Harmony of the Gospels

Tom Lowe

Date: Thursday of Jesus final week.
Location: Jerusalem (Upper Room)

Title: Judas Revealed-Defects

Scripture: MATTHEW 26:21-25, MARK14:18-21, LUKE 22:21-23, JOHN 13:21-30 (FOCAL PASSAGE)

Prophesy Fulfilled: Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me. (Psalm 41:9)  


Judas name has been linked to treason for over 2,000 years as a result of his betrayal of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Judas did not act alone for we are told that at “The Last Supper” the devil entered into him. Is Judas responsible for what he did? How was his evil plan discovered?


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)
And as they sat and did eat, Jesus said, Verily I say unto you, One of you which eateth with me shall betray me. (Mark 14:18)
But, behold, the hand of him that betrayeth me is with me on the table. (Luke 22:21)
And as they did eat, he said, Verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me. (Matthew 26:21)


When Jesus had thus said.

For what Jesus had just said look at the verses that precede this passage.

he was troubled in spirit,

The knowledge that one of His disciples would betray Him caused the Lord to be deeply troubled.  Jesus was both God and man, and He was troubled in the Spirit; that means that He was sorrowful because Judas, who had been walking with Him for more than three years, was about to betray Him to His enemies.  He knew even at that moment that Judas would betray Him with a kiss and sell Him for the price of a slave. Also, the agony and distress of soul, under the pressure of the sin of the world, was bearing down On Him; very soon He would come face to face with the devil and all the forces of evil in the Garden of Gethsemane, and the knowledge of all this caused Him to be trouble in spirit.

and testified, and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me.

By placing this after the institution of the Lord’s supper, though in Matthew and Mark it is placed before it, it seems plain that Judas did receive the Lord’s supper, did eat of that bread and drink of that cup; since, after the Lord’s Supper was over, Christ said, “Behold, the hand of him that betrayeth me is with me on the table” (Luke 22:21).” The double "verily” used here would serve to capture the attention of the disciples and cause them to pay close attention to what the Lord was saying. 

Note: There have been those that have eaten bread with Christ and yet have betrayed him.

No one could betray Him except someone He had placed His confidence in. Although Jesus predicted His betrayal, but that was not what caused Judas to sin, even though the event followed the prediction. Christ is not the author of sin, and yet, we can say of this heinous sin of Judas:
1. Christ foresaw it.  Those things that are done secretly and in the future, and hidden from our eyes, are naked and open before the eyes of Christ. He knows what is in men better than they do themselves [2](2 Kings 8:12), and therefore sees what will be done by them.
2. He foretold it (betrayal), not only for the sake of the rest of the disciples, but for the sake of Judas himself, with the purpose of giving him a warning and an opportunity to escape the snare of the devil. Traitors will usually end their plots when they are found out; surely Judas, when he finds that his Master knows his plans, will stop and perhaps repent; if not, it will intensify his judgment.
3. He spoke of it with an evident concern; he was troubled in the Spirit when he mentioned it. He had often spoken of his own sufferings and death, without any such trouble in His Spirit as he exhibits here, when he spoke of the ingratitude and treachery of Judas. This touched him in a tender way.

Note, the sins of the disciples of Christ trouble the Spirit of their Master; the sins of Christians bring Christ grief. This went to His heart, like the unfaithfulness of children grieves their parents [3](Isaiah 63:10).

Then the disciples looked one on another, doubting of whom he spake. (John 13:22)
And they began to be sorrowful, and to say unto him one by one, Is it I? and another said, Is it I? (Mark 14:19)
And they began to enquire among themselves, which of them it was that should do this thing. (Luke 22:23)
And they were exceeding sorrowful, and began every one of them to say unto him, Lord, is it I? (Matthew 26:22)

They saw their Master was distressed, and therefore they were disturbed. When David wept over his son’s rebellion, all his followers wept with him [4](2 Sa. 15:30); now Christ’s disciples do the same.

Note, that which troubles Christ is, and should be, troubling to all that are His, particularly the unfaithfulness and sinfulness of those that are called by his name:

The disciples were shocked, and in amazement, so they kept on looking at one another. We cannot imagine the shockwave that this statement must have sent through the disciples. For the first time, Jesus had clearly indicated that the betrayer would be one of the Twelve! They began to be suspicious of themselves; they said one by one, Is it I? They did not know which of them would be guilty of this dastardly thing, and no one suspected Judas.

