John 13:18-30

Sunday Morning Bible Study

June 23, 1996


We are on the Thursday evening before Jesus is crucified, at the event known as "the Last Supper".

Jesus is alone with His disciples in the upper room.

He has just washed their feet, giving them an example to learn how to love and serve each other.

:18-30 Jesus and Judas

:18 I speak not of you all

Jesus had been talking about His disciples being cleansed and washed, but that not all were clean.

Joh 13:10-11 Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash [his] feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all. 11 For he knew who should betray him; therefore said he, Ye are not all clean. (AV)

Now he elaborates a little more by starting to talk about this one who wasn't clean, this one who wasn't saved, this one who didn't believe.

:18 He that eateth bread with me hath lifted up his heel against me

Jesus now quotes from one of David's Psalms, Psalm 41:9

Ps 41:9 Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up [his] heel against me. (AV)

eateth bread with me

There was a significance to people in Israel of eating bread with a person.

When you eat bread with someone, you're both being fed and nourished by the same loaf, you're kind of growing in oneness with the other person.

For this reason, the Jews were very picky about who they ate with.

They certainly didn't want to eat with any stinking, sinful Gentiles, because they wouldn't want to become one with them.

So, this person David speaks of would have to be one considered a friend.

lifted up his heel against me

"Lifted up his heel against" is an expression which means "to take advantage of someone." (Ryrie)

It's the idea of a wild horse that has thrown it's rider and now turns to trample him.

It's very simply the idea of betrayal.

Psalm 41

David speaks of his enemies plotting against him, and then his own close friend turning to betray him.

It is thought that he had a specific incidence in mind, when his son Absalom turned to rebel against him, but more specifically, when one of his own close counsellors, Ahithophel jumped over to Absalom's side and worked to overthrow David. (2Sam.15)

Ahithophel was considered a very wise man:

2Sa 16:23 And the counsel of Ahithophel, which he counselled in those days, [was] as if a man had enquired at the oracle of God: so [was] all the counsel of Ahithophel both with David and with Absalom. (AV)

But Ahithophel wasn't just an advisor, he was a friend.

Psalm 55:12-14 For it was not an enemy that reproached me; then I could have borne it: neither was it he that hated me that did magnify himself against me; then I would have hid myself from him: 13 But it was thou, a man mine equal, my guide, and mine acquaintance. 14 We took sweet counsel together, and walked unto the house of God in company.

It's kind of ironic that Ahithophel died in a similar manner to Judas:

2Sa 17:23 And when Ahithophel saw that his counsel was not followed, he saddled [his] ass, and arose, and gat him home to his house, to his city, and put his household in order, and hanged himself, and died, and was buried in the sepulchre of his father. (AV)

Ahithophel wasn't just a man, but also a kind of picture of Judas.

:19 ye may believe that I am he

Jesus may be referring to being "I AM".

Greek: oti egw eimi

This is basically the meaning of God's name, Yahweh, "I AM" (Ex.3)

But I think the main thing He's trying to convey here is that He is the one referred to in Psalm 41.

Even though David thought he was writing down his own feelings about his own experiences, it turned out that his writings were prophetic, and would apply to his own descendant, the Messiah, Jesus.


Jesus understands if you've been betrayed

The Bible tells us:

Heb 4:15-16 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as [we are, yet] without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. (AV)

Some of you have been betrayed ...

by a father or mother who abused you.

by a close friend who has turned against you.

by a husband or wife who was unfaithful to you, or who left you.

Jesus knows EXACTLY what you're going through.

You can come to Him and find grace, mercy and comfort.

David wrote:

Psalm 61:1-4 Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer. 2 From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I. 3 For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy. 4 I will abide in thy tabernacle for ever: I will trust in the covert of thy wings. Selah.

:20 He that receiveth whomsoever I send receiveth me

Earlier in the chapter, Jesus gave the disciples an example of how they were to serve each other and minister to each other by being a servant and washing the feet of the disciples.

Then He had said:

John 13:15-16 For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. 16 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.

