2011 04 03

Betrayed

Reverend Anthony R. Locke

April 3rd, 2011 www.FirstPresTucker.org

at the First Presbyterian Church of Tucker


This sermon was preached as a lead in to a Communion Service


John 13:21-30 English Standard Version

21 After saying these things, Jesus was troubled in his spirit, and testified, “Truly, truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.”

22 The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he spoke.

23 One of his disciples, whom Jesus loved, was reclining at table close to Jesus,

24 so Simon Peter motioned to him to ask Jesus of whom he was speaking.

25 So that disciple, leaning back against Jesus, said to him, “Lord, who is it?”

26 Jesus answered, “It is he to whom I will give this morsel of bread when I have dipped it.” So when he had dipped the morsel, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot.

27 Then after he had taken the morsel, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, “What you are going to do, do quickly.”

28 Now no one at the table knew why he said this to him.

29 Some thought that, because Judas had the moneybag, Jesus was telling him, “Buy what we need for the feast,” or that he should give something to the poor.

30 So, after receiving the morsel of bread, he immediately went out. And it was night.[1]


People who go through a divorce might feel the kind of betrayal that Jesus felt on this night. Jesus knew what was fast approaching. The kiss, the mock trials, the beatings, the scourging and the crucifixion.

Jesus was the Lamb of God sent by the Father to suffer for His people. There wasn’t any ambiguity how things would end, but the path of tears traveled through one of the greatest acts of betrayal told within human history.

And it broke our Lord’s heart that Judas would be so duplicitous, deceitful and treacherous.

By the anointing wisdom of God’s Spirit, Jesus knew Judas already had his plan in place.

Judas had already gone to Jesus’ enemies and sold Jesus for the value of a common servant. 30 pieces of silver.

We know that (Philippians 2:9) God has highly exalted Jesus and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, and yet Judas spoke that glorious name to wicked men that they might arrest, condemn and kill Him.

How does any person take the name Jesus on their lips for purposes other than worship? How? Could a man curse the mother who gave Him birth? How can the creation curse the Creator?

Judas profanely whispered the name Jesus, that a great evil might befall our Lord.

This didn’t derail the plans of God. Judas betrayed our Lord according to the eternal decree of the Father. The death of Jesus was no accident. It was God’s plan to bruise His Son that we might become God’s children.

Hebrews 2:9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

Jesus was made less glorious than angels when He became incarnate and lived as a common man.

In this state Jesus was vulnerable. Jesus made Himself even more vulnerable when He called disciples to His side. He brought people into the inner circle. He opened Himself up to betrayal just as He does today when we are called by his name.

And according to the eternal sovereign will of God, Judas was to be the betrayer. At the same time, God did not force Judas to do this. It was his decision according to his own free will. Judas holds the responsibility. Judas alone bears the guilt.

Jesus said in Matthew 26:24 The Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.”

Judas can’t blame God the Father for his betrayal of Jesus.

Discussing God’s eternal sovereign will and human free will is always a mind bender. Let’s move on.

Judas sinned directly against the Lord.

We sin against our brothers and sisters. As a minister I sin against my family and friends. I know I hurt people and when possible I ask forgiveness.

Yet our sins are more offensive to a Holy God than to our family and friends.

Psalm 51:4 Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment.

Our sins offend a holy God. Our sins break the heart of God. Our sins betray the gift of new life in Christ. We are given a resurrected life by Jesus’ resurrection and when we sin we betray the Spirit working in us for righteousness sake. We sin against the Holy Spirit and the Father who sent the Spirit to enable our holy life.

But the betrayal of Judas goes further than that.

The betrayal of Judas greatly pained Jesus. 21 Jesus was troubled in his spirit, and testified, “Truly, truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.”

I don’t think this is compassion. I think this is pity from Jesus to Judas.

A special curse would be placed on Judas for his betrayal.

When the Apostles in Acts chapter one replaced Judas by picking a new apostle, they commented about the unique condemnation on Judas.

Acts 1:24-25 And they prayed and said, “You, Lord, who know the hearts of all men, show which one of these two You have chosen to occupy this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.”

