Judas the Betrayer

Judas the Betrayer

© 2023 C. O. Bishop

John 13:15-30

15 For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.

16 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him. 17 If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.

18 I speak not of you all: I know whom I have chosen: but that the scripture may be fulfilled, He that eateth bread with me hath lifted up his heel against me. 19 Now I tell you before it come, that, when it is come to pass, ye may believe that I am he. 20 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that receiveth whomsoever I send receiveth me; and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me.

Calling out the Betrayer

21 When Jesus had thus said, he was troubled in spirit, and testified, and said, 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.

31 Therefore, when he was gone out, Jesus said, Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in him.

Introduction:

We could draw numerous lessons from this text. But we are going to focus on the person of Judas, the Betrayer, and the “anatomy” of his decision to betray Jesus.

In verses 15-17, Jesus completed his teaching of how the the disciples were to cleanse one another and restore one another to fellowship. In verses 18-20, Jesus cited Psalm 41:9, a prophecy about the Betrayer, and He gave teaching about people’s response to the Gospel and to the ambassadors of Christ. There are several deep messages in the passage, and we may come back to them later. But today we will focus on the question of who the betrayer was and how he came to be what he was.

In verses 21-30, Jesus was disquieted, and “troubled in Spirit,” because He knew what a catastrophe was about to finally overtake Judas. He was compassionate toward Judas. He had known all along who Judas really was. He knew, despite His having chosen Judas as a disciple and having fed him on God’s Word for three years, that Judas was going to betray Him.

So, why is He troubled in Spirit, now, when He has known for years what was going to happen?

“Destinations”

In some cases, God has chosen a person for a specific “role” to play in history. We then assume that the person “never had a choice.” It is more accurate to say that God knew from eternity-past what kind of choices they would make, and He arranged for them to be “in the right place at the right time,” to make that choice. He provided a destination. Let’s see some examples:

Pharaoh’s Choice in his Chosen Role

Pharoah (in Exodus chapters 1-12) is one such example. This Pharaoh continued to rebel against God, until Egypt was ruined by the plagues. The Bible says he initially hardened his own heart against God’s Word. He hardened his own heart against Moses and against the command to let the people of Israel go. That was his choice.

But, as the plagues became catastrophic, the Bible then says that “God hardened Pharaoh’s heart.” All his counselors and advisers eventually protested against him, because the destruction was so bad. They said, “Are you the only one in the country who does not know that Egypt is destroyed? You are fighting against God!” He rebelled further than any sane, normal person would have gone.

Why? Because, in Exodus 9:16, God says He raised that man up for the specific role he was then playing. God had chosen him as an “insane rebel” and God raised him to “be the Pharaoh” at that time. He did so, specifically so that He could show His glory to Israel and thoroughly judge Egypt. And God saw to it that the foolish Pharaoh would maintain that “insane rebellion” to the end. The Pharaoh and his chariots followed the Children of Israel into the Red Sea, where he was drowned, along with his entire army.
That was his destination.

God’s Choice

God is not cruel, capricious, or despotic, as His enemies commonly assert. The God of the Old Testament (our Creator, Savior, and Judge) is Jesus! He is the “Sinner’s friend,” and the Holy Messiah who calls the lost human race to be reconciled to Himself. The Creator God, in His plan for the redemption of the human race, had to show the result of rebellion and sin. He knew who he could “count on” to carry that rebellion to a ridiculous, insane conclusion.

We laugh at Pharaoh, today, because we see the insanity of his choices. But rebellion against God is always an “insane choice.” And, we do it every day! We want what we want, and we choose to go our own way. We know that His choice will always be wise and perfect, but we still choose to do “something else.”

Jeremiah’s Choice in his Chosen Role

The prophet Jeremiah had an assigned role to play, too: and he still had to choose to play that role. In Jeremiah 1:4-10, God told Jeremiah what his role was to be. He made it clear that Jeremiah was “hand-picked.” He was chosen before he was conceived, to be God’s messenger. But Jeremiah was not happy with that choice, and he tried to “beg off.” God rebuked him for the “attempted rebellion.” Jeremiah unhappily complied with God’s demand. He obeyed, though often weeping.

Jeremiah did have a choice. Had he chosen to just “do what he wanted,” he could have said, “send somebody else!” Jeremiah did not want the role he was given. But after his initial protest, he responded faithfully in every case. God was glorified through Jeremiah’s struggles, grief, and inner turmoil. God sustained him through the abuse he suffered, and we received the “Book of Jeremiah.” (Jeremiah arrived at his destination and his eternal reward with God.)

