||Against All Odds
||The Long-Expected Traitor
We have learned that Jesus’ whole life, ministry, and atoning sacrifice were foreseen and expected by the Old Testament writers. But did you know that His betrayer was also expected and anticipated? The prophets predicted him, and Jesus announced him. Judas had no idea he was fulfilling the Scriptures by being the turncoat—but he was. Let’s also ponder what Jesus knows about us and how we can be a joy and delight to His heart.
Connect Recap Notes: March 19, 2017
Speaker: Skip Heitizg
Teaching: "The Long-Expected Traitor"
Text: John 13:18-19
We have learned that Jesus’ whole life, ministry, and atoning sacrifice were foreseen and expected by the Old Testament writers. But did you know that His betrayer was also foretold and anticipated? The prophets predicted him, and Jesus announced him. Judas had no idea he was fulfilling the Scriptures by being the turncoat—but he was. Josh McDowell noted that, over a 500-year period, twenty-nine prophecies were given about Jesus’ betrayal, death, and burial, and all were fulfilled within a twenty-four hour period—against all odds. Let’s consider what the Bible tells us about Jesus’ betrayer, Judas Iscariot:
- He Was Among the Followers (v. 2)
- He Was Against the Master (v. 18)
- He Was Anticipated by Scripture (vv. 18-19)
He Was Among the Followers:
- It"s surprising that anyone who walked with Jesus throughout His ministry, heard Him preach and teach, and watched Him heal people would not be loyal to Him. But Judas" name has become synonymous with betrayal.
- Judas comes from the name Judah, meaning praise. His name, once honorable, became the most dishonorable of all time. Even so, he was on the same team as Jesus:
- After a night of prayer, Jesus chose Judas as one of the twelve disciples (see Luke 6:12-16).
- Jesus placed Judas as the treasurer of their group (see John 12:6; 13:29). This was a position of trust and because Judas held it, it was likely one of the reasons none of the others suspected Judas of treason.
- Jesus positioned Judas (see John 13:21-30). At the Last Supper, Jesus named two guests of honor to sit on His right and left: John and Judas. Perhaps Jesus was giving Judas one last chance to change his mind about his course of action. At any rate, John leaned in to ask Jesus who His betrayer was and Jesus handed the condemning piece of bread to Judas.
- Probe: John was right where Jesus wants us to be, leaning toward His heart, choosing Him and His ways. Judas leaned away, choosing his own path. Do you lean toward or away from Jesus?
He Was Against the Master:
- Jesus made it clear that His betrayer would "lift up his heel" (v. 18) against Him—kicking Him away.
- Not everyone sees Judas as a bad guy. Some see him as a misguided patriot or a well-intentioned follower, but Jesus referred to His betrayer as "a devil" (John 6:70) and the "son of perdition" (John 17:12).
- Judas was not good but greedy—not a servant but a saboteur. He saw Jesus not as his Master but as a means to an end. He wanted to see Jesus crowned as king so he would have a high position in the kingdom. He wanted nothing to do with the cross, but you can"t have a crown without the cross.
- Judas was also covetous. He stole from the group"s funds and criticized Mary for "wasting" expensive perfume on anointing Jesus" feet. He sounded pious in saying the money could have gone to the poor, but he really wanted to use the funds for himself (see John 12:1-7).
- Jesus told Judas to leave Mary alone, and perhaps that was confirmation for him that he wasn"t going to get what he wanted by following Jesus" plan. It is possible that at that moment he determined to enact his own agenda, trying to force Jesus to step up and became a political savior.
- Probe: Francis Bacon said, “A bad man is worse when he pretends to be a saint.” Why doesn’t it work for someone to act like a Christian on Sundays and then behave however they want the rest of the week? Are there areas where your personal agenda clashes with that of Jesus?
He Was Anticipated by Scripture:
- Jesus quoted from Psalm 41:9, in which David likely described his own betrayal by a trusted counselor, Ahithophel, who sided with David"s son Absalom when he rebelled against his father (see 2 Samuel 15).
