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

"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. Now I tell you before it come, that, when it is come to pass, ye may believe that I am he" (John 13:18-19).

The name "Judas" inspires no one. The other apostles accepted Judas as their equal for three years, and it appears that none of them suspected his wicked heart and actions. Judas Iscariot masqueraded as one of Jesus' closest friends. He not only posed as a friend but he pretended to be a faithful and zealous disciple and apostle. Jesus honored him by making him a part of the inner circle of twelve, taking him everywhere he went teaching and healing the people, when in fact, Judas was a thief and a traitor. He stole from the bag of money intended to feed the poor, and he will always be remembered as a traitor of the worst kind.

We gain deeper insight into Judas' heart in Psalms 109. Peter identified the prophecy as Judas Iscariot: "Let his days be few; and let another take his office" (Acts 1:20). We can easily recognize Judas' heart as he condemned Mary for anointing Jesus' body for the burial. The Psalmist declared "Because that he remembered not to shew mercy, but persecuted the poor and needy man, that he might even slay the broken in heart" (Psalms 109:16). The Lord further revealed Judas' heart in that he loved to curse! In fact, the Lord testifies that he " clothed himself with cursing like as with his garment...for a girdle wherewith he is girded continually" (Psalms 109:18-19). Like the Pharisees, Judas was a great hypocrite!

Judas easily concealed his true nature from the rest of the disciples for the entire three years. He may have incited the other apostles to have evil thoughts at times (Mark 14:4). Immediately after Jesus rebuked Judas, he went straight to the high priest and volunteered to betray his Master! Solomon warned us that if we rebuke a wicked man, we will get ourselves a blot. A root of bitterness can easily arise and defile many. But what was the cause of his bitterness? Covetousness! Judas had 300 pence in mind, and Jesus blocked his greed! Furthermore, Judas stole from God himself, but God said vengeance is mine, I will repay. Jesus sorrowfully noted: "Did not I choose you the twelve, and one of you is a devil" (John 6:70). I don't know of a soul who would want to stand in Judas' shoes on Judgment Day.

Jesus showed a beautiful attitude toward his self-declared enemy. He knew what Judas was in the very beginning, but said nothing for three years. Only when it was necessary to defend one of God's children from Judas did he oppose him. To show the apostles that he had the power of God to foretell the future, he warned the apostles about Judas. Only then did he differentiate between Judas and the rest of the apostles: "Ye are clean, but not all," and "He that eateth my bread lifted up his heel against me," (John 13:10, 18), but even then he did not name him. It seemed as if Jesus wished to give Judas every opportunity to repent. Then for the last time, when they sat down to eat, Jesus appealed to him saying, "One of you shall betray me" (Matthew 26:21; Mark 14:18; Luke 22:21; John 13:21). And at the end, in answer to His disciples' questions, He revealed his betrayer, not by name, but by a sign: "He it is, for whom I shall dip the sop, and give it him" (John 13:26). All of Jesus love seemed to have no affect on Judas. He quickly left the upper room; the opportunity he longed for had come ( John 13:30; Matthew 26:16). He soon found himself with the high priests, and led the mob to Jesus as he prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane. He dared to betray his Master with a kiss! (Matthew 26:47-50; Mark 14:43,44; Luke 22:47; John 18:2-5).

Somehow Judas suddenly realized the enormity of his sin. Rather than turn to righteousness, he committed still another wicked act. Matthew testified that "... he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself" (Matthew 27:5). His last act on earth was in keeping with the rest of his life. He began, lived, and died in his wickedness! It seems to be very fitting that the chief priests purchased the potter's field, and called it "the field of blood." The prophecy (Zechariah 11:12-14) was fulfilled. The last thing we hear about Judas simply states that he "obtained a field with the reward of his iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out" ( Acts 1:16-20 vs. 18).

"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).

Beth Johnson

Published in The Old Paths Archive