Jonah’s Choice in his Chosen Role

You remember that Jonah was commanded to go and preach in Nineveh. Jonah had a choice, and he ran the other way! God used circumstances, a major (supernatural) storm, and a gigantic sea-creature, to bring him to a point of repentance. And God brought him to a specific destination.

Jonah eventually changed his mind about his choice. He repented, (that means “changed his mind“) and we know the rest of the story. But he could have chosen to continue in rebellion. God would have used someone else to deal with Nineveh, but Jonah would not have survived the encounter. Jonah would have died in the belly of the fish. Instead, he finally chose to obey God, after three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish. A prophecy was thereby produced. Jesus pointed it out as a picture of His own “three days and three nights in the heart of the Earth.” (Matthew 12:40) (So he arrived at his “destination,” too, but under God’s chastening.)

Judas’s Choice in his Chosen Role

We can’t be sure exactly when Judas began to make his choice. We do know that he was unregenerate and hiding his sin: He was pretending faith. Perhaps he thought that all the other disciples were just as phony as he was, and that they, too, were “just going along for the ride,” hoping to see the kingdom restored in Israel. (And they did harbor that hope…that is a good hope to have. But their hope was in the Person of Jesus, not just in the “coming Kingdom.”)

In John 6:70, Jesus predicted the coming betrayal, saying, “Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?” And, during the “foot-washing lesson,” in John 13:1-17, Jesus warned (v.10, 11) that they were “not all clean” and John pointed out that it was because Jesus knew who was going to betray Him.

In the Gospel of Matthew, the betrayal is mentioned fourteen times all told, either predicting it, commenting about it, or, (in Judas’s case,) confessing the deed. In Matthew 26 alone, there are nine references to that betrayal. So, it isn’t just an “historical fact:” it is serious enough for us to spend some time looking at it.

The Foundation of his Betrayal

The “foundation” of Judas’s eventual betrayal of the Lord was laid in his own unbelief. We don’t see it clearly, at first: he is just “one of the twelve.” But, in John 12:4-6 Judas criticized the worship offering brought by Mary of Bethany: He said it “wasted money that could have helped the poor.” But John, reflecting on that incident, revealed the real problem. Judas did not care about the poor: He was a thief,and (ironically) he was also the treasurer for the group! He wanted that money himself.  Regarding that same incident, Matthew 26:6-13 says the other disciples agreed with Judas about the “waste.” Jesus rebuked all of them collectively.

But, in Matthew 26:14-16, immediately after that same incident; Judas alone went to the chief priests and volunteered to betray Jesus for money. His unbelief had allowed his rebellion to grow strong, and his values to become entrenched against those of Jesus. When he complained (along with the others) that Mary’s gift was a waste of money, Jesus rebuked them all, fairly gently. While the others accepted the reproof and learned from it (as we see later,) Judas remained indignant, and he offered his services to the Enemy.

The longer a person “plays the game,” pretending faith (for whatever reason) the greater the danger is, that, eventually, they will absolutely reject the Lord. Now, in John 13:2, we see that Satan  (in this verse, called “the devil”… “the accuser”) had “put into the heart” of Judas, to betray Jesus. The idea originated in the Pit, just as so many other wicked human ideas in history have originated there. But, at every step, Judas made a choice. His hand was never forced.

The Son(s) of Perdition

In John 17:12, Jesus referred to Judas as “the Son of Perdition.”…”The son of destruction.”

[I used to think this just meant “being lost,”… “the son of lostness,” because the Spanish and Portuguese word “perdido” means “lost,” and I assumed they were the same idea. But the New Testament Greek word is “apoleias” and it is only translated as “destruction, perdition, and damnation.” It means eternal condemnation in Hell!]

Does that mean that Judas was “Born to be destroyed…born to spend eternity in Hell?” Does it truly mean that he had no choice?

Not exactly: God knew, before the Creation, what each of us would do, and He provided a payment for all our sins, through Jesus, at the Cross. We choose to believe His promise, or we choose to reject it. Judas is no exception. Salvation was offered to him exactly the same as it was offered to the other disciples. Unlike them, Judas rejected it. And he arrived at his destination!

Another Son of Perdition

In 2nd Thessalonians 2:3, we see one more person called “the Son of Perdition.” In that passage, it is the Antichrist. But here is a sobering thought to consider:

In John 3:18, Jesus said, “He that believeth on Him (the Son of God) is not condemned: but, he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

The whole world is under the same judgment as Judas and the Antichrist! We were all the “children of wrath” according to Ephesians 2:3. Anyone you know or meet, who has not trusted in Jesus as their Savior, is already headed to the same place as Judas and the Antichrist! We were all lost together, when Adam sinned. No one is “more lost.”

