March 24, 2022
Judas, who would betray him, answered, “Is it I, Rabbi?” He said to him, “You have said so” (Matthew 26:25).
When Jesus disclosed to the disciples that one of them would betray Him, they all began questioning themselves and each other as to who that person might be. John asked Jesus privately, “Lord, who is it?” Jesus answered, “It is he to whom I will give this morsel of bread when I have dipped it” (John 13:26). None of the others heard this conversation because they misunderstood why Judas left the group (vv. 28-29).
Judas also asked his question in a private manner, but the Greek text reveals the attitude of Judas in a greater way. Rather than asking, Is it I, Rabbi?, he asked, Surely it is not I, Rabbi? His feigned astonishment and disbelief may have fooled the other disciples, but Jesus was fully aware of the intentions and actions of Judas. That’s why Jesus responded, You have said so. The hardness of Judas’ heart is fully noted here. He had already betrayed the Lord to the Chief Priests and received payment for it. He was conscious of the fact Jesus was talking about him all the time He was informing the disciples of the betrayal. He heard the words of Jesus regarding the consequences that would come upon the betrayer. But none of these things affected him. In his hypocrisy he feigned sincerity by asking, Surely it is not I, Rabbi? In other words, ‘You can’t think I would do such a thing, my Teacher!’
Jesus was not enamored by Judas’ ‘my Teacher’ bit - certainly an honorable title given to Jesus, but one that had no weight with Judas. Jesus’ response to Judas was quick to cut to the heart of the matter, much as it was with Nicodemus. (John 3:1-3) Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews; this man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, "Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him." Whether or not Nicodemus was sincere or simply ingratiating himself by that introduction, Jesus immediately cut to the heart of the matter by saying, Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
With his question, Surely it is not I, Rabbi?, Judas condemned himself. As soon as he took the unleavened bread dipped in the charoseth, his fate was sealed forever. Satan took full control of Judas (John 13:27), Jesus told Judas to leave, and it was night (v. 30). The prince of darkness (Satan) had fully thrust this disciple (Judas) into the dark night, which was a fore-shadowing of the outer darkness both of them would suffer for all eternity. Thus, Judas became the most vile, godless, archenemy of Jesus Christ in all of human history. Jesus knew who he was. Satan knew who he was. John knew who he was. Judas certainly knew who he was. And we know who he was. Yet he lives on in the lives of countless numbers of people who know about Jesus, but vehemently oppose and reject Him as Lord and Savior. Amen.