John 13:18-30 – God Is Sovereign Over Betrayal

Today our text is about Jesus’ disclosure of Judas’ coming betrayal.
• Jesus uses this moment to provide a number of things to the disciples.
• And, importantly, it is how He initiates the immediate sequence of events that lead to His crucifixion.
    o “What you are going to do, do quickly” (vs. 27).
• We will also see that there is a lot to learn about sin.


John 13:18–21 (ESV) — 18 I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen. But the Scripture will be fulfilled, ‘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.”

Before Judas’ betrayal plays out in John 18, Jesus addresses it here in two ways for the benefit of the disciples.
• He sets the Context and gives Comfort.
• His Context is Psalm 41:9.
• His Comfort is Prophecy, Providence and Pentecost.

The Context – Psalm 41:9:
Psalm 41:5–10 (ESV) — 5 My enemies say of me in malice, “When will he die, and his name perish?” 6 And when one comes to see me, he utters empty words, while his heart gathers iniquity; when he goes out, he tells it abroad. 7 All who hate me whisper together about me; they imagine the worst for me. 8 They say, “A deadly thing is poured out on him; he will not rise again from where he lies.” 9 Even my close friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted his heel against me. 10 But you, O LORD, be gracious to me, and raise me up, that I may repay them!

Jesus pointed to this Scripture to frame the betrayal He was about to reveal.
• David’s words, a petition to God against his enemies, were also a prophecy of betrayal against the Messiah.
• “Scripture will be fulfilled”, Jesus said.
• Someone who broke bread with us will lift “his heel against me”.

Significance of the Heel:
• Lifting a heel against Jesus is a sign of contempt for Him.
• In the Middle East it is a stark contrast to the intimacy of breaking bread together – “he who ate my bread”.
• Joining the two together paints a clear picture of “a betrayal by a close friend” – Kostenberger.

Using one’s feet as a symbolic display of contempt is still practiced today in the Middle East.

An obvious question arises as Jesus reveals His coming betrayal.
Would the real Messiah be betrayed by a close companion?
• This revelation is troubling, embarrassing and needs explanation.
• Jesus next words both answer this question with an explanation.
• And they provide needed comfort to the disciples for the pain it would cause them emotionally.

The Comfort and Explanation:
• We must remember that the disciples’ grasp of the Passion Week events was somewhat tenuous.
• They still don’t get much of what Jesus had taught about His death.
• In the midst of this, to be faced with the betrayal of Jesus by a close companion makes it even worse.
    o Maybe Judas knows something we don’t?
    o If he saw what I saw and bailed, maybe I misunderstood?
    o Are others of us going to betray Jesus too?

Jesus, understanding this, tells them in verse 19, “I am telling you this now, before it takes place, that when it does take place you may believe that I am he.
So what does He tell them?
• He tells them at least three things that both explain and simultaneously comfort.

(1) Fulfillment of Prophecy
Scripture will be fulfilled” (vs. 18)
• This is not Plan B.
• It was ordained by God.
• It is not a surprise or hiccup in God’s plan of redemption.
• Jesus’ role as the suffering servant is not a change in plans initiated by the betrayal.
• For these reasons, when it happens, you can look back to this moment and know that “I am he” (vs. 19).
    o Another example of faith rooted in knowledge!

(2) God Is in Control
I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen” (vs. 18a).
• These words of Jesus relate directly to His teaching from John 3, 6 and 10.

Judas is not “chosen” by Jesus and so in his depravity Judas rejected Jesus (more on this soon).
• John 6:44 (ESV) — 44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.
• John 6:64–65 (ESV) — 64 But there are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.) 65 And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.”

In fact, Jesus included Judas in the Twelve knowing full well what he was and what he would do.
• John 6:70 (ESV) — 70 Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the Twelve? And yet one of you is a devil.”

God is God of everything; every atom, every purpose, every decision.
• There are no surprises.
• And not just because He knows the future.
• But because he ordains the future.

(3) Confirmation at Pentecost
Whoever receives the one I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.” (vs. 20)
• Jesus points to a coming historical event that will confirm everything He has ever taught the Eleven.
• He tells them that when they receive the Holy Spirit, they have confirmation that they were received by Him – the “I am he”.
• This language is the same language He has used earlier to describe His relationship to the Father.

It is telling here how Jesus uses explanation to comfort.
• He doesn’t show them how to “make everyday a Friday”.
• He doesn’t tell them everything is going to be O.K.
• He doesn’t tell them to “find themselves” or “self-actualize”.
• He points to Himself, His Word and His Action in history!

With His words, Jesus armed the disciples with the proper context, comfort and explanations for the betrayal.
• And, when the time came, the disciples could now make sense of their companions’ betrayal.
• As we are about to see, however, the one “whom Jesus loved” is apparently the only one who knows the betrayer at this time.
• We also want to take note that in the coming text there are two dimensions in play.
    o Physical – what happened at dinner
    o Spiritual – what happened in the heart


John 13:22–26 & 28-29 (ESV) — 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, 24 so Simon Peter motioned to him to ask Jesus 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. 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.