The ground is level at the foot of the Cross!

“Selling Out Cheap”

Once Judas decided to “sell out” Jesus, he “sold out cheap.” It was about a month’s wages: thirty pieces of silver. After he realized the enormity of his error, he tried to return the money to the chief priests. But they rejected it. He found no place for repentance. Only remorse.

Don’t sell out cheap! What can this world possibly offer that is superior to the Reward of God? Some sins have long-term effects. In reality, all sin has long-term effects, but we usually are unable to see the connection between our “small choices” and their eventual consequences.

But Jesus offers us Eternal Salvation through His Shed Blood. The consequence of persistence in rejecting that offer, is eternal loss, just as it was for Judas. We need to keep in mind the consequences of sin, and reach out to others while there is still time.

Lord Jesus, raise us up as Your ambassadors: Give us a passion for lost souls that overcomes our personal fears of rejection. Give us Boldness, Grace, and Wisdom to reach souls for You.

Security of the Believer (Pt. 1)

Introduction to Peter’s Epistles:

Security of the Believer (Part 1)

© 2020 C. O. Bishop

1st Peter 1:1-5

Introduction:

We never want to forget that the Author of any portion of Scripture is God, but I think it is important to remember the identity of the writers as well: The writer, in this case is the Apostle Peter, and it was written probably about A.D. 60. But let’s give some thought to Peter: This is Peter, the companion of Jesus, the commercial fisherman, the one who openly struggled with his humanity, and truly desired to overcome it and walk with Jesus. This is the Commercial fisherman who absolutely knew the danger of going overboard in a storm but was willing to deliberately step out of the boat, to “go for a walk on the water” with Jesus.

This is the same Peter who was sternly rebuked by Jesus for trying to prevent Jesus’s journey to the Cross; the same who swore he would be true to the death, but a few days later, denied he even knew the Lord. The same Peter who ran to the gravesite, and barged right into the empty tomb, seeing for himself the empty grave-clothes, and the folded face covering. This is the same Peter who loved Jesus with all his heart, as a human, and knew his own shortcoming: he couldn’t profess a greater love. The same Peter, who tradition holds was crucified upside down, by his own request, as he didn’t feel he was worthy to die just as Jesus did. We don’t know the manner of his death in detail, and I can’t prove the traditional tale true or false. But all the other notes are directly from scripture.

Remembering who Peter was, as a human, leaves me a little surprised at his understanding of “heavy doctrines,” which may explain why it astonished the Jews of the time as well. What you and I need to remember is that it was a supernaturally-supplied understanding. In the first place, his personal tutor was God the Son! In the second place, when he began his preaching ministry in the book of Acts, he was not only indwelt by, but also “full of” (under the influence of) God the Holy Spirit. The Jews were amazed (Acts 4:8-12), and said, “How could an uneducated man learn these things?” Let us not make the mistake of judging the authorship by what we know of the writer: Peter was just “the guy carrying the bucket!” The one who filled it was God. God is the Author of this epistle, just as He is the Author of the rest of the Bible.

This epistle was to a large group of scattered individuals, not to an individual, nor to a specific assembly in a given town. But the way he describes them in the first five verses allows us to realize that we are also included. Like the other epistles, this is to You.

Security of the Believer

Chapter One

Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, 2 Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied. 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

Key Words and Ideas in the first five verses of this epistle:

I have underscored about 30 words or phrases in these first five verses. If we can grasp the significance of these few words and phrases, we will be well on our way to studying the whole epistle:

Peter (Greek ‘petros’): This is not just “the man’s name:” it is the new name given to Simon Bar-Jonas, by Jesus, and it means “a rock”…a stone, such as one might pick up and move, to be used for some purpose. This is not to be confused with ‘Petra’ which meant an unmovable bedrock: the kind a building is founded upon, not to be moved. Peter is not the “rock” upon which Jesus was to build His church. The Truth about Jesus is! (Matthew 16:18)

Apostle: The word simply means a “sent one.” There is a gift called “apostle,” and that gift is a person. Peter was one of those gifts to the Church (Ephesians 4:11-16). Are there others beside the original 12? Well, there at least were others: Paul was one, for sure. Some think he was the only other one, but in Acts 14:14 both Barnabas and Paul were identified as Apostles. There is some evidence that Apollos was recognized as an apostle. It is possible that the number even included Priscilla and Aquila, but all it says is that they were “of note among the apostles.” At any rate, that is what the word means, and as far as I can see, their primary task was to plant the churches. There are people who argue that they also had to write scriptures. The problem with that idea is that there are only eight writers of the New Testament, and only four of them were called apostles. Mark was not an apostle. Neither was Luke. The “James” who wrote the epistle of James is almost certainly not James the son of Zebedee, and brother of John, but rather one of the brothers of the Lord, who was not even a believer during the Lord’s earthly ministry. And Jude did not claim apostleship, but only said he was James’ brother. Just something to consider.