He was saying that as their Lord, if He was acting as a servant, so should they.

He was saying that since He was going to be the Sender, and they were the ones sent, that they would have to be like their Sender and follow His example.

Now Jesus picks up a little more on the theme of sender and sent.

When people are aware of you being a Christian, and they begin to grasp what it means to be a Christian, and they still accept you, there is a sense that they are accepting Christ.

Not in the sense of accepting Him for salvation, but that they are being open to Him.

The opposite is also true.

When people understand that you follow Jesus, and they choose to reject you, it's not you they're rejecting, but Jesus.


Don't take it too personally.

We can struggle from "rejection" from unbelievers, but we need to remember that it's Jesus they're rejecting.

Hopefully, as long as we're not just being a jerk.

:20 he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me

In the same way, when a person opens their heart up to Jesus, they're in fact opening up their heart to the One who sent Jesus, God the Father.

When you come to Jesus, you're coming to God.

In fact, you can't come to God unless you come to Jesus.

Joh 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (AV)


If you want to know God, you need to come to Jesus.

Getting to know God starts with getting to know Jesus.

You need to open up your heart to Jesus.

:21 troubled in spirit

tarasso - to agitate, trouble ; to cause one inward commotion, take away his calmness of mind, disturb his equanimity

As soon as Jesus starts talking about how His disciples are going to represent Him, the heaviness hits Him that it's going to be one of these dear men that would betray Him.

:21 one of you shall betray me

It wasn't going to be some outsider that would betray Him, but one of the twelve.

:22 doubting of whom he spake


Joh 13:22 His disciples stared at one another, at a loss to know which of them he meant. (NIVUS)

The disciples didn't have a clue who He was talking about.

In fact, Matthew records:

Mt 26:22 And they were exceeding sorrowful, and began every one of them to say unto him, Lord, is it I? (AV)

Each one of the disciples was asking himself if he was going to be the one to betray Jesus.

This isn't exactly the first time that Jesus has mentioned being betrayed.

Earlier in His ministry ...

Matthew 17:22-23 And while they abode in Galilee, Jesus said unto them, The Son of man shall be betrayed into the hands of men: 23 And they shall kill him, and the third day he shall be raised again. And they were exceeding sorry.

Though they had been with Him for 3 1/2 years, and though He had spoken several times about His betrayal, yet He never let on to His disciples just who the betrayer would be.


Love covers sin

Pr 17:9 He that covereth a transgression seeketh love; but he that repeateth a matter separateth [very] friends. (AV)

1Pe 4:8 And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins. (AV)

One of the most horrible things that we can do when we hear about a person's sin, or when we are hurt by another person's sin, it so go and inform all the rest of our friends about the sin.

Does this mean that we are to just close our eyes to sin, and just ignore it when people are getting hurt?


Jesus gave us the way to handle it:

Matthew 18:15-17 Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. 16 But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. 17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.

If we work at handling things discreetly at first, then we have a better chance of allowing the other person to repent and be restored.

When we go and spread rumors, or even certain truths about people, if they should eventually repent, they will also have an entire reputation to rebuild.


Husbands and wives.

Gals, don't go to mother when your husband acts like a jerk!

You'll eventually work it out and make up with him, but your mother won't, and will grow to hate him.

A great test of this is to ask a person's mother-in-law about them?

In the church.

We're all going to sin.

I hope we will all be gracious with each other.

When someone hurts you, GO TO THEM and work it out, don't take the easy way out and cry to your other friends!

I know it's hard, but it's Jesus' way of handling it!

:23-24 leaning on Jesus' bosom...

It's about at this point that we need to stop and get a picture of the setting in the room.

In Jesus' day, meals like this were served typically on low, solid tables, most likely shaped in a "U".

The guests didn't sit at the tables, but instead reclined, lying down on cushions around the outside of the "U", so those serving could serve from the inside of the "U".

As they reclined at the table, they would lie on their left side, and eat with their free, right hand.

The host of the feast would sit in the center of the "U", with his closest friends, or most prominent guests on either side of him, at the head of the table.

