18 I’m not speaking about all of you; I know those I have chosen. But the Scripture must be fulfilled: The one who eats My bread has raised his heel against Me. 19 “I am telling you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe that I am He. 20 I assure you: Whoever receives anyone I send receives Me, and the one who receives Me receives Him who sent Me.” 21 When Jesus had said this, He was troubled in His spirit and testified, “I assure you: One of you will betray Me!” 22 The disciples started looking at one another—uncertain which one He was speaking about. 23 One of His disciples, the one Jesus loved, was reclining close beside Jesus. 24 Simon Peter motioned to him to find out who it was He was talking about. 25 So he leaned back against Jesus and asked Him, “Lord, who is it?” 26 Jesus replied, “He’s the one I give the piece of bread to after I have dipped it.” When He had dipped the bread, He gave it to Judas, Simon Iscariot’s son. 27 After Judas ate the piece of bread, Satan entered him. Therefore Jesus told him, “What you’re doing, do quickly.” 28 None of those reclining at the table knew why He told him this. 29 Since Judas kept the money-bag, some thought that Jesus was telling him, “Buy what we need for the festival,” or that he should give something to the poor. 30 After receiving the piece of bread, he went out immediately. And it was night.
More infamous than Benedict Arnold or Hitler or Stalin is the man who betrayed the Son of God with a kiss, Judas Iscariot. Perhaps the most despised in the annals of human history is the man named last in every list of the disciples — Judas. The general concensus at the mention of his name is with contempt and disgust.
Judas emerges from the background of the gospel accounts to betray the Lord Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. Christ showed him nothing but love, reaching out to him with true compassion and genuine kindness, but in return he got betrayal.
In , Jesus and Judas come head to head — absolute purity and evil. The diabolical deed festered in the heart of Judas became umasked in the Upper Room. And the words of Jesus are ominous and yet revealed the character of God.
18 I’m not speaking about all of you; I know those I have chosen. But the Scripture must be fulfilled: The one who eats My bread has raised his heel against Me.
21 When Jesus had said this, He was troubled in His spirit and testified, “I assure you: One of you will betray Me!”
This sets forth the revelation of the sovereign counsel of God — “But the Scripture must be fulfilled.”
And yet, the responsibility of man — “has raised his heel against Me.”
And then — the response to it in verse 21 — “When Jesus had said this, He was troubled in His spirit.”
The story of Judas is profoundly sad. He had everything before him. He was called by Christ as one of 12 disciples. Think about the glorious beginning. For 3 years he traveled with Christ and then other 11 disciples. He listened as Christ taught. He saw the same miracles — making the deaf hear, the blind see, the dumb speak, the paralyzed walk, the dead rise to life. And instead of growing in the grace of God, he progressively turned into a devious calculating tool of Satan.
Judas’ life ended in absolute disaster. The night he betrayed Christ, he was so prepared to do the bidding of satan, that the devil entered him and took complete control. A few days earlier he had met with the Jewish leaders and bargained price. And now evil was fixed.
Let’s look at this a little more in detail.
God’s Plan and Judas’ Plot
It’s important for us to understand why Jesus brought up the betrayal now. He prepares them for what is about to happen and for them to be clear that this is no accident. It wasn’t done in ignorance. It’s a fulfillment of Scripture. Christ quotes
9 Even my friend in whom I trusted, one who ate my bread, has raised his heel against me.
Think about this for a moment. Jesus chose Judas to fulfill Old Testament prophecy. Judas’ betrayal was necessary to bring about Christ’s death and the redemption of HIs people. This is the eternal plan of God in action.
But did God coerce or force Judas to do something contrary to his desire or nature?
Like Joseph’s brothers — Judas meant it for evil, but God meant it for good. The cross in no way impedes God’s will or interrupt His eternal purpose. Judas’ betrayal IS the sovereign, eternal, divine plan of God for redemption.
28 to do whatever Your hand and Your plan had predestined to take place.
23 Though He was delivered up according to God’s determined plan and foreknowledge, you used lawless people to nail Him to a cross and kill Him.
But this doesn’t alter the fact that what Judas evil and the people screaming “Crucify Him!” were acting wickedly. And so acts 2:23 continues
23 Though He was delivered up according to God’s determined plan and foreknowledge, you used lawless people to nail Him to a cross and kill Him.
