I AM at the Table with Judas

I AM at the Table with Judas

I AM at the Table with Judas.

“I am not saying these things to all of you; I know the ones I have chosen. But this fulfills the Scripture that says, ‘The one who eats my food has turned against me.’ I tell you this beforehand, so that when it happens you will believe that I AM.” (John 13:18-19).


a. We are in the Upper Room on Thursday night at the Last Supper, and Jesus has just finished washing the feet of each one of His disciples, including Judas. This was certainly the work of the lowliest house servant, not the Master of the universe. No one else offered to do this simple act of hospitality, so Jesus stepped into the role. He took off his robe, wrapped a towel around His waist, and proceeded to wash everyone’s feet. This was undoubtedly very startling and confusing to the disciples. The Lord acting as a slave? Jesus, being the Eternal Teacher, wanted to provide a demonstration, an example of what He wanted His disciples to do after He has left this world, and this act demonstrated the spirit in which to do their ministry in His name. He wants His followers to develop a heart-felt humility, a willingness to serve each other and mankind. He is saying, If I can be this humble, so can you. If I can put this humility into practice, so can you. Jesus fleshes out this powerful visual aid so that His disciples realize there should be nothing beneath them, nothing too menial or simple.

b. The Orthodox Church recognizes this foot-washing as a symbol of baptism, and that it suggests redemption, the cleansing power of Jesus’ death and Resurrection.

c. And there were the disciples in the Upper Room, with their shoes off, looking at Jesus bending over each one of them, washing their feet, demonstrating the power of servanthood. This brings to mind when Moses took off his sandals on holy ground. The Upper Room was also holy ground, and this was also a sacred moment.


a. Soon after the foot-washing, they gather at the table to eat. Jesus immediately confides to the group that He is going to be betrayed by one of the Twelve. Jesus refers to Psalm 41:9 as He announces this to the gathering, “Even my close friend, my familiar ally, the one I trusted completely, the one who shared my food, has turned against me. He has lifted up his heel against me, and taken advantage of me.” A very similar echo of His betrayal is stated in Psalm 55:12-14, “It is not an enemy who taunts me, who reproaches me. I could bear that. It is not my foes who so arrogantly insult me; I could have hidden from them. Instead it is you, my equal, my companion, my close friend. We once had sweet fellowship with each other, we enjoyed sweet counsel together as we walked in the house of God in the throng.”

b. Jesus then explained that He is telling them about this ahead of time, so when they soon see the prophecy fulfilled, they will be convinced that Jesus is the Great I AM. Perhaps His supernatural knowledge will convince them. Jesus uses this personal name of God a number of times in the gospel of John, and each time is the declaration that He is equal to God, that He is kin to Yahweh, the I AM Who I AM of Exodus 3:14. His claim to be I AM is a claim to be divine, the eternal Son of God the Father.

c. By the time He has said this to His disciples, Jesus is deeply moved and very troubled. The Passion has begun. This betrayal from a close friend was one of the deepest wounds in Jesus’ suffering. After all, Judas was a friend who was an eye witness to three years of Jesus’ divinity in action… Teachings, parables, miracles, healings, fellowship. Jesus and Judas had developed quite a common spiritual history together. Judas’ treachery was deeply troubling and pained Jesus’ spirit. This betrayal was not a great surprise, but nonetheless was grievous when it actually happened.

d. Jesus has been well aware the whole time of Judas’ role as traitor. Much earlier in the ministry, John writes, “Jesus already knew from the beginning who the skeptics were and who His traitor would be.” (John 6:64). Soon after that observation, John says, “Then Jesus shocked them with these words, ‘I have hand-picked you to be my Twelve, knowing that one of you is the devil (Greek = adversary).’ Jesus was referring to Judas Iscariot, for He knew that Judas, one of His chosen disciples, was getting ready to betray Him.” (John 6:70-71).

e. The disciples, gathered around the table, are now shocked, mystified, mortified. They have no idea who Jesus is referring to. Who would do such an unthinkable thing, to betray the Master? Disciple John is sitting closest to Jesus, so Peter encourages John to whisper the question to Jesus, “Who is it? Who are you talking about?” Jesus whispers back to John, “The one I give this piece of bread to after I’ve dipped it in the bowl.” This little conversation was unheard by the rest of the disciples, so they still didn’t know what was going on. Jesus knowingly gave friendship food to an enemy, and no one except John was aware of it.


a. So Jesus indeed gave the bread to Judas, which is normally a sign of intimate friendship. This betrayer had lost all conscience at this point, and he accepted the food from Jesus. As soon as Judas accepted this gift from Jesus, Satan entered Judas’ heart. That was the opening Satan was waiting for, the opportune time for Satan to start pulling in earnest the strings of his puppet Judas.

b. Satan’s possession of Judas was not a sudden act. It was the result of a gradual turning away from Jesus on the part of Judas. He had been greedy and dishonest from the start. “Not that Judas cared for the poor. He was a thief, and since he was in charge of the disciples’ money, he often stole some money for himself.” (John 12:6). By the end, Judas had already developed a pattern of sinfulness in his life, he had formed a weak and sinful character that put him in a position to be manipulated by Satan. Judas was now controlled by the will of Satan, the powerful adversary of Jesus.

c. After Judas took and ate the bread, Jesus told him to hurry up and do what he’s going to do. Jesus didn’t try to stop him. This is the beginning of the giving up of Jesus’ life, of submitting to betrayal, to torture, to death. Jesus agreed to become a pawn in His death march. Judas immediately left the group at the table, he walked down the stairs from the Upper Room, and he stepped into the night, into his spiritual darkness. He would soon lead a mob of hundreds of people to the Garden of Gethsemane to arrest Jesus. He would soon betray Jesus with a false kiss of friendship. [Please refer to the blog post “A Mob Confronts I AM” for a teaching on what happens next in the Garden].


After Judas left Jesus and the disciples, Jesus gave His “Farewell Discourse,” which runs from John 13:31 to 16:33. The Discourse doesn’t conclude until Jesus offers up to the Father His “High Priestly Prayer” in John 17. The Farewell Discourse is the longest conversation with Jesus in all the gospels, and it included the final message and instructions to the disciples. Jesus didn’t want to entrust His important final words to the disciples until the betrayer was gone. Judas is now officially cut adrift from the Fellowship, a boat that wandered too far from the shore.