Pastor David B. Curtis


Media #892 MP3 Audio File Video File

Judas: The Betrayer

John 13:21-30

Delivered 01/21/18

We are currently looking at what is called, "The Upper Room Discourse," which covers chapters 13-17. This "Upper Room Discourse" is only found in the Fourth Gospel, the Synoptics don't mention this discourse. These five chapters take place on the night before the Lord was Crucified. He will be arrested in the middle of the night. He will undergo a false trial in the wee hours of the 14th of Nisan and He will be executed at 3:00pm. He will die as the true Lamb of God, the Passover Lamb.

So this is Yeshua's final evening to be with and to teach His disciples. The teaching we find in these chapters is directed to believers, and love becomes one of the key words. We have seen the word "love" used only seven times in chapters 1-12, but we see it 30 times in chapters 13-17. There are more references to the Savior's love for His own here than anywhere in the Bible.

This discourse begins with the Last Supper, and our Lord is washing the disciples feet. While the disciples were arguing about which of them was the greatest, Yeshua begins to wash their feet and then tells them that they are to wash one another's feet. Yeshua is not saying that from here on all Christians have to 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. This is about humble service. This is a call for them to show love in various forms of service, even laying down their lives for one another when necessary.

Then the Lord says something that is rather shocking, He says:

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

He wasn't speaking to all of them because there was a unbeliever in their midst. There was a disciple who had not been chosen by the Lord for salvation. One from their very group would betray the Lord just as Ahithophel had done to David. But this shouldn't be a shock because this betrayal had been prophesied. This betrayal was a fulfillment of 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." Yeshua is God, and He is in control of even His betrayal by Judas.

Yeshua is warning them ahead of time because this was going to be very hard to believe, that one of the twelve would turn against Him. For three years Judas Iscariot was thought to be one of the closest friends and disciples of Yeshua. The inner group even trusted him sufficiently to make him their treasurer. So when Yeshua announced at their Passover meal that one of them was going to betray Him, they hadn't a clue that it was Judas.

Let me remind you that we have information that the Twelve did not and all too often we read our understanding into the text. We know that Judas was the betrayer; the first time his name is mentioned in each of the Gospels it tells us that he was the betrayer:

Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.  Matthew 10:4 ESV

Most people know about Judas and his betrayal even if they have never read the Bible. Who do you know that named their son or even their dog, for that matter, Judas? We know about Judas, but the disciples didn't. Let's look at the mentions of Judas so far in this Gospel:

He spoke of Judas the son of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the twelve, was going to betray him.  John 6:71 ESV

This is the first mention of Judas in the Fourth Gospel, and he is immediately identified (as he is in the Synoptic Gospels, Matt 10:4, Mark 3:19, Luke 6:16) as the one who would betray Yeshua. This statement is another of Lazarus' post-resurrection insights, they didn't know this at the time.

But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was about to betray him), said,  John 12:4 ESV

Again the fact that Judas was intending to betray Yeshua is an editorial comment. They didn't know this at the time:

During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray him,  John 13:2 ESV

Again this is something that Lazarus tells his readers that was not known at the time.

Let's try to put together a history of Judas from what we find in each of the Gospels. Judas is chosen to be one of the Twelve (Luke 6:12-16; Mark 3:13-19), and he is sent out with them (Matthew 10:4). For over three years Judas is there to watch everything that our Lord said and did. They obviously trusted Judas because they made him the treasurer, he is put in charge of the money box, and begins to steal from it (John 12:6; 13:29). Then we see Judas objecting to Mary's extravagant worship of Yeshua, citing that the money could have been given to the poor. Lazarus tells us that he said this not because he was concerned about the poor, but because he was a thief (John 12:6).

Because of our Lord's growing popularity as a result of raising Lazarus from the dead, the Pharisees go into overdrive trying to find a way to get rid of him. Shortly after this incident with Mary, Judas goes to the chief priests and strikes a deal with them to betray Yeshua and to hand Him over to them (Matthew 26:14-15; Mark 14:10-11). So

Judas begins to look for the right moment to hand Yeshua over to the chief priests and Pharisees (Mark 14:11).

In our text in John 13 we find Judas is with Yeshua and the disciples during the Last Supper. At the meal, as we will see in a minute, Yeshua indicates that one of the disciples will betray Him (Matthew 26:20-25; Mark 14:17-21), and then, by means of His dipping a piece of bread and handing it to Judas, our Lord indicates that it is Judas who will betray Him (Mark 14:20; John 13:21-27). Judas accepts the bread from Yeshua, after which Satan immediately possesses him (John 13:27). Yeshua dismisses Judas to carry out his betrayal (John 13:27-30).

