The story of Judas’ betrayal of the Lord Jesus is as familiar as it is troubling. There is nothing worse that he could have done in his life than to betray Jesus. When Jesus says that it would have been better for him not to even be born (Mark 14) we begin to see the significance of the action. It is the ultimate evil act to betray or attack the ultimate good one. The consideration of the whole series of events is flat-out disturbing.
One particular unsettling note to Judas’ departure from the Passover table is the timing. As Jesus was unpacking the various Christological and eschatological significance of the Passover meal Judas got up and left.
However, we know that just a short time before, perhaps after the first cup of wine, early in the Passover feast, our Lord washed his disciples feet (John 13).
The disciples were bickering about their greatness while Jesus was showcasing his greatness. Greatness always serves. It wears the apron (Mark 10.45; 1 Peter 5.5-6).
This serving, this washing of the feet included all of the disciples, even Judas.
It is clear that the Lord Jesus knew what was going down with Judas (John 13.21-30). He knew that the terrible hours before him would be triggered by one of those closest to him. But, even so, we have Jesus stooping down at the feet of all of his disciples, even Judas, and washing their feet.
Consider the embedded drama. Judas is scheming for how and when he will betray him (Mark 14.11) while Jesus is washing his feet. The very hands that will soon be pierced through with nails are at this moment stooping to serve, washing even the feet of one of his enemies.
Soon after Jesus would tell Judas to go (John 13.27). And so he went. He went to betray Jesus and he did so with clean feet.
This is often the way apostasy works. People see the work of Christ in the lives of people, they hear the word of Christ in the Scriptures, and even experience the benefits of Christ in the context of the community—and yet they turn away (Hebrews 6.4-8). This is, and always has been, a heart-breaking disaster. Judas is no different.
The whole scene engenders all kinds of emotions and reactions. I examine my own heart while marveling at the Savior’s. I know that if it were not for the grace of Christ I would run away from him to, selling him out for pocket change. Thanks be to God for his arresting, converting, and persevering grace that will not let his people go once he has made them his (Jude 24-25).