Jesus: this is a Greek rendering of the Hebrew name we pronounce “Joshua.” It means “The LORD (YHWH) Saves;” which is especially significant because the angel Gabriel announced that his name should be called Jesus because He would save his people from their sins. This is the name before which it is said “every knee shall bow, to the glory of God the Father.” This is the name of which it is said “…there is none other name under heaven, given among men, whereby we must be saved.” This is His personal name, as the Savior, and not just during his earthly ministry. It is his chosen name forever, regardless of into what languages it is translated. Not the pronunciation of it, but the name itself: the “content” of the name.

Christ: This is a Greek word, too, meaning, “the anointed one,” which is what the Hebrew term “Messiah” means.  That is His “office”, as being “chosen and sent by God”…it is not his “last name.” When we refer to Jesus Christ, we are referring to Jesus as the “anointed one” from God, who was sent as our one and only Blood Sacrifice by which the sins of the entire Human race were to be washed away. It means, Jesus the Messiah: Jesus, the Anointed One. The world uses it as a curse, when, in fact, it is a point of worship. He is “The Anointed One!” There is no other!

Strangers: This epistle was especially addressed to the “dispersion:” the Jews who had been scattered among the nations, but specifically the Messianic Jews—the believers among the dispersion (perhaps specifically those who had been scattered after the persecution in Jerusalem)…not just any foreign-born Jew. Remember that the scattered tribes had been gathered in Jerusalem at the day of Pentecost, for the feast of tabernacles. Those who became believers in Jesus stayed in Jerusalem because of the Gospel. When persecution arose, they were scattered again (Acts 8:1) and possibly began drifting back to their homes among the nations. But we are told that wherever they went, the Gospel went. They shared their faith! These are the original recipients of this epistle. But we are to be that sort of person as well.

Elect: This word means “chosen.” A lot of controversy comes over the understanding of this word, so we will address it later, except to point out that it does not always have anything to do with salvation. Aaron’s rod was called “elect,” too, as were the vessels in the temple. It simply means “Chosen.” Rather than spending a lot of time on the subject right now, I would like to point out that the whole Gospel is addressed to “Whosoever Will.” (Revelation 22:17) We see the invitation on the outside of the “gate” or “door,” so to speak, saying, “Whosoever Will May Come! “ Then, by Grace, through faith, we step across that threshold, entering into a permanent relationship with the Creator, through Jesus’ Blood at the Cross. But later on, we begin to learn more, and we look around; finally turning to look back and ask “How did I get in here?” And, on the inside of that same door, we see the sign, “Chosen in Him before the foundation of the Earth!” God chose in Eternity Past, to save all those “In Christ.” Those who respond in faith are automatically part of that group. There is nothing in the scripture to indicate that God deliberately chose the majority of the Human Race to end up in eternal punishment. We choose that ourselves.

Foreknowledge: This goes right along with “election:” we have no doubt about the absolute foreknowledge of God. That’s the way He presents His “Credentials” in Isaiah 46:10. He “declares the end from the beginning.”  We will address both of these ideas more thoroughly, later in this study. Yes, God knew from Eternity Past who would choose to believe Him, and who would not. But He also chose to go to the Cross and die for the sins of even those who rejected Him. You will never meet a person for whom Jesus didn’t die; a person whose sins were not under His Blood. 1st John 2:2 specifies that Jesus did not die “…for our sins only but also for the sins of the whole world.” God knows in advance who will come, but the offer and the promise is genuine.

God: The Greek word is “Theos.” It is His “office”…” it is what He is.” This is not His name. The name he offered to Moses, to give to Israel, was ‘I AM.” The name by which Abraham knew Him was what we call the “Tetragrammaton:” the “YHWH” four-letter “puzzle,” which no one seems to know how to pronounce. (I think Acts 4:12 is a good answer to that puzzle, by the way.) But this passage specifically refers to God the Father.

