Over the past few years now, every year around Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday, this viral statement makes its presence known on social media: “Judas Ate Too.”
The original author, one Nic Burleson, observes that Jesus knew He was going to be betrayed into the hands of murderers, and He knew who was going to do the betraying.
So far, so true.
Then he ponders the love of our Savior, who fed Judas, prayed for Judas, and washed Judas’s feet, “a love that would wash the treasonous feet of the traitor. A love that could forgive even the vilest of betrayals.”
Then, the kicker. And the reason some people have asked me to address this statement even though it’s a few years old by now and others have addressed it already.
Caution: sin-leveling ahead.
“And then, suddenly, I realize that I’m Judas. And in that moment, I’m so thankful and altogether overwhelmed that Judas ate too.”
My first response on reading this was to feel a punch to the stomach that Christians who love Jesus are being compared to Judas the Betrayer.
My second response was . . . “If the man who wrote that is Judas, I hope anyone he comes in contact with is duly warned.”
After all, the gospels say “Satan entered into Judas” in order for him to go sell Jesus to the highest bidder. Anyone who identifies with Judas the Betrayer is identifying with a man who was inhabited by Satan.
Judas went to the chief priests and officers of his own accord and sold Jesus. Those who identify with Judas—in the present tense, mind you, not the past tense (“I AM Judas”) are saying they would do the same if they had the opportunity.
When Jesus prayed for his followers, He prayed for Judas, I suppose you could say, but it was in this way: He referred to the “son of destruction” who betrayed him, indicating that this one was “lost.” Anyone who identifies with Judas is identifying with a traitor who was not a child of God.
It boggles my mind that any Christian would want to identify with such a man, and yet when I type those three words in the search bar, I find it all over the internet as a bit of profound insight.
The Scriptures make it very clear that Judas did not share the holy Last Supper, the initiation of the New Covenant, with Jesus and His faithful followers. He was gone by then, to do his dastardly deed.
Judas the Betrayer led the enemies of God directly to the garden nook where Jesus and His disciples went to pray, the intimate gathering place for prayer and private teaching.
And then Judas kissed Jesus, to let them know which one to kill.
Feel the weight of that as if you’re hearing that story for the first time. Feel the weight of that betrayal. I am barely restraining myself from shaking your shoulders by writing in all caps.
Judas betrayed Jesus with a kiss. Any Christians who identify with Judas are saying they would do the same to their precious Lord who has died for them, has risen for them, and who has come to abide with them in intimacy through the Holy Spirit.
Is this really what children of God want to identify with?
Sometimes the current state of the Christian church makes me feel like my head is going to explode.
But I’m not stopping there, my friends. I’m going back to the Last Supper to ponder the real reason it’s important that “Judas ate too.”
As I mentioned, we do know for sure that Judas was NOT there when Jesus initiated the New Covenant in His blood, that most holy of experiences. As a “son of perdition,” he was “lost” and was not part of that New Covenant.
But it’s important to ponder the fact that Judas was there for at least part of that intimate experience.
Obviously I believe it’s not because all Christians are basically Judas. God forbid. What a travesty that makes of the life-transforming gospel.
But I believe it’s important for at least two reasons.
For one, Judas the Betrayer was a master deceiver. While he walked with Jesus and the disciples for three years in the closest of quarters, none of the others suspected he could possibly be the Betrayer. When he went out to do the most despicable deed in history, none of the disciples even had a clue what was going on. (And this, when Jesus had just indicated to John who the betrayer was.)
The fact that the Great Betrayer came from among those who were closest to Jesus during His three years of ministry is massively important. It wasn’t someone who was on the fringe of ministry, who pretended for a day or two. This was a disciple, someone who had from all appearances committed his whole life to Jesus.
I can’t even tell you how many stories I have heard from people I know who have experienced a similar betrayal. A betrayal at the hands of someone so skilled at their wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing Christian cover that no one else even believed the accounts of betrayal. No one believed them, because the deceiver/betrayer was just that good.
You who have also been betrayed, you have partaken in a taste of the sufferings of Jesus Christ.
And for another, Jesus knew. He knew all along. This betrayal did not take Him by surprise.