All but one of the disciples attempted to discover who the traitor was. They looked contemplatively in one another’s face, to see who blushed, or, by some change in their countenance, exhibited guilt in the heart. Those who were faithful had clear consciences so their faces didn’t blush from the fear of being discovered. On the other hand, the traitor had his conscience so seared that he was not ashamed, neither could he blush, and so he could not be discovered in this way.

Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved. (John 13:23)

In those days, people did not sit up at a table for a meal but reclined on low couches. The disciple whom Jesus loved was John [5](John 21:20, 24), the writer of this Gospel. The Lord loved all the disciples [6](John 13:1), but John enjoyed a special sense of closeness to Him.  I believe that Jesus loved Mary, Martha, and Lazarus with the same type of love, but this does not mean our Lord had respect of persons; we know that He did not [7](Romans 2: 11).  What He does for one of His children He will do for all if they will fully surrender and follow him.  John the beloved disciple did that. 

John omitted mentioning his own name, but did not hesitate to mention the fact that he was the favorite, and sat next to his Master.

Simon Peter therefore beckoned to him, that he should ask who it should be of whom he spake. (John 13:24)

Peter was eager to know who the betrayer was. If they knew his identity they might stay clear of him, and, if possible, put a stop to his plans. The reason why Peter did not ask the Lord himself was because John, who set next to Jesus, was in a position where he could whisper the question into the ear of Christ, and receive an answer that the others could not hear. Peter therefore, motioned to John rather than speaking audibly. Perhaps by nodding his head, he asked John to find out the name of the betrayer.

He then lying on Jesus’ breast saith unto him, Lord, who is it? (John 13:25)

Leaning back on Jesus’ breast, John asked the crucial question in a whisper and was probably answered in a low voice also. When he asked the question, he showed a high regard for his fellow-disciples, and a reverence for his Master by calling Him Lord.

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. (John 13:26)
And he answered and said unto them, It is one of the twelve, that dippeth with me in the dish. (Mark 14:20)
And he answered and said, He that dippeth his hand with me in the dish, the same shall betray me. (Matthew 26:23)

John asked, “Who is it?” Christ did not identify the betrayer by name, instead He whispered in John’s ear that He would give the sop (a piece or crumb of bread dipped in sauce) to the betrayer. Then the Lord took a piece of bread, dipped it in the meat juice, and handed it to Judas—a token of special affection and friendship. Some say that an Eastern host gave the bread to the honored guest at a meal. By making Judas the honored guest, the Lord in this way tried to bring him to repentance by His grace and love.  Judas is at a crossroads; even at this late hour the door was still open, and would remain open until the last.  In the garden Jesus will say, “…  Friend, where for art thou come?...” (Matthew 26:50)—still keeping the door open for Judas. Even in betrayal, the Lord loved Judas.

Jesus knew what Judas would do.  As another has stated it, “foreknowledge is not causation.” That is, although the Lord knew what Judas would do, the Lord did not force him to do it.  In fact, he offered his friendship to Judas to the very last.

There was a certain irresistibility in what Judas was going to do. But that did not free the traitor from responsibility; it would be better for him if he had never been born. Judas deliberately chose to sell the Savior and for that reason he is held personally responsible. The lesson here is that Christ sometimes gives sops to traitors; worldly riches, honors, and pleasures are sops, which He sometimes gives to wicked men.

And after the sop Satan entered into him. Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly. (John 13:27)

The devil had already put it into Judas’ heart to betray the Lord. Now Satan entered him. At first, it was merely a suggestion. But Judas considered it, liked it, and agreed to it. Now the devil took control of him. Knowing the betrayer was now fully determined, the Lord told him to do it quickly. Obviously, He was not encouraging him to do evil but simply expressing sorrowful acceptance of what He knew was a fact.
After the sop, Satan entered into him to possess him with a compelling bias against Christ and His doctrine, and contempt for Him as if His life had little value. He aroused within him a desire for the monetary reward the priests promised him.

Some may say, “Wasn’t Satan in him before? So why does it say, now Satan entered into him? Judas was a devil all along [8](John 6:70); a son of perdition, but now Satan gained a greater possession of him. His purpose to betray his Master was now ripened into a firm resolve. Note, though the devil is in every wicked man that does his works [9](Eph. 2:2), sometimes he enters more powerfully than at other times, when he encourages them to do some colossal wickedness. Christ speaks of the sin of Judas as greater than that of any of his persecutors.

