Several weeks ago we began our study of the last nine chapters of this Gospel, which are known as "The Book of Glory." Unlike the "Book of Signs," "The Book of Glory" is addressed only to those who have believed.
We are currently looking at what is called the "Upper Room Discourse," which covers chapters 13-17. This discourse is not contained in the Synoptics and represents four chapters of our Lord's teaching to His disciples. There were more than just the Twelve with Yeshua in that upper room. This section is about the subject of love, the love of Yeshua for His own. This Upper Room Discourse is presented as the events and discussion of a single evening the night before the Passover and Yeshua's death on the cross.
In the beginning of chapter 13 we see the Lord washing the disciples feet. In that culture Yeshua was the last person in the room that should have been washing people's feet. Do you remember the context of this foot washing? Luke tells us that there was a dispute among the disciples as to which of them would be the greatest:
A dispute also arose among them, as to which of them was to be regarded as the greatest. Luke 22:24 ESV
So during the Last Supper the disciples were having an argument about which of them was the greatest in the Kingdom. While they are arguing about which of them was the greatest Yeshua, their Lord and Savior, Yahweh in human flesh, washes their feet.
The disciples' human understanding of status and rights was being turned upside down. In the Kingdom of God roles are reversed and human understandings of status and rights are abolished.
During the foot washing Peter refuses to let the Lord wash his feet, so the Lord responds to Peter, "If I do not wash you, you have no share with me"—do you remember what I said this means? Many commentators make it sound like if Yeshua didn't wash Peter's feet, Peter would not be saved, he would not have eternal life. I don't see that as what Yeshua is saying? I see the term "share" as referring to communion, to fellowship. So Yeshua is saying, "Peter, it's necessary for me to wash your feet in order for you to have communion with me."
So Peter responds, "Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!" To which Yeshua responds:
"The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean. And you are clean, but not every one of you." John 13:10 ESV
In 13:8 the word "wash" is the Greek word nipto, which means: "to wash the parts of the body." While the word "bathed" in 13:10 is louo, and means: "to bathe all over." So Yeshua is saying the one who has been bathed all over only needs to have his feet washed.
So in this text Yeshua is talking to His disciples and He tells them that they are clean, meaning they have been cleansed by the blood of Christ, they are believers. But He tells these believers that they need to have their feet washed. They need to deal with sin and stay in fellowship with Christ. I believe that the same is true of us. If we have trusted Christ we are saved, we have had a spiritual bath, but we still sin, we get our feet dirty as we walk through this world, and we need them washed in order to stay in fellowship with Christ.
I see this foot washing as performed by the Word, as believers continue in the Word, reading it, studying it, memorizing it, we are cleansed. It shows us our sin, and we confess it and forsake it. I don't understand how a believer can walk in fellowship with the Lord without spending time in the Word.
Yeshua's interpretation of the foot washing in verses 12-17 focuses on the reversal of values that come with the Kingdom of God:
You also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. John 13:14b-15 ESV
Yeshua is not saying that from here on all Christians for all time shall wash each others feet. What He is saying is that all Christians should be humbly serving each other; we should be meeting the needs of each other.
Yeshua's attitude toward the disciples and to us in these verses is: You want to pursue greatness? By all means, do it! Go for it! The only thing I ask is that you know the rules—that you know the criteria. Greatness is determined by the person who puts everyone before himself and takes on the role of a servant. Once you get that criteria down, go for it. You pursue greatness with all your heart.
Believer, what we must see in this text is that our Lord is turning social values upside down. The secular world looks upon leadership as the opportunity to be served. A leader has many people under him, and thus he uses them to minister to his own needs. But in the Kingdom of God, a position of leadership is simply a place of service.
The Christian is to serve God by serving others:
If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them. John 13:17 ESV
Anybody want to be blessed? Yeshua promised God's blessing on those who practice humble service. We are called to follow Christ's example and love selflessly, humbly, in the most menial, simple necessity of life. Love at the lowest level of need:
I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen. But the Scripture will be fulfilled, 'He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.' John 13:18 ESV
"I am not speaking of all of you"—what does Yeshua mean by this? Do you remember what I said about the "Book of Glory?" I said, "The Book of Glory" is addressed only to those who have believed. So who is it that is not a believer that Yeshua is not speaking to? It is Judas.
