“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” (John 13:21).
Among the original 12 chosen by the Lord one was an unbeliever, who ultimately betrayed Jesus to His enemies. We are told in verse 18 that this took place, “that the scripture may be fulfilled, He that eateth bread with me hath lifted up his heel against me”. It was a part of the Scriptural prophecy of the Messiah, that His sacrificial death for sinners would be occasioned that way.
When Peter and John wanted to know which one it was, Jesus signified the answer by invoking the part of the prophecy that spoke of the traitor eating bread with Him. “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” (verse 25).
By this act of sharing the sop the Scripture was literally fulfilled; the moment had arrived. Like all the events and prophecies surrounding the crucifixion, there was also a message from God concerning the significance of what was transpiring. It was a message concerning the face of unbelief. Though Judas had attached himself to the followers of Jesus, he was enslaved by sin and confirmed in unbelief.
His reaction to all Jesus' recent talk about His coming crucifixion was a decision to extricate himself and also make a little money out of it all. He responded to all Jesus' friendship and words of grace by making a terrible decision to leave it all and capitulate to Satan. “And after the sop Satan entered into him” (verse 27a). He made his choice. “He then having received the sop went immediately out: and it was night” (verse 30).
While Judas is a dark and sinister figure on the page of human history, we need to take thought about what lesson God wants us all to learn from him. First, he teaches us of the potential of evil in all of us without the grace of Jesus Christ. Judas enjoyed great kindness from the hand of the Lord, and then sold Him out for thirty pieces of silver.
Second, he sinned away great opportunity to receive the gift of eternal life. He travelled with Jesus, saw His mercy and forgiveness and witnessed His life-giving power. Yet he had no interest in the things of eternity. How many are like that today. They want the blessing, and liberty, and good things that are often attached to Christianity in this world, but they have no time for the Saviour Himself.
Third, the heart of Judas became hardened and darkened enough to commit such evil by habitual rejection of the Saviour. He had the privilege of seeing Jesus work in the lives of other men. He heard the good news of forgiveness of sin and personal salvation again and again and refused to open his heart to Christ. How are people today different than Judas?
Ian Kurylyk is pastor at Summerside Fundamental Baptist Church.