Most commentators believe that there is a unique level of eternal suffering in Hell that was reserved especially for Judas. It might be hotter. It might be darker, but there is at least an eternal burden of regret that he alone carries.

I can’t imagine not being driven to the brink of insanity by his guilty conscience. He felt so guilty after Jesus was condemned that he threw the money back at the religious leaders and hung himself. Surely, he will eternally suffer. His betrayal will vex him beyond our imagination.

Within the Gospel story, surprisingly, no one guessed it was Judas. 22 The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he spoke.

In the Gospel of Matthew we read that the disciples asked Jesus one by one, “Is it me?” It makes me wonder if I would have been as unhinged as the rest of the disciples.

Peter finally gets exhausted with his own speculation and asks the closest person sitting next to Jesus to ask for a specific name.

John, the author of this Gospel, says in verse 23 that One of his disciples, whom Jesus loved, was reclining at table close to Jesus, 24 so Simon Peter motioned to him to ask Jesus of whom he was speaking. 25 So that disciple, leaning back against Jesus, said to him, “Lord, who is it?”

John the Apostle doesn’t like to draw undue attention to himself in his own writings, but he does acknowledge that he was in that inner circle with Peter and James.

26 Jesus answered, (John) “It is he to whom I will give this morsel of bread when I have dipped it.” So when he had dipped the morsel, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot.

Jesus gives the dipped bread to Judas. I always imagine it is something like Queso dip. Maybe it was a lentil soup like a bean dip.

John just stares in shock and horror that someone as trusted as Judas, their treasurer,  would stab the Lord in the back with betrayal.

John doesn’t seem to share this information with Peter.

If you remember, Jesus had already told Peter that he would deny the Lord three times. I am not sure Peter would have been quick to condemn Judas for something they probably assumed was years down the road.

It seems to me that the moment got lost in translation. Peter and John quietly kept up appearances and the evening moved on.

27 Then after Judas had taken the morsel, Satan entered into him.

It was one thing for the Devil to place these thoughts into the mind of Judas, but the Devil wasn’t willing to risk the evening not going according to plan. It was possible that the conscience of Judas would awaken before he betrayed the Lord. The Devil couldn’t risk Judas getting cold feet, so Satan took over the mind of Judas until the deed was done.

It is interesting to note the overlap of personalities in the betrayal of Jesus. God the Father decreed it. Judas planned it. Satan made sure it was carried out.

At this moment in the story Jesus instructs Judas to leave. Jesus said to him, “What you are going to do, do quickly.”

Jesus needed to get Judas, and Satan, out of the room so He could institute the Lord’s Supper.

Again, verse 28 says that no one at the table knew why he said this to him. 29 Some thought that, because Judas had the moneybag, Jesus was telling him, “Buy what we need for the feast,” or that he should give something to the poor. 30 So, after receiving the morsel of bread, he immediately went out. And it was night.

Why did the Lord dismiss Judas before instituting what we call Holy Communion, or the Lord’s Supper?

The Lord’s Supper is reserved for believers. The Lord’s Supper is not for fickle followers. Certainly, the Lord does not offer communion with His enemies.

The passage in Matthew gives the next actions of Jesus in the upper room.

Matthew 26:26-29 Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”

The Lord’s Supper is a communion in His death. As Paul says in 1 Corinthians 11:26, For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

When we take in our hands the bread or the wine, we are told to consider the body and blood of Jesus. What are we to consider? That His body was broken for us; that His blood was spilled for us.

When Jesus went to the cross, He died a vicarious death for His people. He didn’t die for sins He committed. Jesus was bruised for our iniquities. The chastisement that brought us peace was upon Him. By His striped we are healed.

So the disciples got the bread of communion in the sufferings of Jesus, and Judas got the bread which identified him as a son of the Devil.

Which table service does Jesus offer to you? Are you willing to lose your life, take up your cross and follow Jesus? Are you willing to die to self that you might live for God? Are you faithful to the new resurrected life in Christ? Are you able to discern the body and blood of Jesus?

Or, does your conscience condemn you? Are you an outsider to the fellowship of Jesus?

This communion table is offered by Christ to anyone placing saving faith in the work of Jesus on the cross. It is not the ARP table. Jesus offers this to you like He did to the eleven . . .


[1] The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.


 

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