We all know that God loves the world. But I’m afraid that we think of it as God loving us as one big gaggle down here, without any particular love for the individual. But when I say that Jesus loved his disciples, I am going way beyond the idea of a collective love. Jesus had spent 3 1⁄2 years with these 12 men. They had laughed together, cried together, slept on the ground around a campfire together. They had faced hardship and fear together. They had eaten together and been hungry together. He had taken them places and showed them things they had never seen before—never even imagined before. He loved them so much that he was prepared to die for them. He loved all of them, individually, even Judas.
Here we are at the Last Supper and Jesus tells them,
I have really wanted to share this last Passover with you before I suffer.
21 […] Verily, verily, I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me.
22 Then the disciples looked one on another, doubting of whom he spake.
23 Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved.
24 Simon Peter therefore beckoned to him, that he should ask who it should be of whom he spake.
25 He then lying on Jesus’ breast saith unto him, Lord, who is it?
26 Jesus answered, He it is, to whom I shall give a sop, when I have dipped it. And when he had dipped the sop, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon.
27 And after the sop Satan entered into him. Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly.
28 Now no man at the table knew for what intent he spake this unto him.
29 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.
30 He then having received the sop went immediately out: and it was night.
I don’t think event is very well-understood by many people. Why did it have to be so? Why would Jesus choose a man that he knew would betray him in the end?