Glory through betrayal

Think about this a moment: Jesus chose Judas Iscariot to be one of his disciples. Why would he do that?

John, who was Jesus’s disciple and who wrote the book of John, wrote that Jesus knew from the beginning – from the time that he chose Judas, and even much before! – that Judas would betray him. And it seems that this is precisely the reason that Jesus chose him.

Judas was in charge of the treasury of their group and stole money from them.

Judas was the one who said that the perfume that Mary poured over Jesus could have been sold and given to the poor, although in reality he didn’t really care about the poor. He only wanted more money for himself.

And finally, Judas sold Jesus for 30 pieces of silver.

See a pattern? Judas loved money much more than he loved Jesus. Judas was part of this group for his own gain. He followed Jesus to be able to build up his own wealth, his own fame and power. Very likely he thought that Jesus might be the someone important, so he intended to ride Jesus’s coattails to his own fortunes.

And Jesus knew all of that. He knew of Judas’s thieving heart and that Judas would betray him and sell him for a small amount of silver. In fact, he chose this man to be one of his disciples precisely because he wanted Judas to betray him. Judas’s betrayal of Jesus would set in motion Jesus’s death, an act that Jesus knew must happen and that he was destined to complete.

I think that when you see this selection of Judas from this perspective, you can begin to understand why Jesus would see his time headed to the cross as bringing glory to himself and to the father. It is strange, isn’t it? To consider marching to your own death and calling it bringing glory to the Father and to yourself? And yet, that is exactly what Jesus says:

When he was gone, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man is glorified and God is glorified in him. If God is glorified in him, God will glorify the Son in himself, and will glorify him at once.

John 13:31-32

At the beginning of verse 31, it says, “When he was gone”, refers to when Judas left their Passover dinner. Jesus had just identified Judas as the one who had betrayed him and told him to go do it quickly. Judas then stands up and leaves.

That is the context in which Jesus then says that the Son of Man is glorified and God is glorified in him. Given that, I think it would be fair to ask the question: Who made this plan that Jesus would be betrayed? Is it Judas? Is it the Jewish religious leaders? The Romans?

No, clearly, it is God himself who has made the plan and Jesus is on the earth to carry it out.

But now take a look at the next sentence that Jesus says. He has already said that he would be glorified, identifying himself as the Son of Man, and then saying that God the Father would be glorified in him.

And then Jesus goes on to say that God will glorify the Son in himself. He explains the glory that he will receive and that the Father will receive in a circular pattern. They both are receiving glory from one another as a result of Jesus’s action. It is, in fact, another way that Jesus is identifying himself as one with the Father. Together, they receive glory for the blood purchase of many through Jesus’s death on the cross.

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