Summary: To show how betrayal is in us all and but it need not be the end of a relationship with God

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JOHN 13 V18-30

I don’t know anyone who has called their child ‘Judas.’ That name is synonymous with betrayal and treachery. We sometimes hear people being called ‘Judas’ and it is not a term of endearment. Sometimes football fans will shout it at a former player or manager. Usually it means that a person is considered to have ‘sold out’ or ‘sold their principles’ for some earthly gain. So the name Judas will not be found high on the list of what to call a newborn son. However I want this morning as we come close to holy week and Easter to look a little more closely at Judas and his betrayal of Christ. Turn with me to John 13.


Let me set the context of our bible reading this morning. Jesus and his twelve disciples have been travelling around Galilee and Judea for 3 years. These 12 men are his closest companions. These 12 men had shared intimately his life for the past 3 years. They are now in an upper room and Christ has just finished washing their feet, much to their embarrassment. They are now reclining around the table. Each of the disciples is resting on their left side with their right hand free to lift food from the communal bowls of food. Please put out of your head any idea that the last supper is like the famous depiction by Leonardo de Vinci. From the account in John’s gospel we know that John was on Christ’s right side upon a close reading of the text it would appear that Judas was only an arms length away, probably on his left side.


They are all enjoying food and fellowship together when the atmosphere is pierced by the words of Christ in verse 18. Jesus quotes from Psalm 41.9. The phrase ‘lift his heel against me’ was in the ANE a sure sign of contempt and disrespect. Just as showing the sole of your feet is still considered an insult in the Middle East today. It reflects the unexpected and vicious kick of a horse. Jesus has shattered the peace of the evening again. His washing of their feet had embarrassed them. His rebuke at Simon’s refusal to have his feet washed had embarrassed him and them. Now he makes this statement – verse 18 and follows it in verse 19 by telling them that he is not taken by surprise by this turn of events. You know when you look back through John’s gospel you realise that Jesus had often warned his disciples about this very moment arriving – 6.71; 12.4; 13.2 and 13.10. He repeatedly warned them of the treachery amongst them. Stop there for a moment and realise what he is saying to them. 12 intimate friends amongst whom there is a traitor. They are in fact a mixed bunch. There is an ambiguity in their midst and they fail to see it. Only Christ can truly reveal the heart of those who claim to be his followers. We see from the passage that the other 11 disciples did not suspect Judas, hence Peter asking the ‘beloved disciple’ to ask Jesus who it is that he is speaking of. I want us all to note that this morning. Within the body of Christ there will always be a mixed multitude. There will always be those who appear genuine disciples who will in fact betray Christ. But I want you to note also this morning two things:

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