For he knew who was to betray him; that was why he said, "Not all of you are clean." John 13:11 ESV
Yeshua said in verse 10, "And you are clean, but not every one of you." The "you" is plural, referring to the all the disciples, except for Judas. Yeshua is telling them [the disciples] that they are clean, they are saved. But Judas is not.
So in verse 18 when Yeshua says, "I am not speaking of all of you" He was excluding Judas. Judas was an unbeliever so he would not be blessed by loving others as the disciples of our Lord would.
"I know whom I have chosen"—many see this as a reference to Yeshua choosing Judas to Apostleship. But I see Yeshua as addressing His elect. He wasn't speaking to all of them because Judas was there. He was only speaking to His chosen. One commentator writes, "When Christ said, 'I know whom I have chosen' it is
evident that He was not speaking of election to salvation, but to the apostolate. Where eternal election is in view the Scriptures uniformly ascribe it to God the Father."
Many use this argument that election is only attributed to the Father, but didn't Christ say, "I and the Father are one?" So I don't think that is a strong argument. Another argument for this not referring to chosen of salvation is what is said in:
Yeshua answered them, "Did I not choose you, the twelve? And yet one of you is a devil." John 6:70 ESV
There is no doubt that Yeshua chose Judas to be an Apostle, but I don't think that is what He is saying in 13:18. I agree with the Faith Life Study Bible that commenting on "I know whom I have chosen" says, "Jesus is referencing all of His disciples who are present, but not Judas." I see this as Yeshua telling His disciples that what He is saying does not apply to all of them. His words only apply to those whom He has chosen—believers. The inference is there is someone among them whom He has not chosen, someone who is not a believer.
"But the Scripture will be fulfilled"—what Yeshua is saying does not apply to all of them because Judas was an unbeliever. But the fact that there was an unbeliever in their midst was no accident, but was in fact, a fulfillment of Scripture.
The Scriptures foretold that Judas would be the one who would betray the Lord, and when we read that the Scriptures foretold this, we know there is no foreseeing unless there is foreordination. No one can know anything that is not foreordained. And so Judas' act is a foreordained act. It was prophesied so could it not happen? Can prophecy fail? No, it cannot. If God prophesied it, it will happen.
So what our text is telling us is that the Tanakh actually speaks of Judas. We don't see his name in the Tanakh, but it does speak of him. We know this because Yeshua and Peter both tell us this. After our Lord was crucified and then raised from the dead and had ascended to Heaven, Peter says in effect, "Now that Judas is gone we need to select another apostle to take his place." And he cites the text which says,
"For it is written in the Book of Psalms, "'May his camp become desolate, and let there be no one to dwell in it'; and "'Let another take his office.' Acts 1:20 ESV
The first part of verse 20 was prophesied in Psalm 69:25. To say the camp of Judas would be desolate is the same as saying he would be removed—that he would drop out. The second part of verse 20 comes from Psalm 109:8, which says Judas' office or position would be filled by someone else. By quoting those two Psalms, Peter reassured his fellow disciples that Judas' departure fulfilled prophecy. It wasn't an accident that circumvented God's plan.
So Peter tells us that Psalm 109:8 is a text that was written by David concerning Judas. Now you are not going to find Judas' name in Psalm 109 no matter how many times you read it, but Judas is there. If you read this Psalm you will see that it's a Psalm that says some of the worst things that could possibly be said about an individual, yet it is written by David under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Listen to what he says about one person whom he calls his adversary, he begins incidentally by speaking of plural adversaries in Psalm 109, but then in the 6th verse he narrows down adversaries to one particular adversary and for almost thirteen or fourteen verses through verse 19 he says things like this:
Appoint a wicked man against him; let an accuser stand at his right hand. When he is tried, let him come forth guilty; let his prayer be counted as sin! May his days be few; may another take his office! May his children be fatherless and his wife a widow! May his children wander about and beg, seeking food far from the ruins they inhabit! Psalms 109:6-10 ESV
Get the point? This is what is called an imprecatory Psalm. Apart from Peter telling us that this is about Judas we would never know that. This Psalm is not written directly about Judas, it's written about him typically.