He even let Judas the Betrayer know that He knew. When He said, “What you’re going to do, go do quickly,” Judas knew Jesus was talking about that wicked betrayal.
Those friends of mine, their betrayals have usually not been so evident to them. Through the master manipulations (as good as Judas was on the disciples, even though he couldn’t deceive Jesus), through the gaslighting and the mind games and the twisted Scriptures and more twisted Scriptures . . .
It can sometimes take years for those coming out of the fog and darkness of this kind of betrayal to understand what happened to them.
But Jesus knew.
Jesus knows the wickedness. Though Satan can still wreak havoc in his way today, there will come a day when he and his evildoers are overcome.
All the wicked, unless they come in humility before the Lord Jesus Christ to receive the purification of His blood and the life-transforming power of His Holy Spirit, will receive the same end as Judas.
Judas’s regret for his evil deed did not extend that far. He threw down the money and went and hanged himself.
The “son of perdition,” as Jesus called him, was “lost,” as Jesus said.
This part of the story, the part about the Great Betrayal, is horrifying. The part about the chief priests and elders not even caring that an innocent man was condemned is horrifying.
The part about Jesus’ death is horrifying too, until you get to the end of the story.
Thank You, dear Lord Jesus, that even though Your Betrayer was there with You in close spaces for over three years, that even though he betrayed You in the most despicable way possible, that even though the religious leaders committed conspiracy in conspiring for Your death,
That You still overcame and rose again on the third day.
Victorious over death.
Victorious over sin, even the worst possible sins, like betrayal to death.
Thank You Lord Jesus, that those who trust in You are not condemned to be a “Judas” in our lives. We can trust You, love You, and live for You.
As I consider it—shaking my head at even the need to say such a thing—I gladly proclaim that this is part of the gospel.
And yes, it is truly good news.
You who have trusted in the living Lord Jesus Christ, you are not Judas.
As we ponder the purifying blood Jesus shed for us on the cross, as we celebrate His glorious resurrection, this is one more reason to rejoice.
Go here to download your free Guide, How to Enjoy the Bible Again (when you’re ready) After Spiritual Abuse (without feeling guilty or getting triggered out of your mind). You’ll receive access to both print and audio versions of the Guide (audio read by me). I’m praying it will be helpful.
This is a powerful truth! And very helpful. Thanks, Rebecca.
What comes to mind is Paul’s strong warnings to the elders at Ephesus to ‘be on guard’ for the wolves that rise from within. And he testifies about his own tears and trials which came because of the plots of the Jews, his kindred, and the many trials yet ahead of him.
These are truths given to us to know, so that as we run into wolves and those who oppose the gospel, we will be able to be firm in our faith and walk with the same resolve as Paul modelled, as a follower of Jesus, trusting God with the faith He’s given us. What a glorious hope we have in Jesus!
Yes! Yes! Yes! Thank you for this clear explanation!
Thank you so much for your faithfulness in untwisting Scriptures. I attended a Women’s Bible study recently. I shared that my husband has been physically abusive and committed adultery. I did not share details. One of the women said that both my husband and I were totally depraved. I have always been faithful to my husband and have never abused him. Where is this woman getting this from? I was so hurt by her comments.
Oh my word, that is so hurtful and harmful. The “totally depraved” comment I assume comes from the T in the Calvinist tulip, which claims “total depravity” as the first of the five points of Calvinism, the reason a person cannot come to God on his own. I believe a Calvinist who understands his beliefs would disagree that a Christian is totally depraved after coming to the Lord (since regeneration has occurred), but I’m not positive about that.
Precious sister… Just reading what that woman said to youhurt my heart. I am so sorry that you experienced those hurtful words, implying that you and your abusive husband were on the same plane spiritually. That is 100% wrong. Sending you comfort and uplifting…
Hi sister, you’re not depraved, don’t listen to that depraved woman, she never been in your shoes. Please keep following blogs like this one that encourages you. Can I also recommend Patrick Weaver ministries, he is a strong advocate for domestic abused victims. God bless you greatly!
I’m so sorry that someone said that to you, Cheryl. Regardless of our original sinful nature, that doesn’t mean that you’re no different from your husband! That’s simply awful.