Why did Satan enter into him after the sop? Perhaps he was aware that Christ had discovered the plot, and it made him desperate to move on to the actual betrayal.

Christ sent Judas on his awful mission, and delivered him up to his own heart’s lusts. He said to him, “What thou doest, do quickly.” This is not to be understood as our Lord either directing him to go ahead with the wicked deed or justify the act itself. His purpose was either:
1. To abandon him to the power of Satan. Christ knew that Satan had entered into him, and had calm possession of him; and therefore He gives him up as a hopeless case.
2. To challenge him to do the worst he could. It is as if He was saying, "Thou art plotting against me, put thy plot in execution and welcome, the sooner the better, I do not fear thee, I am ready for thee.’’

Note, our Lord Jesus was very willing to suffer and die for us, and was eager to avoid any delays in accomplishing the assignment God had given Him.

Christ speaks of Judas’s betraying him as a thing he was now doing, although, to this point He had only proposed it. That indicates that those who are planning and fabricating trouble are, in God’s eyes, the same as doing it.

Judas made his own decision.  God never sends a man to hell unless that man first of all sends himself there. You see, God ratifies human decision; God seconds the motion.  When a man says that he accepts Christ, God says, “I second it; I receive you.” When a man says that he rejects Christ, as Judas did here, God says, “I second the motion.”

Now no man at the table knew for what intent he spake this unto him. (John 13:28)
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. (John 13:29)

This verse confirms that the other disciples did not hear the previous conversation between Jesus and John about the bread. Christ had addressed His statement about the sop to John and consequently, he was the only one who understood its implications; the others still did not know that Judas was about to betray their Lord.
Some thought that Jesus had simply told Judas to go quickly and buy something for the feast, or because Judas was the treasurer, the Savior had instructed him to make a donation to the poor.

This verse points out that Jesus did not perform miracles to supply the physical needs of Himself and His disciples.  Also very noticeable here is the fact that the disciples had no idea Jesus was so near the end of His earthly ministry.  Had they realized that he was to be crucified within the next 24 hours they would not have supposed he was sending Judas to buy supplies?

He then having received the sop went immediately out: and it was night. (John 13:30)

Note the symbolism here. As Judas left the Savior to betray Him, he was surrounded by darkness. This symbolizes the evil and sin surrounding the action of Judas.

Judas received the piece of bread as if it were a token of the Savior’s high regard, and then he left the upper room and the company of the Lord and of the other disciples. The Scriptures add the meaningful words “and it was night”. It was not only night in a literal sense, but it was night spiritually for Judas—a night of gloom and remorse that would never end. It is always night when men turn their backs on the Savior.

Judas left in order to follow through on his plans to betray the Lord. Now, as to his leaving, there are two things that we should take notice of:
1) Of his speedy departure: He left immediately and in a hurry.
a. For fear of being found-out by the other disciples, because he thought they would all grab hold of him, and put him to death, or at least put an end to his plans.
b. He went out as one weary of Christ’s company and the companionship of the eleven apostles who remained in the upper room with the Savior. Christ did not need to expel him, he expelled himself.
c. He went out to put his plan into action, but first he had to look for those religious leaders who would be his partners in the evil plot to arrest Jesus, to let them know that he had been found out. They must move quickly. When he found them, he laid out the plan and made an agreement with them to betray the Lord for thirty pieces of silver, the price of a slave.
2) Of the time of his departure: It was night.
(a) It was night, and not the usual time for doing business, but in spite of that and Satan having already entered into him, he was not hampered by the coldness and darkness of the night.
(b) Because it was night he did not have to worry about being recognized. He was not willing to be seen making a deal with the chief priests, and therefore he chose the dark night as the proper time for such works of darkness. Those whose deeds are evil love darkness rather than light [10](Job 24:13).

Matthew, Mark, and Luke record that Jesus had one more thing to say about Judas.