Though I would have guessed that the guest of honor would have been on the right hand side of the host (as in "seated at the right hand ..."), it was just the opposite, the guest of honor was actually on the host's left side. (so says Barclay, Pulpit Commentary)

This disciple that is leaning on Jesus' bosom is the one located on the right of Jesus, the second guest of honor, and his head would about where Jesus' chest was.

If this disciple wanted to talk to Jesus, all he had to do was lean backward, leaning into Jesus' chest.

:23 one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved

This is John's way of describing himself.

He humbly never refers to himself by name.

He only refers to himself as a disciple whom Jesus loved. (John 19:26; 20:2; 21:7; 21:20)

John isn't saying this in any kind of pride, as if to say that Jesus only loved him and no others.

But to John, this was all that mattered with Jesus, that Jesus loved him.


You too are a disciple that Jesus loves!

1John 4:7-12 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. 8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. 9 In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. 10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. 12 No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.

v.7 - "beloved" - we are beloved of God

v.8 - if you aren't experiencing God's love for you, perhaps you haven't come to know Him yet.

v.9 - God showed His love for us by sending His Son.

v.10 - God proved His love by having Jesus die for our sins.

v.12 - As we learn to love each other, we experience more and more God's love for us.

God has proven His love for you, and you can say that you are "beloved by God".


I kind of get tired of people calling me "pastor".

I understand that it's important sometimes for identification purposes.

But I think sometimes we place a little too much emphasis on titles, jobs, and positions.

Maybe we could just learn a lesson from the apostle John, and say that we're simply disciples whom Jesus loves.

It's my prayer that it would be a title we would be thrilled to be known by.

:24 Simon Peter therefore beckoned to him

Peter now asks John to find out who Jesus was talking about.

We've established where Jesus and John were at this feast.

Can you guess where Peter is? (you know, the first "pope"!?!?)

One thing for sure, Peter is not on the left of Jesus, in the place of honor.

If he was, he wouldn't be asking John, who is on the other side of Jesus, he'd be asking Jesus himself.

Peter is at least on the other side of John from Jesus, maybe even further down the line.

He asks John what's going on because John is the one laying next to Jesus.

:25 He then lying on Jesus' breast saith unto him

John then leans back on Jesus and asks Him Peter's question.

:26 Jesus answered

I believe Jesus is only answering to John, and it appears to me that John is the only one that hears this reply.


Because as the conversation progresses, nobody seems aware of what Judas is doing, or that he is the traitor.

Joh 13:28 Now no man at the table knew for what intent he spake this unto him. (AV)

:26 He it is, to whom I shall give a sop, when I have dipped it

a sop

In the ancient mideast, there were no such things as forks and spoons for eating.

Instead, they used bread to help them eat.

They would have a loaf of bread and be breaking off pieces of bread, and scooping up the food with it, or, as in this case, soaking it in either a fruit or meat juice, and then eating it.

Kind of like dunking your donut in your coffee, or like eating chips and salsa.


This is not to be confused with "communion".

John often seems to make is His point to share details left out by the other gospel writers.

And the other gospels all do a very good job describing communion.

I believe communion has already taken place, and that Judas has participated in it.

Communion was where Jesus gave the example of the bread and cup representing His body and blood given for us.

:26 when he had dipped the sop, he gave it to Judas...

There are two interesting things we see here:

1. Judas' seating position.

Where is Judas in feast?

He's got to be close enough to Jesus for Jesus to hand him a piece of bread dipped in the sauce.

He's certainly not the host of the feast, that would be Jesus.

He's not in the second place of honor, to the right of the host, because that's where John was lying.

There is only one place left for Judas, and that is on Jesus' left side, with Jesus reclining on Judas' bosom.

Judas was in the first place of honor at the feast.

A place that was designated by the host of the feast.

Jesus had given Judas the place of honor at the Last Supper!

2. The giving of the sop

Because of their concept of intimacy through shared meals, there's a little more happening here, now that Jesus is actually giving His "sop" to Judas.

