linking phrase (verse  30) is 'and it was night'.  Though full of foreboding on the human level, this night is opening up, through the violence to come, on a spiritual level. Once and for all, Jesus will be recognised for who he really is, and God will be made known through him.

Yes, Jesus will be withdrawn from them. They will look for him. Mary will come looking, weeping at the tomb, and she will think 'why are you weeping?' a rather stupid question.  Where he is going, they cannot come. 

Many cultures make little distinction between physical and spiritual worlds. On the crowded canvas of our everyday lives, do we open our eyes to see the wider possibilities; to 'open a window' and see what God is doing in the situation where we are already so involved?

One reality spans these two worlds – it is the reality of love. Jesus offers his gift to his disciples – the new commandment of love, that we should love as he has loved us. Love is the window that opens to shed the light of God into our everyday lives.

Lord, shine the light of your love upon us – scatter the darkness of our fears. Amen.

Today’s Gospel Reading John 13.21-32

After saying this Jesus was troubled in spirit, and declared, ‘Very truly, I tell you, one of you will betray me.’ The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he was speaking. One of his disciples—the one whom Jesus loved—was reclining next to him; Simon Peter therefore motioned to him to ask Jesus of whom he was speaking. So while reclining next to Jesus, he asked him, ‘Lord, who is it?’ Jesus answered, ‘It is the one to whom I give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.’ So when he had dipped the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas son of Simon Iscariot. After he received the piece of bread, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, ‘Do quickly what you are going to do.’ Now no one at the table knew why he said this to him. Some thought that, because Judas had the common purse, Jesus was telling him, ‘Buy what we need for the festival’; or, that he should give something to the poor. So, after receiving the piece of bread, he immediately went out. And it was night.

When he had gone out, Jesus said, ‘Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once.