So Peter says that Psalm 109:8 is about Judas and Yeshua says that Psalm 41:9 is about Judas.
Even my close friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted his heel against me. Psalms 41:9 ESV
This is another Psalm of David. Commenting on this Psalm the Pillar New Testament Commentary says, "By no stretch of the imagination can the entire psalm rightly be labeled 'messianic', for it includes lines such as these: 'O Lord, have mercy upon me; heal me, for I have sinned against you' (Ps. 41:4). The basis for seeing in this Psalm a prophecy which is fulfilled in Jesus does not depend on designating the entire Psalm 'messianic', but on two other features. First, because of 2 Samuel 7:12-16, Psalm 2 and other passages, David himself became a 'type', a model, of 'great David's greater Son', the promised Messiah. This did not mean that everything that happened to David had to find its echo in Jesus."
David was a clear picture of our Lord, he was the king from whom the Lord Yeshua would come, he was our Lord's ancestor. He was the one who was the historical David and the Lord Yeshua comes along as the true, greater David. They were related, David a Messianic figure, our Lord the Messianic figure, so David was a type of Christ, he illustrated Him. Now if David is a type of our Lord, then David's adversaries are also illustrative of our Lord's adversaries.
Who was David's adversary? It seems that David is referring to Ahithophel in this Psalm. Ahithophel is an interesting man; he was a man who was close to Absalom, and close to David. You remember that Absalom rebelled against his father, sought to carry out a revolution against him. And he and Ahithophel combined to do this:
And it was told David, "Ahithophel is among the conspirators with Absalom." And David said, "O LORD, please turn the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness." 2 Samuel 15:31 ESV
Ahithophel was very close to David, in fact in the Tanakh it says that the counsel of Ahithophel, which he counseled in those days was as if a man had inquired of the oracle of God. David felt free to go to Ahithophel to discuss his affairs with Ahithophel. And yet this individual is one who conspired with Absalom to revolt against the man who had been his benefactor and whose table he had sat to eat his food.
Does anyone remember how Ahithophel died? Ahithophel is the only person in the Tanakh, as far as I know, who consciously and of his own determination, hanged himself. And we know that Judas in the New Testament is his parallel also hung himself. So that Ahithophel becomes an illustration, a type, of Judas.
We also see Judas clearly depicted in Zechariah's prophecy:
Then I said to them, "If it seems good to you, give me my wages; but if not, keep them." And they weighed out as my wages thirty pieces of silver. Then the LORD said to me, "Throw it to the potter"—the lordly price at which I was priced by them. So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them into the house of the LORD, to the potter. Zechariah 11:12-13 ESV
That's exactly what Judas did. He betrayed Christ for 30 pieces of silver. Then he became guilty and took the 30 pieces of silver back, threw them down on the Temple floor, and then went out and hanged himself. The Jews took the money, went out, and purchased a potter's field, fulfilling in detail Zechariah's prophecy.
Listen to what Yeshua prays in his High Priestly prayer:
While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. John 17:12 ESV
The "son of destruction" here is Judas. Everything that Judas did was planned by God, his rebellion, apostasy and hypocrisy, all were part of God's divine purpose.
There are many prophecies in the Tanakh that we do not even recognize as such until after they have been fulfilled (just like this prophecy concerning Judas in Psalm 41:9). Prophecy reminds us that God is in control of every event and Judas' betray is no different.
Here's what we need to understand; fulfilled prophecy, such as we see in our text with Judas, is an undeniable proof of the inspiration of the Bible. No other book in the world contains the kind of specific prophecies found all throughout the pages of the Bible. There is no comparison, for example, between the Oracles of Nostradamus and the prophecies in the Tanakh about Yeshua Christ. The prophecies of the Tanakh are often so obvious that many secular scholars have unsuccessfully attempted to assign later dates to some of these prophecies to make it appear that the prophecies were made up after the events. That's how stunning some of this stuff is.
