I always pictured Judas as the classic veiled villain.  Holding back as Jesus revealed His miracles to the world, Judas scowling and lurking all the while.  Sitting at the edge of the table, hood over his head, a shadow of evil over his eyes.  Surely this is the kind of person who would betray Jesus.

I always pictured Judas as the classic veiled villain.

But I don’t think so now.

When it was evening, Jesus sat down at the table with the twelve disciples. While they were eating, he said, “I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me.”

Greatly distressed, each one asked in turn, “Am I the one, Lord?” (Matthew 26:20-22, NLT)

What we see here is either theatrics or the reality that not one of the other eleven knew who on earth Jesus was talking about.

Human nature is very good at outcasting others and picking up on others’ faults.  If Judas stood out as a rogue, or an imposter, or a traitor, I believe whole-heartedly that, rather than ask who it was, the disciples would have been saying, “Is it Judas?”  Surely outspoken Peter would have, at least.

The disciples aren’t playing a game with Jesus, trying to pretend they don’t know who it is.  They really don’t know who it is.  In fact, later, when Judas leaves the table, they have no idea why, even after Jesus’ warning about a traitor.

As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him.

“What you are about to do, do quickly,” Jesus told him, but no one at the meal understood why Jesus said this to him. Since Judas had charge of the money, some thought Jesus was telling him to buy what was needed for the Feast, or to give something to the poor. As soon as Judas had taken the bread, he went out. And it was night. (John 13:27-30, NIV)

The only person at the table who might have known Judas was the betrayer, other than Jesus, was John.  John, who is next to Jesus at the table and Jesus’ most trusted earthly friend, asks who will betray Jesus.

Leaning back against Jesus, he [John] asked him, “Lord, who is it?” Jesus answered, “It is the one to whom I will give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.” Then, dipping the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, son of Simon. (John 13:25-26, NIV)

Even though John probably knew what Jesus meant, I don’t think John had any idea the extent of the betrayal.  If he had, he would almost certainly have taken action right away.

But the only action he could have taken that would have worked in stopping Judas would have been to take his free will away, and this is exactly what Jesus did not want.  Though Jesus could easily have locked Judas away or struck him dead on the spot, Judas was given to choice to betray the very Jesus he had seen heal the sight of beggars and the bones of the crippled . . . just as are we.  Judas walked away from the very Gatekeeper willing to pay for His entrance to Heaven so he could buy a quicker ticket to Hell than the one he already had.

Would I know Judas if I saw him?
If I don’t know God, then I am him.

There can’t be any greater betrayal of the Son of God than to deny the free gift of His sacrifice that can save us from our sins.

“Am I the one, Lord?” (Matthew 26:22b, NLT)

Published in: on April 18, 2012 at 10:02 pm  Leave a Comment  
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