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.
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