Giving your "sop" to another person was a display of closer friendship, closer intimacy.

I don't think that Jesus is just trying to convey to John that the betrayer was a close person.

But I think that Jesus is showing that right to the end He is extending His love and grace to Judas.


Love continues right to the end.

We saw this at the opening of the chapter last week:

Joh 13:1 Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end. (AV)

Even when you suspect a person doesn't like you, or you begin to see evidence of it - we still need to love them.

How long does our "love" last?

I get to wondering when I hear the words "I can only take so much" or, "I can't take any more".

Paul used two words (1Cor.13:4,7) to describe agape love:

patient (suffereth long) - talking about having patience with people, having a long fuse, putting up with difficult people.

endureth all things - talks about remaining under the pressure, remaining in the relationship even when it gets real tough.

Our love needs to persevere to the end.

And Jesus' love for Judas is our example.


Richard Armstrong, in Make Your Life Worthwhile, reports the story about a man in Wales who sought to win the affection of a certain lady for 42 years before she finally said, "Yes." The couple, both 74, recently became "Mr. and Mrs."

For more than 40 years, the persistent, but rather shy man slipped a weekly love letter under his neighbor's door. But she continually refused to speak and mend the spat that had parted them many years before.

After writing 2,184 love letters without ever getting a spoken or written answer, the single-hearted old man eventually summoned up enough courage to present himself in person. He knocked on the door of the reluctant lady and asked for her hand. To his delight and surprise, she accepted.


An old legend says that one day Abraham was standing by his tent door when he saw an old man coming along the way, weary with his journey and with bleeding feet. With true hospitality he invited the old man to share his meal and to lodge with him for the night. Abraham noticed that he asked no blessing on the meal and inquired why he did not pray to the God of Heaven. The old man said, "I am a fire worshipper and acknowledge no other god." At this, Abraham grew angry and sent him from his tent. Then God called Abraham and asked, "Where is the old man? I have cared for him for over a hundred years even though he has dishonored me. Could you not endure him one night and so prove to him God's love?"

When we have trouble continuing to love someone, maybe if we stepped back and looked at how God is able to still love them.

Gosh, God is even able to still love us!

Love continues right to the end.

:27 after the sop Satan entered into him

We saw last week that Satan had already poured the idea of betrayal into Judas' heart.

But now, after having rejected Jesus' continual, open love, that Judas opens himself up to complete Satanic possession.


Be careful about rejecting Jesus for too long!

When you find yourself running from Jesus, do you realize whose arms you're running into?

:27 That thou doest, do quickly

quickly - tachion - comparative of tachus (quick) - more swiftly, more quickly

It's not that Jesus is just saying, "What you are doing, do quickly", but really more like "What you are doing, do MORE quickly"

I kind of get the idea that Jesus sees what has happened to Judas and Satan, and now He wants Judas to stop moving so slowly and just get it over with.

:28 no man at the table knew for what intent he spake this unto him

This shows me that though Jesus indicated to John who the betrayer was, either nobody else heard what Jesus said, or at least they didn't understand what Jesus meant.

:29 because Judas had the bag

Judas was the groups "treasurer".

He was the one who took charge of keeping track of the money, including spending it.

:30 went immediately out: and it was night

Under the inspiration of Satan, and the direction of Jesus, Judas didn't wait until morning to finish his business.

It's kind of ironic that this chiefest of deeds of darkness is done in the dark.

Additional notes:


regarding eating bread together ...

It's kind of like the idea meant in communion.

Part of the symbolism behind communion is that as we are all eating the same bread, which symbolizes Jesus' body, we are all growing to become one.

It's also interesting to note that even though John doesn't record it, communion itself was started on this very night.

And though some commentators would disagree, it seems to me that from what the other gospels record, Judas has already shared in that first communion with Jesus.

Some people get this twisted idea about communion that somehow because they eat the bread, they're receiving eternal life.

It wasn't so with Judas!

It's more of a picture of what Paul warned of:

1Co 11:27 Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink [this] cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. (AV)

1Co 11:29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. (AV)