Then Judas leads the soldiers to Yeshua, where he identifies Yeshua as the One they are to arrest by kissing Him (Matthew 26:47-50; Mark 14:43-46; Luke 22:47-48; John 18:1-9). Later Judas regrets his betrayal and tries to reverse his actions by returning the money, but it is too late. Judas then goes out and hangs himself (Matthew 27:3-10; Acts 1:15-19).

Think about this with me for a minute, Judas had so much, He was, "one of the twelve." For three years, Judas spent time watching Yeshua, listening to His teaching, seeing the tenderness of His compassion and love, living every day in His presence. He saw water turned into wine, the blind receiving sight, the lame made to walk, deaf ears opened, mute tongues loosed, the demonized delivered, and even the dead raised. He was present when Yeshua called forth Lazarus from the grave. He saw lepers immediately healed of that flesh-rotting disease. He helped to pass out the loaves and the fish when Yeshua fed the multitudes. He witnessed Yeshua walking on the water and calming the wind and the waves by command. He heard the demons confessing Yeshua to be the Son of God. Yet, in spite of so many privileges, Judas never comes to faith in Yeshua as his Messiah (John 6:64-65; 13:10-11, 18; 17:12).

And again we are reminded of the sovereignty of God in salvation:

No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.  John 6:44 ESV

With all Judas saw, with all he knew, he could not come to Christ because the Father had not drawn him.

Alright, with that as some background on Judas, let's get into our text:

After saying these things, Yeshua was troubled in his spirit, and testified, "Truly, truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me."  John 13:21 ESV

"After saying these things"—after saying that He wasn't speaking to all of them because Judas had not been chosen, and that it was prophesied that Judas would betray Him.

"Yeshua was troubled in his spirit"—troubled here is the Greek word tarasso, which literally means: "to stir or agitate." It is used this way in John 5:4 of an angel stirring the water in the pool. In a figurative sense, it could be translated: "as anguish, terrified, frightened or horrified." It is a strong word. Yeshua was deeply disturbed.

This is the third time in John's Gospel that Yeshua has been described as being "greatly distressed." We see this word used at the burial site of Lazarus (John 11:33). Later on, in chapter 12, the soul of our Lord was greatly distressed at the prospect of His coming "hour" of suffering (12:27). And here, our Lord is greatly distressed at the thought of one of His own followers, one of the Twelve that He had chosen, betraying Him.

"Truly, truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me"—Yeshua had spoken only briefly about His betrayal until now (6:71; 12:4; 13:2). Now He tells His disciples specifically that one of them is about to betray Him. This declaration must have hit them like a punch in the gut. Notice their response:

The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he spoke.  John 13:22 ESV

What does the disciples being "perplexed" when Yeshua said, "One of you will betray me," tell us about Judas Iscariot? The disciples had spent 3 years, day and night, with Judas but had no clue that he was the betrayer. When Yeshua said, "One of you will betray me," no one shouted, "I know who it is, it's Judas." Everything that he did appeared to be the loyal devotion of a dedicated disciple; He had everyone convinced he was a follower of Yeshua, except Yeshua.

The Synoptic Gospels provide us with a significant detail here. When informed that one of them would betray Him, they didn't all point to Judas. Notice what they said:

And as they were eating, he said, "Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me." And they were very sorrowful and began to say to him one after another, "Is it I, Lord?" Matthew 26:21-22 ESV

They went from the arrogance of arguing over who was the greatest to the humility of saying, Could it possibly be me Lord?" It's amazing that they weren't pointing the finger at others, but instead they looked to themselves.

One of his disciples, whom Yeshua loved, was reclining at table at Yeshua' side,  John 13:23 ESV

"One of his disciples, whom Yeshua loved"—this is the first of 5 times that a reference will be made to "the disciple Yeshua loved." I imagine that by this time in our study of this Gospel you know who I think this is. I believe that the author of this Fourth Gospel is John Eleazar, aka Lazarus.

Here's what we know. In John 21:20 the writer mentions "the disciple whom Yeshua loved," and then states that this is the disciple that wrote this letter:

This is the disciple who is bearing witness about these things, and who has written these things, and we know that his testimony is true. John 21:24 ESV

The antecedent of "this" is "the disciple whom Yeshua loved" in verse 20. So we know who wrote this Gospel; it was "the disciple whom Yeshua loved." The very one mentioned in our text in John 13:23.

It seems to me that the Spirit of God is going to great lengths in John 11 (three times it is said that Yeshua loved Lazarus) to make it known that Yeshua loved Lazarus. Lazarus is the only man named in the Bible that is specifically identified as being "loved" by Yeshua.