God’s sovereignty never nullifies human responsibility. Though what Jesus stressed from was God’s sovereignty, even over the evil men do.
So, in a few hours, Christ would be betrayed, severely beaten, falsely tried, nailed to a cross, and left to die. And the point of this Upper Room episode was that the disciples were not to think something had gone terribly wrong. God was still God and His purpose and were being accomplished.
Evil had not overthrown righteousness on the eternal scale, rather the cross was ordained by God for His good and holy purpose.
isn’t the only Scripture prophesying Judas’s betrayal.
12 Now it is not an enemy who insults me— otherwise I could bear it; it is not a foe who rises up against me— otherwise I could hide from him. 13 But it is you, a man who is my peer, my companion and good friend! 14 We used to have close fellowship; we walked with the crowd into the house of God.
20 My friend acts violently against those at peace with him; he violates his covenant. 21 His buttery words are smooth, but war is in his heart. His words are softer than oil, but they are drawn swords.
12 Then I said to them, “If it seems right to you, give me my wages; but if not, keep them.” So they weighed my wages, 30 pieces of silver. 13 “Throw it to the potter,” the Lord said to me—this magnificent price I was valued by them. So I took the 30 pieces of silver and threw it into the house of the Lord, to the potter.
We see in , the 30 pieces of silver were picked up and used to buy a potter’s field. Jesus choosing Judas was no accident. Jesus makes this point in .
12 While I was with them, I was protecting them by Your name that You have given Me. I guarded them and not one of them is lost, except the son of destruction, so that the Scripture may be fulfilled.
But Judas’ sin was not imposed on him. This was not a role forced on him. Judas was no robot. He did it freely and willingly. This would be inconsistent with God’s character.
13 No one undergoing a trial should say, “I am being tempted by God.” For God is not tempted by evil, and He Himself doesn’t tempt anyone.
And it’s inconsistent with Christ’s character.
42 saying, “If you knew this day what would bring peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes.
Jesus was not satisfied with Judas’ gross unbelief and treacherous wickedness. Remember — He was troubled in His spirit. Judas got the same care, instruction, love and kindness the others got. He received rebukes, calls to faith, pleas for repentance, and proposals of mercy. He received the great teaching and squandered it all.
In accordance to His perfect will, consummate righteousness, and inscrutable wisdom, God used this horrific evil to accomplish His infinite good. He turned wickedness on its head to His glory.
A Solemn Warning
Judas’ treachery is a huge warning that a person can be very near Jesus and yet lost and damned forever. He was one of the 12, yet today in hell. He was a phony, but not deceived. He was a hypocrite. He posed as a believer. And he was very good at playing the hypocrite. No one knew it!
Verse 25 — “Lord, who is it?”
The devil’s servants pose as believers.
15 So it is no great thing if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their destiny will be according to their works.
The Truth Revealed
Isn’t it telling that Jesus kept this whole thing completely secret.
“Well, He must not have known?”
That’s just ridiculous. He’s God.
19 “I am telling you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe that I am He.
So, they would know “that I am He.” He was taking the name of god for Himself. This is the name by which God identified Himself to Moses. I want you to know that I am God. I know Judas’ heart and I know everything that’s going to happen.
In one simple verse, Jesus affirmed His name, His nature, and His omniscience. Nothing is hidden from His sight. Let that sink in. He knows everything in the heart of every believer and unbeliever.
The Incredible Lesson
What would the actions of this one betrayer do to the credibility of the group?
Certainly, when Jesus went to the cross, the ministry would be over. Something so public and ignominious would further confirm the discredit revealed by the betrayer’s actions. There would now be no kingdom. And now with this lesson on the importance of humility was telling them to forget about everything.
But actually, what Jesus was saying was — “No matter what happens, this doesn’t alter your calling or lower the importance of the ministry I’ve called you too. You are sent! Look at verse 20.
20 I assure you: Whoever receives anyone I send receives Me, and the one who receives Me receives Him who sent Me.”
It may look out of place here, but there is a tremendous lesson here: “You are My ambassadors and representatives. Go and preach, if they receive you, they receive Me and if the receive Me, they are receiving the Father who sent Me.” This is the importance of the calling on them, and us. You represent God in the world.