The scene described apparently played out the following way.
• Peter, as usual, wants to get more info from Jesus.
• He gets the attention of the disciple “whom Jesus loved” who was seated at a place of honor at Jesus’ side (vs. 25).
• Somehow Peter “motioned” to this disciple to ask Jesus who the betrayer was.
• Jesus told the disciple “whom Jesus loved”, “It is he to whom I will give this morsel of bread”.
• Jesus gave the bread to Judas.
• Judas was also apparently sitting at Jesus side seated at a place of honor.
    o They reclined at a “U” shaped table.
    o So if Jesus handed bread to Judas, and the rest of the disciples were clueless, it makes sense that Judas was right beside Jesus.
• In verse 27, Jesus told Judas to go do what He has to do.
• We are told in 28 that no one knew what had just happened, except of course of the disciple “whom Jesus loved”.
• They only knew Judas left because Jesus asked him to do something.
    o They would all know in just a few hours, however, what just happened.

So this was how the physical dimension of Jesus’ revelation of betrayal played out.
• Now we need to see if we can get at how the spiritual dimension unfolded.


John 13:27 & 30 (ESV) — 27 Then after he had taken the morsel, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, “What you are going to do, do quickly.” 30 So, after receiving the morsel of bread, he immediately went out. And it was night.

What does John mean when he tells us that “Satan entered into him”?
• TDNT says the classic meaning for the Greek is “to come” or “to go”.
• The BDAG says that in our context the “coming to” or “going to” is based on a sense of ownership.

What we are about to find out is that Satan “came” to Judas because Judas “went” to Satan.
• The ownership is a two way street.
• Judas was not a passive victim.
• To see this, we need to uncover what we know about Judas.
• I am going to frame what we know about Judas around the desires of the heart.

What we know about Judas:
(1) Like all humans, Judas did what his heart desired.
• Matthew 26:14–16 (ESV) — 14 Then one of the twelve, whose name was Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests 15 and said, “What will you give me if I deliver him over to you?” And they paid him thirty pieces of silver. 16 And from that moment he sought an opportunity to betray him.
• And His heart desired, at a minimum, money.

(2) Judas’ desires were not mitigated by a born again, regenerated heart; He had not trusted Christ.
• John 13:11 (ESV) — 11 For he knew who was to betray him; that was why he said, “Not all of you are clean.”
• As we saw a few weeks ago, the context here is salvation and sanctification.
• Jesus excluded Judas from the saved.

(3) Judas’ father was Satan and not God.
• John 8:42–44 (ESV) — 42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here. I came not of my own accord, but he sent me. 43 Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word. 44 You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
• There is no neutral ground – you are either God’s or Satan’s.
• Therefore Judas’ desires aligned with Satan’s.

Important Point before we move on:
• “Satan could not have entered into him had he not granted him admission. Had he been willing to say “No” to the adversary, all of his Master’s intercessory power was available to him there and then to strengthen him. But when a disciple’s will turns traitor, when the spiritual aid of Christ is refused, that person’s condition is desperate indeed” – F.F. Bruce.
• MacArthur even points out that much of Jesus’ “teaching applied directly to him” – love of money; greed; pride.
• But, Judas refused Christ and His teaching.

Summary of Judas relationship with Satan:
• Judas was not “chosen” by Jesus and Judas rejected Jesus.
• Judas acted out of the desire of his heart.
• And from God’s perspective, Judas willingly desired what his father Satan desired.

Finally, we need to really get at what was happening with Judas and his desires.
• To do this, we turn to James who lays it all out for us.
• James 1:13–15 (ESV) — 13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. 14 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. 15 Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.

Judas was “lured and enticed” by his desire for money – greed.
• His desire was “conceived” and “gives birth” with his decision to go to the chief priests and negotiate.
    o Where are you going Judas?
    o “I have to take care of some ministry business.”
• His desire and sin was “fully grown” when he betrayed Jesus with a kiss.
• And it brought “forth death” with Jesus’ crucifixion and Judas’ own suicide.

This was the spiritual dimension that night.
• A devastating cycle of selfish desires running rampant.
• It started inside his heart and mind and matured into a kiss of betrayal.

But our text tells us it was so much more awful than that.
• “Satan entered into him”.
What does this mean?
The depraved desires of Judas’ heart intersected with the purposes of Satan.

Lessons for Us:
• Judas had witnessed 3 years of the miracles, signs, wonders and teaching of Jesus.
• And yet, led by the desires of his heart, he betrayed Jesus.
• We can learn a great deal from this.

1) We should never be surprised by the sin of others.
• Judas had a front row seat to Jesus.
• Yet, Judas chose himself and rejected Jesus.

2) Selfish desire is dangerous.
• Judas was selfish.
• His selfishness led to love of money.
• His desire for money aligned with the establishment’s desire to be rid of Jesus.
• A deal was struck and money changed hands.
• At any point in this process – the “conception”, “birth” and “maturity” of sin – Judas could have made different decisions.

Where are you on the road to devastating sin - “conception”, “birth” or “maturity”?
• Wake up and see.

Satan is eagerly waiting for your selfish desires to cross paths with his purposes.
• Ah, but the cleverness we use to justify our selfish desires is scary-effective.
    o “I am not respected in…”
    o “I deserve better than…”
    o “My needs aren’t being met in…”
    o “I am bored and need excitement in…”
• So we refuse to pay attention to the warnings of this coming collision of selfish desire and Satan’s purpose.

So how do we combat the selfish desires of our hearts?
• Do not trust your feelings – they are inclined to selfishness.
• We give too much power to them.
• We think they tell us the truth about what we need.
• What matters is the Work and Words of God!
• We are to look to them not to us!
• They tell us the truth about us.
• Peace and Joy come when we realize this.