At this point we are beginning to touch upon the doctrine of the Trinity. In Isaiah 9:6, 7, we are told that “the Son”, the long-awaited Child, of whom we sing at Christmas, “…shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father!” So, at that point I gave up. Jesus confirmed that the Father is greater than He, but this scripture says Jesus is the Father. And, in Acts 5 and in Acts 13, we see the Holy Spirit identified as God, as well. So…I will drop it right there. I think the Trinity is a true “mystery,” and I seriously doubt that it is decipherable by human intellect.

Sanctification: the word means “being set apart for a special purpose.” Like the word “elect,” it can be used for inanimate objects, not just humans. But in the case of humans: saved individuals have become the Lord’s personal property, and are for His use and His honor only. We have been declared holy! Give that some thought, as to how it may apply to your own life. When the vessels from the temple, which were declared Holy, were defiled by enemies who stole them and used them in idolatrous feasts, did they lose their “holy” status? No! They had to be cleansed, and restored to proper use, but they were still God’s personal Property. So are we! So, when we have sinned, and are out of fellowship with God, we are no less holy, positionally, but we are defiled, in terms of condition. We need to be cleansed and restored! That is what 1st John 1:9 is all about: the restoration of a sinning believer.

The Spirit: This is in reference to the Holy Spirit: there is not as much information about the third member of the Godhead as we might like there to be. There is enough, however. He chooses to not speak of Himself, but of Jesus. The bookstores are loaded with extrabiblical books about the third member of the Godhead which are largely false. But there is sufficient information in the scriptures for our use, and Jesus specifically said that the Holy Spirit would not glorify Himself, but only Jesus. We need to keep that in mind, when we are trying to gain “greater spiritual experiences.” Does it really glorify Jesus, or do we simply want a thrill?

Obedience: The Greek word here, is “hupakoe”, meaning to “hearken submissively” or, along with that idea, to “set in order below”…in other words, deliberately choosing for ourselves the “lower rank,” where Jesus is concerned, and taking His Word as authoritative. Interesting concept, isn’t it? Notice that both the word “Obedience” and the following phrase, “the sprinkling of Blood,” are both in reference to the Lord Jesus.

Sprinkling of Blood: This refers back to the Old Testament sacrificial system, under which an object was declared holy through the sprinkling of the blood of a holy sacrifice: a priest or other believer was declared holy (as well as cleansed) by the same sort of sprinkling. This was completely fulfilled in the Person of Jesus Christ, whose Blood did not just “cover” our sin (which is what happened at the day of Atonement, each year) but “takes away the sin of the World,” according to the statement made by John the Baptist, in John 1:29. These Jewish Christians were quite familiar with the Old Testament teachings regarding Blood. They had no trouble understanding what Peter meant. He stated it fully, though: “…Obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ”…so this is not some generic requirement of obedience, nor of any “other” blood. Both are about Jesus. And all of these people had heard Jesus, and had “hearkened submissively.” This is the “obedience to the faith,” called out in Romans 1:5. Paul made it more clear a few verses later, in Romans 1:16, where he stated that the Gospel, being believed in, is the power of God to save those who believe. This is Obedience to the faith. Does it result in more “physical” obedience? Surely it does, yes, but the initial choice to place one’s dependence on the shed blood of Jesus at the Cross for salvation, is the “obedience of faith” that resulted in the “Sprinkling of Blood” upon that believer’s soul, and which cleanses him or her before God, forever!

Conclusion: (Yes it means You!)

If you have heard the Gospel, the “good news” that Jesus’s blood was the full payment for your sins: If you have believed that news, and placed your trust in His shed blood for your salvation, then according to Jesus’s personal promise in John 5:24, all of the things we have been talking about are true of you!

You have been “Chosen in Him before the foundation of the earth!” You have been declared Holy, by the “sprinkling of His blood” and You are His personal Property, forever!

Yes, you entered in because you saw or heard the invitation, “Whosoever Will may Come!” But you can now look back and see that you were chosen in Him, specifically because you were “one who would respond in faith.” So, now, when you read the first chapter of Ephesians, and see all the amazing “positional truths” laid out there, you can know for sure that all those things are true of You, not just some “theoretical person.”

Next week we will continue in 1st Peter, and see the remaining concepts concerning our eternal position in Christ.

Lord Jesus, please secure our hearts against the fear that the Enemy sows in us. Let us rest in your Promise, not in our own wisdom or reasoning. Help us to obey out of Love and confidence, not fear, as we rest in your promise and your Love.