18 I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen. But the Scripture will be fulfilled,[a] ‘He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.’ 19 I am telling you this now, before it takes place, that when it does take place you may believe that I am he. 20 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever receives the one I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.” 21 After saying these things, Jesus was troubled in his spirit, and testified,“Truly, truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” 22 The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he spoke. 23 One of his disciples, whom Jesus loved, was reclining at table at Jesus’ side,[b] 24 so Simon Peter motioned to him to ask Jesus[c] of whom he was speaking. 25 So that disciple, leaning back against Jesus, said to him, “Lord, who is it?” 26 Jesus answered, “It is he to whom I will give this morsel of bread when I have dipped it.” So when he had dipped the morsel, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. 27 Then after he had taken the morsel, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, “What you are going to do, do quickly.” 28 Now no one at the table knew why he said this to him. 29 Some thought that, because Judas had the moneybag, Jesus was telling him, “Buy what we need for the feast,” or that he should give something to the poor. 30 So, after receiving the morsel of bread, he immediately went out. And it was night. – John 13:18-30
An interesting passage, especially the way John writes it. Few things that I would like to point from this is
- Jesus says that Judas betraying him is “To fulfill the scripture”, (John 13: 18) as foretold by the psalmist in Psalms 41 verse 9
- In verse 27 it is written that as soon as Judas took the bread Satan entered into him.
So was Judas chosen beforehand to betray Jesus?
Before I try to answer that I would like to turn your attention to two other characters in the Bible in similar situation, Pharaoh and Saul.
When the Lord commanded Moses to deliver his people out of Egypt he said that He had hardened Pharaoh’s heart (Ex 4:21), after every sign that Moses performed the Lord would harden pharaoh’s heart so that he would not let the Israelites leave. Exodus 10:1 explains the reason behind this that the Israelites would know the awesome power of God. Not only that, Exodus 14:4 tells us that God did this to reveal himself to the Egyptians. Pharaoh’s predecessor were God-fearing, at least the ones at the time of Joseph. Maybe God wanted to remind the Egyptians about his awesome power.
King Saul was chosen to lead Israelites even though he belonged to the smallest and most notorious of the twelve tribes – ‘Benjaminites’. But when David was ready to take over as king we find in 1 Samuel 16:14 that the spirit of the Lord departed from Saul and an evil spirit from God troubled him. So was Saul just a temporary candidate to fill out the vacant position. We find it being mentioned several times of how an evil spirit from God came over Saul (1 Sam 18:10). Even though he was not the one God had planned to lead Israel, God bestowed him with his blessings so that Saul may lead God’s People the way God wanted ( 1 Sam 10-11). But his impatience (1 Sam 13) and his greed for wealth (1Sam 15) led him to disobey God and therefore he was rejected by God.
Now Judas was chosen to be Jesus’ disciple and in fulfillment of the scripture Judas had to betray Jesus. But when we look at the character of Judas we find that he was the holder of the money bag and would often steal from it for his benefit (John 12:6). In Mark 14:10 it is implied that after Jesus rebuked Judas for his comment regarding the wastage of perfume, he got offended and went straight to the Pharisees to strike a deal for him to betray his ‘Master’. All four Gospels describe the events of the Last Supper from different perspectives but John who was sitting closest to Jesus describes it the best, “As soon as Judas took the bread Satan entered into him”
And Jesus told Judas what he had already planned to do. Even after realizing what he did, he did not come to the Lord for forgiveness. Peter who denied Jesus three times, begged for forgiveness and continued in God’s ministry for many years. The same could not be said for Judas who even after realizing what he did, did not come to the Lord for forgiveness and hung himself.
Our God is fair and just. He is always giving us opportunities to glorify his name and even when he puts us through trials we need to realize that it is for a greater cause and surrender ourselves completely to him.