Now I want you to notice something that I think is very significant. John 12 is the last time we hear of Lazarus. After chapter 12 this celebrity disappears from Scripture. This good friend of Yeshua, this man whom Yeshua loved and raised from the dead, suddenly disappears. Notice where we see him last:

So they gave a dinner for him there. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those reclining with him at table.  John 12:2 ESV

The last time we see Lazarus named, he is reclining at a table with Yeshua. Then he disappears from the pages of Scripture. What is really interesting is right after Lazarus' name disappears, someone else appears that we have never heard of before:

One of his disciples, whom Yeshua loved, was reclining at table at Yeshua's side,  John 13:23 ESV

The last time we see Lazarus, he is reclining at a table with Yeshua, and the first time we see the "disciple whom Yeshua loved," he is reclining at a table with Yeshua. The only man named in the Bible as being "loved" by Yeshua abruptly vanishes from this Gospel, and then the only disciple singled out as being "loved" by Yeshua abruptly appears in this same Gospel. It is my contention that this "disciple whom Yeshua loved" is Lazarus.

I think that you would agree that the raising of Lazarus from the dead was a profound event in the life of Yeshua. Yet this remarkable miracle is missing from three of the four Gospels. The first three Gospels don't offer even a hint that this miracle occurred, and they never mention that Yeshua had a friend named Lazarus that He loved.

Strangely enough, it turns out that there is another prominent figure in the life of Yeshua who is also nowhere to be found in the first three Gospels. The person is "the disciple whom Yeshua loved." Is this simply a coincidence?

Just so you understand that I am not the only one who believes that the disciple that Yeshua loved is Lazarus. Notice what Hall Harris writes,

"Some have suggested that this disciple is to be identified with Lazarus, since the Fourth Gospel specifically states that Jesus loved him (11:3, 5, 36). From the terminology alone this is a possibility; the Evangelist is certainly capable of using language in this way to indicate connections."

So far so good, but he goes on to say,

"But there is nothing else to indicate that Lazarus was present at the Last Supper; Mark 14:17 seems to indicate it was only the Twelve who were with Jesus at this time, and we have had no indication in the Fourth Gospel to the contrary."

As I said in our study of John 13:12-17, If you just look at Mark's Gospel you get the idea that it was just Yeshua and the Twelve in that upper room. And that is because Mark concentrates his attention on the Twelve and rarely mentions any other disciples of Yeshua. But in Luke's Gospel we see that Yeshua had a large number of disciples.

The Faithlife Study Bibles says, "One whom Jesus loved. This is the first reference to this disciple (19:26-27; 20:2-9; 21:7, 20-25), who could be the Apostle John, Lazarus (based on 11:3, 36), or another follower of Jesus."

I give you that simply to show that there are others that entertain the idea that the disciple who Yeshua loved could have been Lazarus. You study the evidence and come to your own conclusions.

One of his disciples, whom Yeshua loved, was reclining at table at Yeshua's side,  John 13:23 ESV

The disciple Yeshua loved was reclining next to Yeshua. The Synoptic Gospels do not give this information. The literal Greek is "reclined in the bosom of Yeshua". Lazarus was most likely on the right of Yeshua, and Judas was on the left. To be on the right and the left hand of Yeshua was an important position to be on.

The text makes it clear that they were reclining in the typical Palestinian fashion around the table. They were not sitting as Western people do around a table. Rather the table was very low and they were stretched out on cushions and pillows placed on the floor. The customary method was to lie on one's left side supported by the left forearm and elbow and to eat with the right hand stretching toward the table to take the food.

Just to set the record straight, Leonardo Da Vinci's "Last Supper" was not a photograph taken at this event. There were not 12 people sitting on one side of a table, looking at the camera.

so Simon Peter motioned to him to ask Yeshua of whom he was speaking. So that disciple, leaning back against Yeshua, said to him, "Lord, who is it?"  John 13:24-25 ESV

Evidently "Peter" was somewhere across the table from Yeshua, since Lazarus noticed when Peter "gestured to him."

Yeshua answered, "It is he to whom I will give this morsel of bread when I have dipped it." So when he had dipped the morsel, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot.  John 13:26 ESV

"It is he to whom I will give this morsel of bread when I have dipped it"-the word "morsel" is psomion, which is a unique New Testament Greek word that refers to an tasty morsel that was given by the host to a special guest as a mark of honour. So here we have another remarkable act of mercy and kindness towards Judas. This is a living picture of, Love your enemies!

NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible says,

"For Jesus as head of the gathering to dip and hand it to Judas openly honors Judas. Because Jesus is able to dip the piece of bread and hand it to Judas, Judas apparently shares the same table with Jesus, and is presumably to Jesus' left. In banquets, a position to one's left was a position of special honor."

It appears that the conversation about the "morsel" was just between Yeshua and the beloved disciple. This would mean that Judas received the morsel with only the beloved disciple knowing that it was a sign of who would betray Yeshua. All the rest of the disciples and perhaps Judas himself saw it as a special honor extended to Judas.

"So when he had dipped the morsel, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot"—Judas is evidently in a position where Yeshua can hand him the morsel of food, most likely seated to Yeshua's left in the position of highest honor. Matthew 26:25 seems to indicate that Yeshua could speak to him without being overheard by the rest of the group.

Judas had to have known that Yeshua knew that he was the betrayer. He knew Judas did not believe in Him. He knew Judas had already reached an agreement with the chief priests. He knew that Judas would soon go to the Jewish authorities, and lead them to Him, to arrest Him.

After all, in three years, he had seen Yeshua read the hearts of men. He knew that Yeshua said, way back at the beginning of the ministry in John 2, that He knew what was in the heart of men, and nobody needed to tell Him anything about that. He had heard that Yeshua declared, John 5:42, that He knew the people who didn't love Him.

Then after he had taken the morsel, Satan entered into him. Yeshua said to him, "What you are going to do, do quickly."  John 13:27 ESV

One commentator writing about this verse says, "Up until the point of time reported in verse 27 Judas could have pulled out of his betrayal of Jesus." REALLY??? So he could have chosen not to fulfill prophecy? He could have chosen to be saved? Man's free will is so important to people that they will ignore the Scripture to hold to it.

"Satan entered into him"—this is the only mention of Satan by name in this Gospel. Luke 22:3 uses the same terminology of Satan "entering into" Judas but indicates it happened before the Last Supper at the time Judas made his deal with the authorities.

Let's look at a brief Satanology. From the New Testament we learn that the serpent, the devil and Satan are one in the same.

And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years (Revelation 20:2 ESV)

So here we see that the serpent of Genesis 3 is Satan. The serpent is not an animal but

a divine being, he was a throne room guardian, a saraph, a serpentine being, one who was part of the divine council in Eden. And what happens in the garden is that Satan decides to deceive humanity to get rid of them; to get humans removed from Eden, from Yahweh's council and family. Why? Why does this divine being want man kicked out of Eden? I think the Scriptures hint at pride or jealousy. The Pseudepigrapha work called, Life of Adam and Eve, elaborates on the motive and role of Satan in the fall of humankind. In chapter 16 it states:

"And we were grieved when we saw you in such joy and luxury. And with guile I cheated your wife and through her action caused you to be expelled from your joy and luxury, as I have been driven out of my glory."

So the divine being, Satan, seems to have been jealous of man, and so got him to sin so Yahweh would kick him out of the cosmic mountain.

Notice Yahweh's promise after the fall of Adam and Eve:

And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel."  Genesis 3:15 NASB

Eve's seed, a human being, will come and fix what Adam has done. A deliverer will come. It is my understanding that the gods understood this promise of a coming redeemer who would be human, so the gods next strategic move was an attempt to destroy the human race by genetically corrupting the human line so that it was no longer truly human. We see this in Genesis 6 where the watchers married human women and produced hybrid offspring.

Enochian texts of the Intertestamental period and the New Testament tell us that these Watchers did two things to disrupt God's plan: 1. They raised up a seed to corrupt and oppose God's people and; 2. They helped humanity destroy itself. These watchers corrupted mankind and taught them all kinds of evil. They taught mankind to use certain technologies, they seduced them with aberrant sexual relationships. They helped humanity in the path of self-destruction (1 Enoch 7:1-6).

So we have Satan corrupting man in the Garden, then we have Watchers/Sons of God corrupting the gene pool with hybrid beings, and we have the Nephilim corrupting and destroying humans in Genesis 6. The flood and the holy wars of Israel wiped out this hybrid race. And the god-man, Yeshua, came and provided redemption for His elect:

Yet we do speak wisdom among those who are mature; a wisdom, however, not of this age nor of the rulers of this age, who are passing away; but we speak God's wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God predestined before the ages to our glory; the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood; for if they had understood it they would not have crucified the Lord of glory; 1 Corinthians 2:6-8 NASB

Who are these rulers? Most would say they are the Jewish rulers. And that is possible, but I think this is a reference to the watchers, the spiritual rulers, the anti Yahweh forces. In a Greek translation of Daniel, a text many scholars consider even older than the Septuagint currently in use, the prince of Persia and Israel's prince, Michael, are both described with the Greek word archon. That is the term Paul uses here for "rulers."