- The difference is that David trusted Ahithophel, saying, "Even my own familiar friend in who I trusted, who ate my own bread, has lifted up his heel against me" (Psalm 41:9). Jesus left out the first phrase, making it clear that He never trusted Judas. He knew all along that Judas would betray Him (see John 6:70-71; 13:10).
- If Jesus knew Judas would betray Him, why did He pick him in the first place? The answer is two-fold:
- To fulfill Scripture (see John 13:18). Jesus had complete and total knowledge of Old Testament prophecy (see John 17:12).
- To love anyone is make yourself vulnerable. There is a high probability that somewhere along the line, someone you love will hurt you—even betray you. We see this probable pain and implicit risk in marriage vows: for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, till death do us part.
- There are other incredibly specific predictions about the details of Judas" treason. Matthew 26:14-16 points back to Zechariah 11:12-13, which describes the end of the ministry of a good shepherd, including prophetic details about haggling over the price, the amount of money involved and the type of metal, and throwing the funds into the house of the Lord, as Judas later did in his remorse.
- Probe: What is the only way to avoid the risks that come with loving someone? Why is it better to choose to love anyway? What do Jesus and Paul say about forgiveness (see Matthew 6:12; Ephesians 4:32)?
Connect Up: Judas’ betrayal came because he put his own agenda ahead of God’s. He had a critical eye and ahypocritical heart. How can we make sure not to make the same mistake?
Connect In: Some people play the game, acting like Christians at church but acting the exact opposite elsewhere. But for every star that falls, billions stay in their place and shine brightly. Who are some shiningstars in your life? Take time to thank God for them.
Connect Out: Knowing that all love, aside from the love of God in Christ, carries inherent risk, how can you reach out to people who have been hurt by love in the name of Jesus? What can you tell them about the impact of God’s ability and desire to forgive sin and heal bitterness and pain?
- People try to predict the future
- God knows the future because He controls it
- He makes detailed predictions
- We can examine them objectively
- The more detailed the predictions, the more impressive it is when they are fulfilled
- For one person to fulfill all the prophecies Jesus did is a statistical impossibility from a man's perspective
- Jesus came not to destroy the prophets, but to fulfill them (see Matthew 5:17)
- Fulfill means to complete, accomplish, or verify by a prediction
- Jesus came to verify the law and the prophets
- One of those prophecies was that the Messiah would be betrayed
- Twenty-nine prophecies about the betrayal, death, and burial of Jesus, all written over 500 years
- All fulfilled in a twenty-four-hour period in the New Testament
- Judas Iscariot is the most infamous traitor in history
- He Was Among the Followers (v. 2)
- On the Same Team
- Jesus chose Judas to be on His team
- His name has become a synonym for treachery, hypocrisy, and betrayal
- His name was once an honorable name, meaning praise
- Probably named after Judas Maccabeus, one of the heroes of Jewish history
- Son of the leader who revolted against the Syrians when they came to oppress Israel
- That family rededicated the temple
- A common name
- Jesus had a stepbrother named Judas
- Jesus had another disciple named Judas
- List of disciples in the New Testament (see Matthew 10:2-4; Mark 3:16-19; Luke 6:13-16)
- Peter is always listed first
- Judas Iscariot is always listed last
- Jesus chose His disciples after a night of prayer (see Luke 6:12-16)
- Near the Same Lord
- For three years, Judas walked and talked with the living Son of God
- Judas was given a prominent place around Jesus
- He was the treasurer, the keeper of the money box
- This is one of the reasons none of the other apostles suspected him of being a traitor
- When Jesus announced there was a betrayer among them at the Last Supper, they all asked, "Is it I?" (see Matthew 26:21-25; Mark 14:18-19)
- Jesus positioned Judas
- Judas sat in a prominent place at the Last Supper: on Jesus' left side (see John 13:21-30)
- They sat at a triclinium—a u-shaped, three-sided table
- Reclined on their left elbow, leaving their right hand free
- John was to Jesus' right, leaning left toward His breast
- At Passover, the places of honor were at the right and left hands of the host
- James and John's mother requested that her sons be given these positions in Christ's kingdom (see Matthew 20:20-21)
- Positioned offered by the host
- When John asked Jesus who the betrayer was, Jesus answered that it was the one to whom He gave the bread
- He gave it to Judas
- The only person He could have reached to give bread to was the person sitting to His left
- Judas had to be the one seated on the left side
- Jesus must have come to Judas before the dinner and asked him to sit there
- It was as if Jesus was making one last reach for his heart
- John was where Jesus wants us to be
- Jesus does not want to just be in your midst; He wants to be in your heart
- Are you leaning toward Jesus like John, or away from Him like Judas?