There are over 300 prophecies that were literally fulfilled in Yeshua of Nazareth. What are the chances that so many prophecies could all come true in the life of one man? Peter Stoner, in his book, Science Speaks, says, "... the probability that any man might have lived down to the present time and fulfilled just eight of the prophecies is 1 in 10 to the 17th power. That's 1 with 17 zeros after it."
In order to comprehend this, imagine taking that number ,10 to the 17th power, of silver dollars and laying them on the face of the state of Texas. They will cover the entire state two feet deep. Then mark one of the silver dollars and somehow stir the whole pile thoroughly, all over the state. Put on a blindfold, travel as far as you wish, and on the first try, pick up the marked silver dollar. The chance of that happening is the same as the chance of eight messianic prophecies coming true in any one man.
Stoner goes on to evaluate the chance of 48 of the prophecies being fulfilled by chance and the odds there had a 1 with 157 zeroes after it. And remember, that's just for 48 of the 300 that have been fulfilled. And that's why one researcher writes, "God designed fulfilled prophecy to be an open demonstration of the divine origin of the Scriptures."
People this book we have is the living breathing Word of God. The evidence of this is undeniable. And that being the case shouldn't we be spending more time in it? God has spoken, and what He has said is recorded in the pages of Scripture.
Our text in John goes on to say, "He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me"—as we said in Psalm 41:9 this is speaking of Ahithophel who betrays David, but Yeshua says it is speaking of Judas. Ahithophel was a type of Judas. David cried out to Yahweh that "even my trusted friend on whom I relied" who has eaten bread at His table has betrayed Him. To "lift one's heel" against someone is a Semitic expression for violence and betrayal.
The NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible says, "People viewed table fellowship as establishing a covenant of friendship; betrayal of such a bond was considered heinous. (For a stark example: in one ancient epic, two warriors, discovering that their fathers had shared table fellowship a generation earlier, realized that they could not fight each other.)"
In the ancient Near Eastern culture, inviting a man into one's home, and to his table was a most significant act. To eat bread at the table of one's lord was to in effect give a pledge of loyalty, we see this in:
And David said to him, "Do not fear, for I will show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan, and I will restore to you all the land of Saul your father, and you shall eat at my table always." 2 Samuel 9:7 ESV
To betray the one with whom bread had been eaten was the vilest breach of the traditions of hospitality.
So Yeshua in our text is saying in effect that treachery will come so that the prophecy in Scripture will be fulfilled. He knows Judas is a traitor. He's always known that. He chose him knowing that. Choosing Judas to be an Apostle was no mistake, as a matter of fact, it is specifically stated in Scripture that He prayed all night before He chose the twelve. He chose Judas in order that when he betrayed Him it would fulfill Scripture.
I am telling you this now, before it takes place, that when it does take place you may believe that I am he. John 13:19 ESV
Yeshua knew that once Judas betrayed Him it would cause His disciples to question, How could He be God's Son and not know this man was a traitor? How could He be the one of all knowledge if He allowed a betrayer in our midst? So He prepared His disciples in advance for what was going to happen.
After Christ's resurrection when they reflected upon Yeshua's prediction of His betrayal, the disciples will come to see that He was in complete control of the situation as only God Himself could be. And that is why He says, "you may believe that I am"— there is no "He" in this verse. Most translations put the "He" in italics, not sure why the ESV doesn't. "I am" here is the phrase ego eimi. Now some say that ego eime is just the normal way of identifying oneself, of saying, "It's me." It can be taken that way, but in this Gospel Lazarus uses this expression to make it clear that Yeshua is Yahweh.
