Jesus's glory shines in several ways in this story. For one, it shows Christ's wisdom in choosing Judas. Wisdom? But Judas betrayed Him.
I wouldn't be surprised if the disciples were thinking along the same lines after their Master was arrested. Did He know Judas would sell out? Did He know he had a corrupt heart? Did He know Judas had major character flaws that would cause him to do such a thing? Yes, Jesus knew all those things. So, why would He choose Judas as His disciple?
Jesus spent a lot of time praying before choosing the Twelve. He knew all along what would happen. He knew what Judas would do. We have to remember that Jesus came to glorify His Father and die for our sin, to become the Passover Lamb. And Judas was part of the plan. Up until the crucifixion and subsequent resurrection, even those closest to Jesus didn't understand what He had come to accomplish.
You know . . . I can just imagine that, for the three days Jesus was in the tomb, the disciples wrestled with why Jesus, the Messiah, the Son of God, would choose Judas. But the reason they couldn't understand is partially explained by Isaiah 55:8, "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD."
I can't help but see a personal application. How many times do we wonder why God does what He does? Why does He allow certain things to happen? I'm not referring to things on a global scale, but rather, those that affect us personally: illness, the loss of a child, bankruptcy. But when the time comes and we don't understand why God has allowed it to happen, we must remember to trust Him. His thoughts are not our thoughts. His ways are not our ways.
Another way we see the glory of Jesus in Judas' betrayal is in Judas' own confession. In A.W. Pink's Exposition of John, he points out that Judas had known Jesus closely for three years, and in that time, he couldn't come up with a single reason to justify his own treachery against Him. That's why Judas said in Matthew 27:4, "I have sinned by betraying innocent blood."
We can also see the glory of Christ being revealed in His complete control over all the events surrounding His death. In John 10:18, Jesus said, "No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father."
Jesus was in control of the crowds that wanted to take Him as their king. He was in control of crowd that wanted to stone Him. He was in control of the Pharisees, preventing His arrest. And we can see it happening here, in our text.
The Jews were planning to kill Jesus after the Passover, but Jesus, who displayed His complete control over the events, dismissed Judas so he could betray Him. It seems Judas didn't plan on leaving right then. However, it was necessary for Judas to leave at this moment to ensure Jesus's death would be timed perfectly, so He could be our Passover lamb. This was something more important to Jesus than to anyone else.
We're told that Satan entered Judas when Jesus handed him the bread. But Jesus didn't "bind" the devil, as is the recommendation of some Christians today. As if Satan can disrupt the Lord's plans and purposes! He cannot hinder God. He cannot frustrate God or His plans. Jesus allowed Satan to enter Judas because it was time for Him to become our Passover Lamb. This was not Satan's plan; it was God's.
This doesn't mean Jesus was devoid of emotion. He was, after all, the Son of Man as well as the Son of God. In his sermon "Jesus and Judas," John MacArthur lists several reasons Jesus was "troubled in spirit":
- The love He gave to Judas that was never returned.
- There was ingratitude in Judas's heart.
- Jesus had a deep hatred of sin, and it was sitting right next to Him, sin incarnate.
- He knew of Judas's eternal destiny, hell.
- He could see with His omnipotent eye Satan moving around Judas.
- He had a knowledge of the sin of the betrayer and the terrors of his eternal punishment.
- He sensed all that sin and death meant.
He had an inner awareness that Judas was a classic illustration of the wretchedness of sin, sin which He would have to bear in His own body the next day, sin for which He would be made responsible, and would die for.
Jesus experienced real emotion and endured all that and much more to secure our salvation. One final way we can see Jesus's glory when contrasting it with Judas's betrayal is in how He loved Judas. Jesus knew he would betray Him. Yet, not only did He choose Judas as a disciple but also treated him the same as He treated the others. There is a divine mystery here.
As I mentioned in my last sermon series, Jesus loves the world. He loves everyone in it even though He has a special love, a different love, for the ones the Father gave Him. Everyone receives the same patience and grace because "no one is righteous, no not one" (Romans 3:10) and "all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). So, Jesus treats everyone the same way He treated Judas, with patience and grace, offering salvation to all right to the end.
We can still see Jesus treating us the same way today, enduring the hostility of sinners against Him (Hebrews 12:3) with patience and love. When I see all sorts of evil going on in the world, when I see parades celebrating sin and flaunting it, when I see people openly blaspheming Jesus . . . part of me thinks, "Why don't You just make them stop, Jesus?" He will one day. But for now, Jesus is displaying His patience, grace, and love to all people, "not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9).
So, the question is this: Are we like Judas? As much as we want to say no, before we trusted in Christ as Savior and Lord, we were all like Judas. From the moment we're born, we all have the seeds of betraying Christ in our heart and we don't deserve the love of God.
Paul says in 1 Corinthians 1:21 that, before Christ, we were alienated from God, hostile in our minds, doing evil deeds. It's not until we put our faith, hope, and trust in Christ that we are freed from being slaves of sin and become children of God.
Even as Christians, we sometimes act like Judas. We choose to worship something more than we worship Christ. We put our jobs, our children, our spouses, our phone, our toys in place of Jesus. We choose to worship something we perceive to be better than our Savior. The good news is that He still loves us and continues to offer us forgiveness.
I encourage you to soberly examine your heart. If you aren't trusting Him as Lord and Savior, come to Christ for eternal life while you still can. And if you have, ask Him to enable you to seek Him above all else.