Psalm 41:9, Matthew 10:4, Matthew 26:14-15, Mark 14:43, Luke 22:47-48, John 6:70, John 13:26
Summary: The last evening Jesus spent with His disciples (John 13-17) had Him showing the act of service towards others by washing their feet. Judas Iscariot’s feet were cleaned as well, but his heart remained dirty and unresponsive to this final outreach of compassion as he planned Jesus’ betrayal.
This year (2022) marks the fiftieth anniversary of the premiere of the film “A Thief in the Night,” one of the first Christian films to present the subject of the last days and how it would impact life as we know it. The quality of the film is primitive by today’s standards, but the story itself made an impact upon those who watched it, which was usually at a local church. It dealt with a young couple who were pretty carefree about life in general until the husband becomes a Christian, starts reading the Bible, and tries to win his unbelieving and skeptical wife to the LORD. He reads about what is to come according to Revelation and does his best to get their friends saved, to little avail.
Then, like a thief in the night, the Rapture occurs, and the wife, named Patty, is left behind, terrified yet refusing to repent. She ends up befriending another young lady who tells her all about Jesus and seems to be an authentic follower of Christ during the growing Tribulation period. The day approaches when people are rounded up to take the mark of the beast, and they go together either to take the mark or have one final opportunity to receive Christ before it’s too late. It turned out that the young lady who had befriended Patty had sold her out to the authorities earlier. As Patty is led to the guillotine, her betrayer looks at her with an evil smirk and says, “Oh, honey, anyone can say they’re a Christian.” The film then abruptly ends with a scream.
That film not only presented the uncertainty of what might happen in the future (and scared a bunch of us who saw it!), but it also had a clear Gospel message, a call to repent and be saved through Christ, and also showed an important lesson about true and false believers. People can fool us, deceive us, and betray us, but nothing gets past the Lord Jesus Christ, who knows the inner workings of the heart and its deceptiveness (Psalm 51:6, 139:23; Proverbs 15:11: Mathew 12;25, 22:18; Mark 2:8; Luke 6:8, 11:7, 16:15; John 2:25).
Judas Iscariot is the ultimate example of one who looked devout, sincere, zealous, outgoing, friendly, and devoted to Jesus, yet when the end came, his true nature emerged. He went out into the night to commit the act of betrayal against the Lord Jesus and shut his heart forever from responding to the numerous opportunities to repent and be redeemed. Even though Jesus knew that Judas was going to sell Him out to the authorities — it was at this final night together with His disciples where Jesus performed the actions of a servant in washing their feet — that He washed Judas’ feet as well in one last act of compassion towards him. The details are recorded by John in Chapter 13.
John 13:2 tells us that the devil had already put into the heart of Judas to betray Jesus. The act of servitude performed by Him (vv.3-5) made no inward impression on Judas. This was an act of compassion on the LORD’S part, showing that it is never too late to repent of our sins, to not act upon the evil, which is in all our hearts, and to receive undeserved yet loving mercy from God (Romans 5:6-11). Judas had witnessed the power of Jesus over the devil and his demons (Matthew 8:32, 9:33, 10:8, 12:28, 17:8; Mark 1:26, 34, 5:13, 6:13, 8:2). He knew that the forces of evil had nothing over the LORD. It would seem that all Judas would have had to do was to ask the LORD to protect and deliver him from these malevolent creatures, but no.
We have to remember that while many people had seen Jesus do wonderful things, not everyone followed Him. The Pharisees hated Him to the point where they said He was doing the work of the devil. In doing so, they damned their souls for uttering this unforgivable act of blasphemy (Matthew 12:31-32; Mark 3:28-30). They even plotted to kill Jesus and Lazarus as well for bringing him back from the dead and leading people away from their influence (12:9-11). This is an unmistakable word picture showing our real attitude towards God and His holy nature that has not changed in the progression of time but has grown even more blatant in these last days (Luke 6:11, 19:14; John 7:7, 15:18, 25, 19:6; Romans 1:18-32, 3:10-18).
