In his commentary, Binz points out the two disciples contrasted in this passage- the beloved disciple and Judas, the betrayer. The beloved disciple is never identified but many scholars belive that it is John. The gospel writer(John) wanted the beloved disciple to remain annoymous because he is the model disciple for us. He represents all Jesus' faithful disciples. It is also interesting that Binz pointed out how Jesus gave both disciples (The Beloved and Judas) gestures of his affections. The beloved lying next to Jesus' heart while Judas recieves the morsal. What these two disciples do after these gestures is contrasting- the beloved stays with Jesus all the way to the cross and resurrection while Judas leaves Jesus right after he takes the morsal.
I think there are times in all our lives when we have enjoyed the closeness Jesus shares with us (like the beloved disciple) and times when we have walked away from Him and denied His love and affection. If we read the verse before this passage, we see that Jesus was deeply troubled that Judas was going to betray Him. I can only assume that he feels the same way when we turn our backs on him. Judas didn't exactly know what was going to happen to Jesus or exactly why Jesus was going to die. But we do. We know. And yet we turn our backs anyway. Maybe we hurt Jesus more than Judas did. I wonder if Judas were to be in our shoes and were to know what he didn't know, if he would be a better disciple then us.
One of the questions in the study guide is "How have times of trial brought out both the best and worst in me?" I think that the trials of faith tend to bring out the best in me. I don't know why, but with each new trial, I seem to come out closer to His heart in the end. But, the trials of the last two weeks have not brought out the best in me. It started out with a sinus infection. The first thing I started to do was sleep through my quiet time in the morning. And in the past two days, I have had the worst hives of my entire life. Instead of getting on my knees and asking God for mercy, I have not prayed, I have been short tempered with my family, and I am generally miserable and not in the mood to "recline next to Jesus" like the beloved disciple. It seems that the trials of my health send me running back into the darkness. I have a much greater respect for those who physically suffer with real illness and even greater respect for those who suffer and still recline close to our Lord. May Our Lord have mercy on my soul.