- He Was Against the Master (v. 18)
- Lifted up His Heel
- Some people don't think Judas was a bad guy
- They make Judas out to be a misunderstood hero who was trying to save Jesus from Himself
- Jesus called Judas a devil and the son of perdition (see John 6:70; 17:12)
- Judas didn't serve Christ; he sabotaged Him
- Judas saw Jesus as his servant who would give him what he wanted
- Judas, like many Jews, expected a political Messiah who would deliver them from Roman oppression
- Perhaps Judas betrayed Jesus to force Him to conquer or be conquered
- Turned away His Heart
- Judas had no place for the cross
- He didn't want the cross; he wanted a crown
- You have to go to the cross to wear the crown
- He was covetous (see John 12:3-8)
- When Mary poured perfume on Jesus' feet, Judas rebuked her, saying it should have been sold and the money given to the poor
- He did not care about the poor; he wanted to steal from the money box
- Jesus rebuked him, which could have been what pushed him over the edge in his betrayal
- He Was Anticipated by Scripture (vv. 18-19)
- Quoting David
- Psalm 41:9
- It's believed David wrote this psalm when he was betrayed by Ahithophel, his trusted advisor (see 2 Samuel 15)
- In quoting David, Jesus left out the phrase "Even my own familiar friend in whom I trusted"
- Jesus never trusted Judas
- He always knew it was Judas (see John 6:64; 13:10-11)
- If Jesus knew Judas so well, why did He pick him?
- To fulfill Scripture (see John 17:12)
- To love anyone is to make yourself vulnerable
- When you give someone your love, it's almost guaranteed that you will get hurt
- Anyone can love an ideal person; the challenge is to love the real person
- Though you have been hurt, love anyway
- Forgive those who have hurt you (see Matthew 6:12)
- Fulfilling Zechariah
- Zechariah 11:11-13; Matthew 26:14-16
- Zechariah predicted Jesus would be betrayed for thirty pieces of silver 520 years before it happened
- A good shepherd would be betrayed
- Haggling over the price (see Matthew 26:15)
- Metal would be silver
- Amount would be thirty pieces
- In the Old Testament, thirty pieces of silver was the price to repay someone whose servant had been gored by an ox
- Jesus is called the Servant of God (see Philippians 2:8)
- Once the money was paid, it would be thrown into the house of the Lord and used to buy a potter's field (see Matthew 27:3-8)
- There are people who come to church who are like Judas
- They play the game and know the rules, fitting right in
- Outside, they lie, curse, scheme, gossip, grumble, complain, barhop, cheat on their spouses, and deny their Lord
- Fallings stars are rare
- For every one that falls, there are billions that don't
- Solid believers don't fall
Francis Bacon, Leonardo da Vinci, Judas Maccabeus, Josh McDowell
2 Samuel 15; Psalm 41:9; Zechariah 11:11-13; Matthew 5:17; 6:12; 10:2-4; 20:20-21; 26:14-16, 21-25; 27:3-8; Mark 3:16-19; 14:18-19; Luke 6:12-16; John 6:64, 70; 12:3-8; 13:10-11, 21-30; 17:12; Philippians 2:8
Keywords: prophecy, betrayal, traitor, prayer, disciples, Last Supper, hypocrisy, Judas Iscariot