Jesus knew that after Judas’ betrayal and His crucifixion, His disciples would hit rock bottom so to speak. So, He takes this moment to prepare them, encourage them, lift them up and cause them to focus on their calling and the mission He had trained them for and commissioned them to.
This is a tremendous lesson for us today. No matter what the satanic opposition, no matter the disappointments, no matter the frustrations, no matter the failures — nothing can lower our commission.
If I were to look out at you on some Sundays, when there are some not here, some sick, some out of town, bad weather, the dropping in numbers — should I be discouraged? Should we be concerned? No!
He had no formal education.
He faced indifference at a minister’s meeting in 1787 about preaching the Gospel to the world. "Young man, sit down; when God pleases to convert the heathen, he will do it without your aid and mine."
Carey and his wife Dorothy lost three small children.
He never saw a single convert in the first 7 years.
William Carey held firm to his calling.
Regardless of what happens, we ought to hold firm and persevere. And remember this. When a believer carries the Gospel of Christ to the world, he represents Christ.
2 Corinthians 5:
20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, certain that God is appealing through us. We plead on Christ’s behalf, “Be reconciled to God.”
This is why Paul could rejoice sitting in a Roman prison.
12 Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has actually resulted in the advance of the gospel,
A Trouble Heart and a Hardened Heart
Why would Christ be troubled in His spirit?
Because He knew Judas’ hardened heart. It was the same heart of of Cain, the same heart of Esau, the same heart of Pharaoh, the same heart of King Agrippa. Jesus knew Judas faced the same eternal hell as those before him.
It’s noteworthy that the disciples were perplexed. Jesus treated Judas the same, even though He knew from the beginning. There was nothing but love shown to the treacherous. The disciples never suspected Judas. He was even trusted to carry the money. It’s interesting the contrast between the hatred Judas had for Jesus and the love John had for Jesus. John describes himself in the position next to Jesus, leaning against Him in what would be the closest to Christ’s heart and what was considered the place of honor. John is consumed with love for Christ and Judas is consumed with hate.
And when asked, “Lord, who is it?” Jesus answered.
26 Jesus replied, “He’s the one I give the piece of bread to after I have dipped it.” When He had dipped the bread, He gave it to Judas, Simon Iscariot’s son.
Now this would seem so obvious, wouldn’t it?
What Jesus did when he dipped the bread and gave it to Judas was generally considered a formal display of honor as the host dipped the bread into the cheshireth, which was a blended pasty substance of bitter herbs, vinegar, salt, and mashed dates, figs, and raisins with a little water. So, Jesus dipped the bread and gave it Judas in what was actually a gesture of grace as a final appeal for his repentance. But as Judas ate it and did not repent — we’re told, Satan entered him.
Therefore Jesus told him, “What you’re doing, do quickly.” And since he held the money bags, the other disciples though Jesus was telling him “Buy what we need for the festival or that he should give something to the poor.”
Judas undoubtedly knew that Jesus knew full well what he intended to do. This great gesture of grace should have broken Judas’ heart, but his heart was hardened more. Judas was an apostate. Judas flirted with Satan and Satan moved in for the kill. It was a dreadful moment.
And what a frightful end — “What you’re doing, do quickly.” The day of grace was over. No more did the Savior reach out toward him. No longer did Jesus bear with him.
None of the disciples caught the significance of everything that just happened. The Bible doesn’t say where Judas went, but evidently, he went to finalize the deal with the Sanhedrin.
The text ends with
And It Was Night
30 After receiving the piece of bread, he went out immediately. And it was night.
Judas is the classic illustration of the tragic end of the soul-destroying wretchedness of sin.
Steven Hawkins this past week died in defiance to the Divine.
Hester Chomondeley, a young girl from England who died at the age of 22, the same year Charles Spurgeon died. She kept a journal, which ultimately came to nearly a quarter-million words. Listen to the verse she wrote concerning Judas.
Still as of old,
Man by himself is priced.
For thirty pieces Judas sold
Himself, not Christ.
What an amazing portion of Scripture!
Why was the revelation of the betrayer of Jesus revealed now?
To prepare His disciples for what was to come.