The Son of man indeed goeth, as it is written of him: but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! good were it for that man if he had never been born. (Mark 14:21)
And truly the Son of man goeth, as it was determined: but woe unto that man by whom he is betrayed! (Luke 22:22)
The Son of man goeth as it is written of him: but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born. (Matthew 26:24)
Then Judas, which betrayed him, answered and said, Master, is it I? He said unto him, Thou hast said (Matthew 26:25)

“The “Son of Man,” of course, is the title Jesus gave himself. He predicts that the treason would happen: Truly the Son of man goes as it was determined, goes to the place where he will be betrayed; for he is delivered up by the counsel and foreknowledge of God, because if that was not the case Judas could not have delivered him up. Christ was not driven to his sufferings, but cheerfully went to them. It is very probable that Judas encouraged himself with this thought, that his Master had often said he must be betrayed; "And if it must be done, surely God will not find fault with the one who does it, since no one can resist His will.’’ That is also the argument in [11]Romans 9:19.  But Christ tells him that this will be no excuse for him; The Son of man in reality goes; as it is written of him, as a lamb to the slaughter; but woe to that man by whom he is betrayed. God’s decree to permit the sins of men, and bring glory to himself, out of them, does not mean that He makes sin necessary or that He causes men to sin. God allowing sin will never be an excuse for committing the sin, and will not lessen the punishment. Christ was delivered indeed by the determinate counsel and fore-knowledge of God; but, notwithstanding that, it is with wicked hands that he is crucified and slain [12](Acts 2:23, 22:22). The sufferings and death of the Lord Jesus were determined, but Judas betrayed Him with the full consent of his will. That is why Jesus said, “Woe to that man by whom He is betrayed.” Though Judas was one of the twelve, he was not a true believer.  Our Lord’s warning went unheeded by Judas, and it goes unheeded by lost sinners today. People will go where Judas went unless they repent and trust the Savior.

Matthew is the only gospel writer to mention that before Judas left he asked Jesus point blank if he were the one and Jesus answered, “Yes.”

_______________________Scripture References_______________________
[2](2 Kings 8:12) And Hazael said, Why weepeth my lord? And he answered, Because I know the evil that thou wilt do unto the children of Israel: their strong holds wilt thou set on fire, and their young men wilt thou slay with the sword, and wilt dash their children, and rip up their women with child.

[3] (Isaiah 63:10) But they rebelled, and vexed his Holy Spirit: therefore he was turned to be their enemy, and he fought against them.

[4] (2 Samuel 15:30) And David went up by the ascent of mount Olivet, and wept as he went up, and had his head covered, and he went barefoot: and all the people that was with him covered every man his head, and they went up, weeping as they went up.

[5] (John 21:20-24) Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following; which also leaned on his breast at supper, and said, Lord, which is he that betrayeth thee?...This is the disciple which testifieth of these things, and wrote these things: and we know that his testimony is true.

[6] (John 13:1) Now before the feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end.

[7] (Romans 2: 11) For there is no respect of persons with God.

[8] (John 6:70) Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?

[9] (Ephesians 2:2) Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:

[10] (Job 24:13) They are of those that rebel against the light; they know not the ways thereof, nor abide in the paths thereof.

[11] (Romans 9:19) Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will?

[12] (Acts 2:23, 22:22) Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain…And they gave him audience unto this word, and then lifted up their voices, and said, Away with such a fellow from the earth: for it is not fit that he should live.

Do you have any questions or comments?

 Wang Ming Dao served as the pastor of Peking’s largest church. During Communistic persecution, he was thrown into prison because of his testimony and ministry. At the hands of his perpetrators, he was tortured for his faith. Fearing even greater suffering, Dao recanted his belief in Christ and was released by the authorities. He quickly regretted his decision and was seen walking the streets of the city weeping and mumbling, “I am Judas! I have betrayed my Lord!” Within a few weeks, he was unable to bear the guilt and shame any longer. He returned to the Communist authorities, confessed his faith in Christ, and asked to be put back in prison. For the next twenty-seven years he suffered the abuse of prison life, but never again entertained the thought of denying his Lord. When Dao was released at the end of his life, the Chinese church considered him a hero who had given strength and assurance to the many who faced the perpetual threat of persecution and imprisonment. Enduring faith will experience doubts, struggles, and disappointment. It happened to John the Baptist (Matthew 11:2–3) and it will happen to every person who seeks to walk in Christlike obedience. In times of spiritual crisis, may we be inspired by both the success and failure of people like Wang Ming Dao (1 Peter 5:9).

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