Paul says that had "the rulers of this age" known what God's plan of redemption was—that the messiah must die to accomplish salvation—they "would not have crucified the Lord of glory." They would not have crucified Him because they wanted to thwart the plan of redemption.

The wisdom and rulers of "this age" were coming to nothing, because the age was passing away. He is speaking of the spiritual archon, which were about to be judged at the end of the Old Covenant system. These rulers would shortly have no realm in which to rule, because "this age" was about to end.

At the cross these spiritual beings were defeated and at Pentecost Yahweh begins to reclaim all the nations for Himself. I believe that since AD 70 with the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple Satan, watchers, and demons are all defeated foes. Their purpose was to stop the work of Christ in redeeming man, and that work was completed in AD 70 with the second coming, the resurrection, and the judgment.

Satan the demons, and the lesser disobedient gods have all been destroyed. The battle is over, through His death, resurrection, and second coming Yeshua brought God's elect back into the Garden of God. We are back in fellowship with Yahweh and no power can hinder that. The damage that Satan, the watchers, and demons has caused has all be repaired in Christ.

"Yeshua said to him, 'What you are going to do, do quickly'"—that's a command. The word "quickly" here is the Greek word tachus, which means: "speed, quickness, swiftness, haste". Yeshua's hour had come, and it was essential that Judas carried out the plan of betraying Christ without delay. So Judas is going to be the tool by which the all atoning sacrifice is accomplished.

Now no one at the table knew why he said this to him. Some thought that, because Judas had the moneybag, Yeshua was telling him, "Buy what we need for the feast," or that he should give something to the poor.  John 13:28-29 ESV

The disciples watch Judas take the bread from Yeshua, and they may very well hear Yeshua tell Judas it is time for him to go about his mission. But no one understood what was happening. They didn't know why He sent Judas away. They didn't hear the private conversation.

The fact that Judas "had the moneybag" and was the treasurer of the Twelve, shows that the other disciples trusted him.

So, after receiving the morsel of bread, he immediately went out. And it was night. John 13:30 ESV

Judas promptly obeys the Lord and carries out the betrayal plans.

"It was night"-this is not just a reference to the time of day but the approaching "darkness" as image of sin and the power of Satan as the final struggle between good and evil approaches. In view of Lazarus' "light and darkness" motif, it seems that he wanted to point out the spiritual significance of Judas' departure—both for Judas and for Yeshua.

R. Brown summarizes the significance of the coming of night this way:

"With Jesus' permission to Judas and the solemn entrance of Satan into the drama, the hour of darkness (night) has come. In the closing days of his ministry Yeshua had warned: "Night is coming" (ix 4); "If a man goes walking at night, he will stumble because he has no light in him" (xi 10). Judas is one of those who "have preferred darkness to light because their deeds were evil" (iii 19). John's "It was night" is the equivalent of the words of Jesus reported in Gethsemane by Luke xxii 53: "This is your hour and the power of darkness." Yet even at this tragic moment in Jesus' life as the darkness envelops him, there is the assurance of the Prologue: "The light shines on in the darkness, for the darkness did not overcome it" (i 5). If this optimistic note was true of the situation caused by the first sin in the world, it was also true in the night of Jesus' passion. The long night that now descends upon the earth would have its dawn when "early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb" (xx 1). [Brown, The Gospel According to John, 579].

The story of Judas illustrates what Yeshua had been teaching all through this discourse, Unless Yahweh draws you, you will not come to him. This shows the depravity of the human heart and how desperately we need God's sovereign grace and the new birth. Yeshua had chosen Judas as an apostle. He was with Yeshua for three years. He saw His miracles and heard His teaching. He went out on a mission and saw God work miracles through him. Yet he did not believe and he was lost! Why? Because he wasn't given to the Son by the Father.

James Boice points out that, "Judas teaches us that sinners need more than a good example to be saved. Judas had the best example who has ever lived, but he was still dead in his trespasses and sins (Eph. 2:1). Unless the Holy Spirit imparts new life, sinners are not capable of repenting of sin, believing in Christ, and reforming their lives. That is why Yeshua told the religious Nicodemus (John 3:7), "Do not be amazed that I said to you, 'You must be born again'" [The Gospel of John [Zondervan], 1-vol. ed., p. 894].

I think that what we see in Judas is a dramatic picture of the rejection of Yeshua by the nation Israel. And the darkness the nation Israel is about to experience, after their rejection of Yeshua as the Messiah.

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