I think Rebecca is right on the “total depravity” source, unfortunately. I have some Calvinists and some Arminians in my life; I’ve heard “total depravity” to simply mean that every part of us–body, soul, spirit–has been touched by sin. Think of it like a house that has been robbed: every room was ransacked. It doesn’t have to mean that nothing good remains in the house. This view, I think, is biblical before placing faith. It also still allows for degrees of depravity, which is a biblical concept.
I’ve also unfortunately heard “total depravity” used exactly the way it was used against you–to where every possible thought, motive, and action is suspect and needs repentance, no assumption of genuine goodwill allowed for ourselves–even while we are pressured to assume goodwill of abusers and those who cover for them.
But for those of us who have been redeemed, we have “total redemption”: our bodies, souls, and spirits have been claimed by Jesus, His work is finished, and one day, the results of His redemptive work will be fully realized.
Thank you so much for this, Rebecca. I have been betrayed and gaslit to the point where I questioned my own salvation and my sanity. You make it clear that a child of God cannot possibly be like Judas, the betrayer, the son of perdition. I am a child of God; I know Him, I hear His voice, and I follow Him. I am thankful every day for His grace and mercy, and I am so very thankful that the Judge of all the earth will do right. The wolves in sheep’s clothing will get their comeuppance one Great and Glorious Day, and I rest in that.
Those are terrible and beautiful words, Janet. Yes and amen.
So beautifully, and accurately said, Janet! I am so sorry that you have experienced that level of betrayal and gaslighting… What you described sounded like my own abusive marriage, which thankfully I have been free from for 7 years now.
I had not heard this saying, but it shows what idiocy we are willing to accept in order to support our beliefs about inherent sinfulness.
Yes, it’s mind-boggling, really.
Thank you for clarifying this essential issue. What a disservice we have done the Church and our Lord in pounding into Christians’ heads that they are nothing but dirty rotten sinners, instead of overcomers who have conquered sin by the power of Christ and the Spirit!
Just like children, people often believe what is reflected back to them about their character by their leaders and those they respect.
When our Christian leaders tell us we’re a Judas, we might just believe them and resign ourselves to such Judas-type thinking and behavior. What a travesty!
Jesus told us be of good cheer, he has overcome the world — and we can, too, if we follow his ways and commandments!
Thanks for setting us straight in this regard.
Many blessings to you and your ministry!
“Be of good cheer. I have overcome the world.” (What a wonderful counter-teaching to the travesty of “I am Judas.”) If I remember correctly, Jesus said that there in the Upper Room when He was with His disciples. No matter the depth of the betrayal, He is the Overcomer. Praise His Name.
And thank you for your thoughtful comment, Meagan.
YES!! YES!!! YES!!
Thank you, so helpful!!
Did throwing the silver down and hanging himself not show remorse in that he was very sorry for his sin? I love this illustration but somehow I thought judas may have been forgiven.
I have never considered myself a judas, even though my righteousness is that of a filthy rag, but I also know by grace I am saved and forgiven
He had remorse, but it wasn’t remorse unto salvation. We know that because Jesus Himself said in John 17:12, “Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition.”
For Judas to have been forgiven, he would have needed to come back to Jesus. As it was, it seems that his sorrow matched that of 2 Corinthians 7:10, which says, “For godly grief [sorrow] produces a repentance [transformation of the mind] that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.”
Our own righteousnesses [works] are as filthy rags, yes, but when we come into identification with Jesus Christ, we receive His righteousness, by faith. Praise God for that!
I see one of the themes in the gospel is that various people “put the clues together” and figure out (or at least hope that) Jesus is Messiah and then respond to this realization in good ways and wrong ways. It seems that some Jews in reading thru their Scriptures figured out that there appeared to be two major Messiah figures, one a conquering king and the other a suffering servant. As the suffering servant Messiah looked like he would die, it was not clear how there 2 figures could be one person, so to keep options open they kept them distinct. But basically almost every Jew wanted the conquering king Messiah to show up and “restore the fortune to Israel.” I think this is the case for the disciples in general, but also specifically for Peter, James, John, John the Baptist, and Judas. The difference is that Judas took active steps to try to force Jesus to reveal himself as the conquering king Messiah. Thoughts?