John 13:10-11 states that Jesus had cleaned their feet and told them that not everyone in the room was clean spiritually. Judas knew that He was speaking of him, and by this time, even the actions of a loving and gracious LORD made no impact upon his soul. The requests for help, understanding and repentance for what he was about to do were received with inward hatred, coldness of heart, and an indifference that made no impression on him, even as he was to go and perform his deed of betrayal (13:18-30).
There is a conclusion to this tragedy in verse 30: “Having received the piece of bread, he then went out immediately. And it was night.”
Night had settled in the soul of this man who had every opportunity given to him to make a difference in the lives of people, to tell others of the work and person of Jesus Christ, to receive the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2), and to see the Gospel being proclaimed throughout the Roman Empire. He was remorseful for what he did (Matthew 27:3-5), yet instead of hanging himself, he could have run to Jesus, asked for forgiveness, and had a testimony like that of Peter, rejecting and renouncing Jesus yet returning to Him in humility and a broken heart ready to be transformed for the service of the King of Kings. Tragically, this was not the case. Judas walked out into the night with feet cleansed by Jesus Himself yet walked deliberately into hell.
Like Judas, there have been countless numbers of people who have had the opportunity to come to Jesus, to be used for His glory and service. Yet they rejected His offer of love, grace, and mercy (Matthew 11:28-30), instead settling for the dung and mud of this world that the devil disguised as a wellspring of riches, only to find out that what they believed would help them gain the world ended up with a loss of their souls (Matthew 16:26).
We can verbally condemn Judas for this act of treachery. Scripture gives us that reason and the tone it sets for anyone who chooses to walk the same path he did, playing a good game of devotion and discipleship, yet in truth has a hard heart like the soil that does not receive the seed of the Word (Matthew 13:1-9; Mark 4:3-4; Luke 8:4-8). They are the tares among the wheat, similar in appearance, yet are nothing but weeds fit for the fire (Matthew 13:24-30).
There are people like Judas today who will get up and preach, teach, act like, and do the work of a believer while inwardly are only acting the part and at the right opportunity will show their true nature.
We see it today with the positions and acts of ministers and officials who seemed to be solid biblically yet are frauds and charlatans, selling out the LORD for fame, fortune, and amusement in the form of outlandish claims, made-up stories based on experiences and imaginations, and blasphemously using the Bible for a prop and not as the Word of the Living God. They will face the Lord Jesus on the Day of Judgment and hear the terrifying verdict that will expose them and condemn them to an eternal hell (Matthew 7:21-23). They looked like they had clean feet and clean hearts, but like Judas, they had gone out into the night of this world and walked into hell.
All of this is a warning for everyone who has been playing a religious game and putting on a phony front while claiming to be a follower of Jesus Christ. I pray that those of you reading this message will take heed to what I have written, be certain of your calling and election in Christ, and examine yourselves to see if you are really in the faith (Galatians 6::4; 2 Peter 1:10). Let your feet be clean in presenting the Gospel (Romans 10:14-17) as well as your heart. We don’t need any more Judases or anyone else walking into the night, especially as the days grow nearer to the return of the Lord Jesus Christ. Thus ends the lesson.
Donald was born and reared in the authentic “Cajun Country” of southern Louisiana. He is a graduate of Louisiana College (B.A. in History Education/ Biblical Studies, 1984), New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary (M.Div. In Christian Education, 1994), and Andersonville Baptist Seminary (Doctor of Ministry, Biblical Exposition, 2000). He has been in the Gospel ministry since 1986, serving as an evangelist, interim and supply pastor, hospital and rescue mission chaplain, high school and college teacher, and pastor in churches in Louisiana and Oklahoma.
In 2018 he began to devote his time to the rich field of internet and social media evangelism and outreach. In 2021 he became a member of the Oklahoma Conference of Southern Baptist Evangelists, using his skills as a writer to contribute articles and sermons to websites such as Rapture Ready, Sermon Central, and Inspirational Christian Blogs. He also writes Bible studies and curricula for churches in southeast and central Asia and Africa, the locations of which are anonymous. He can be contacted at: email@example.com for inquiries, information, and speaking/preaching engagements. HIs website is: www.realitycityreverend.com . A copy of his resume is also available upon request.