This is Yeshua's fourth I AM statement without a predicate nominative (there are 7 "I AM" statements with a predicate nominative). Yeshua, in claiming to be "I Am," was asserting equality with Yahweh Himself, who was revealed as the "I Am That I Am" —the self-existent, eternal God:
God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM." And he said, "Say this to the people of Israel: 'I AM has sent me to you.'" Exodus 3:14 ESV
"I AM WHO I AM" is "Ehyeh; asher ehyeh" and means: "I am that which exist." The root of Ehyeh is hiya, which means: "to be" or "I exist." So here Elohim tells Moses His name is Ehyeh. But look at the next verse:
God also said to Moses, "Say this to the people of Israel: 'The LORD, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.' This is my name forever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations. Exodus 3:15 ESV
Elohim again gives His name to Moses, but this time it is Yahweh. The two names, Yahweh and Ehyeh, are related. Yahweh is , and Ehyeh is . Ehyeh means: "I exist, I will exist, I am." And Yahweh means: "He exists, He will exist, He is." And both of these names are related to each other. They are both conveying the idea that Yahweh is the existing One.
The prophets guided by the Holy Spirit picked up that phrase and use it. Isaiah particularly, several times he speaks about the God who has called Him to minister as "I am."
Who has performed and done this, calling the generations from the beginning? I, the LORD, the first, and with the last; I am he. Isaiah 41:4 ESV
In the original Hebrew, Yahweh discloses Himself in the repeated declaration, "I am He"; it is this expression that the LXX consistently renders by eg eimi, formally 'I am.' Isaiah 43:10 is especially close to what Scholars call Johannine language:
"You are my witnesses," declares the LORD, "and my servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after me. Isaiah 43:10 ESV
The Greek Tanakh contains this purpose clause, "In order that you know and believe and understand that I AM [ego eim]." The last part of Isaiah 43:10 seems to be based on Exodus 3:14. The unique (and here important) part of Isaiah 43 comes in verse 11 where the speaker says":
I, I am the LORD, and besides me there is no savior. Isaiah 43:11 ESV
Here we see there is no savior besides Yahweh. And yet Yeshua says in John 8:24, "Unless you believe that I am, you will die in your sins." What is Yeshua saying? He is saying, "I am Yahweh, there is not savior besides me. Verse 12 goes on:
I declared and saved and proclaimed, when there was no strange god among you; and you are my witnesses," declares the LORD, "and I am God. Isaiah 43:12 ESV
The point of Isaiah 43:10-12 is that I AM is a God of salvation. In Isaiah, the contexts demand that "I am He" means "I am the same," "I am forever the same," and even "I am Yahweh," with a direct allusion to Exodus 3:14. For others to apply this title to themselves was blasphemous, an invitation to face the wrath of God:
Now therefore hear this, you lover of pleasures, who sit securely, who say in your heart, "I am, and there is no one besides me; I shall not sit as a widow or know the loss of children": Isaiah 47:8 ESV
Verse 11 tells us what happens to the one who claims "I am":
But evil shall come upon you, which you will not know how to charm away; disaster shall fall upon you, for which you will not be able to atone; and ruin shall come upon you suddenly, of which you know nothing. Isaiah 47:11 ESV
For Yeshua to apply such words to Himself is to say, "I am Yahweh, the only Savior." He was claiming to be the eternal God.
Listen to me, people, Yeshua is Yahweh. To deny the deity of Christ, to deny that He is in fact Yahweh in the flesh, is to die in your sins. Is that too strong? This is what Yeshua says in John 8:24, "Unless you believe that I am, you will die in your sins."
Yeshua was saying that His knowledge and is authority over His own betrayal by Judas is evidence of His deity. "I am telling you this now, before it takes place, that when it does take place you may believe that I am." They will believe in His divinity because this revelation will demonstrate Yeshua's superhuman knowledge as well as fulfilling the prophecy of Psalms 41:9.
Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever receives the one I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me." John 13:20 ESV
Yeshua is telling His disciples, when I send you and someone receives you, they're receiving Me. And when they receive Me that way, they receive the One who sent Me. The emissary or ambassador represents the King in every way: in His authority and in the very words He speaks. In a like manner, whoever receives them receives Christ and whoever receives Christ receives God the Father who sent Him.
He is telling His disciples this because He wants them to know that even with this incredibly devastating betrayal by Judas, even with this massive defection, the integrity of their commission is not compromised.
In this text Yeshua is reassuring his disciples that He is Yahweh and He is in control. What is about to happen with Judas was prophesied long ago. Everything is going according to God's plan. It was then and it is now. Trust Him.