I agree with that about the other disciples, and I wrote at length about that here: https://heresthejoy.com/2022/04/did-peter-deny-jesus-out-of-fear-i-dont-think-so/
But the Bible never even gives the slightest hint that “Judas took active steps to try to force Jesus to reveal himself as the conquering king Messiah.” Not at all, nowhere.
Mat 27:3 Then when Judas, his betrayer, saw that Jesus was condemned, he changed his mind and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders,
Mat 27:4 saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” They said, “What is that to us? See to it yourself.”
To me, this is saying that Judas had a plan, but the outcome was not according to his plan. The most obvious plan to me was the one the disciples asked Jesus in Act 1:6 So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” In other words, are you going to act like the conquering king Messiah now? Notice that Jesus does not deny that this is a valid question and therefore a valid expectation, he replies that the time for it is not right now. I agree it is a deduction and may be wrong, but I find it plausible.
Thank you for the thoughts. It’s different when you present it as a possibility rather than a certainty (which is how your previous comment sounded). I also sometimes surmise about motives of Bible characters. (We don’t know this for sure about Judas, so I was just going on what we actually know.) He did indeed acknowledge his sin, but as I mentioned in an earlier comment, it appears to be in the fashion of 2 Corinthians 7:10, quoted above.
There’s another beautiful angle to all this too. I come from conservative Mennonite background where it’s common for communion to be limited to those who are members in good standing with the church. Others who are attending but not members of that particular church are barred from participating unless an exception is made. Lengthy meetings may be held to interview members and ensure that they are “ready for communion”.
My grandfather, a Mennonite pastor for many years, took a different approach. He observed that Jesus served communion to Judas, knowing full well what was in his heart. So he made the decision to serve communion to all believers who were present, and let them take the responsibility for “examining themselves” prior to communion. He had witnessed a horrible case in his early days of ministry where someone was unexpectedly denied communion by another leader, and subsequently left the church and walked away from the Lord. I guess he decided that he was not going to do anything like that himself.
That’s a beautiful story emphasizing the individual’s responsibility before God. Your grandfather was a brave man to buck the system in this way.
Thank you for this.
Thank you Rebecca, you have once again spoke truth in such dark place in my mind.
As always, Rebecca, you went head-on into the truth and identified the extremely harmful absurdity of that statement that “we are all Judas.”
I remember, early on in my faith, believing something similar…
On the surface, such sayings can almost sound humble… but they are rather the polar opposite.
Statements such as these are denying our freedom, our identity, our belovedness, our precious intimate relationship with Christ as sons and daughters… and so much more.
They are an affront to the work that Jesus accomplished at the cross on our behalf and place Him back onto the cross.
Thank you, once again, for shedding the light of scriptural truth.
I do believe that those who say it think it’s a way of staying humble. (But claiming something to be true that isn’t true isn’t a way of staying humble–though it could be a way of going crazy.)
Those who claim they are Judas are saying that victory over sin is never, never, never available to them. That though they may not have betrayed Jesus yesterday, today may be the day they betray Jesus. (Not just deny, as Peter did, but BETRAY. It’s a big difference.)
Yes, statements such as these deny all that Jesus truly did accomplish for through His death and resurrection. If we truly believe them, they can send us into a place of deep darkness.
And if we’re saying them just because we’re supposed to, then, as you hinted, they can be a source of arrogance.
Ah, finally someone who addresses this statement of “Judas ate too” with Scriptural truth. Thank you for this well-written explanation.
Thank you, Heidi.
I finally found the nerve to read this one… I was tempted to let it pass, but I’ve never read anything written by you, Rebecca, that wasn’t grounded in sweet relationship with our amazing Lord, and the fullness of truth found in Scripture.
This one blessed me more than you know, as I went through a very painful, personal betrayal a little over a year ago, and I never saw it coming. It’s hard to imagine that Jesus could be betrayed by anyone who knew Him… especially that closely. Jesus clearly understands trauma in a way a lot of believers don’t (sadly).
Blessings always, Rebecca. Your writings never fail to inspire and encourage.
Oh my friend, I’m so very sorry for the betrayal you experienced. I know that’s so extremely hard. Thank you for your kind words, and I pray you’ll experience the sweet presence and comfort of our Lord.