Betrayal! – John 13:18-30
By Pastor Lee Hemen
September 6, 2013
Treason used to be such a dirty word, but in our day and age some folks who betray their countries are seen as heroes and adulated by the mainstream media. I suppose it depends upon what your government is doing, but how do you feel when you are personally betrayed by someone you trust? What an awful feeling to have someone who is nice to you publically, but stabbing you in the back privately. As a pastor I have incredulously watched as folks tell me to my face that I could count on them no matter what and immediately do the opposite. And sadly actually think they are doing the will of God in their betrayal.
This is nothing new, even Jesus faced betrayal by one of his disciples, one of the men he had chosen to follow him. Can you imagine being a friend, being seen as a confidant, doing the work of God, and then betraying the one God has sent into your life? This is exactly what occurs in the verses John shares with us next. It is the intimate details of betrayal. Let’s see what happens…
READ: John 13:18-30
Judas’ name has become synonymous with betrayal. Like Norway’s Vidkun Quisling who participated in Germany’s Final Solution or Benedict Arnold who betrayed America to the British during the Revolutionary War. Here in john’s gospel we discover…
I. The plan of God and the plot of Judas’ betrayal! (Vv. 18-22)
“I am not referring to all of you; I know those I have chosen. But this is to fulfill the scripture: ‘He who shares my bread has lifted up his heel against me.’ I am telling you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe that I am He. I tell you the truth, whoever accepts anyone I send accepts me; and whoever accepts me accepts the one who sent me.” After he had said this, Jesus was troubled in spirit and testified, “I tell you the truth, one of you is going to betray me.” His disciples stared at one another, at a loss to know which of them he meant.
1. After displaying his willingness to serve, Jesus stood up and went back to his place. When he had settled himself he told them, “I am not referring to all of you; I know those I have chosen.” Perhaps his followers were wondering what he meant when he had earlier remarked, “you are clean, though not every one of you.” Now he tells them that only one of them was not “clean”. One of them was thinking of the unthinkable, but Jesus reassures them by also stating, “I know those I have chosen.” Jesus knew who would betray him. And he also knew those he has chosen to follower him, just as he does today. He explains, “But this is to fulfill the scripture: ‘He who shares my bread has lifted up his heel against me.'” Jesus’ selection of Judas was not an accident or a failure in God’s plan. Jesus by design chose his betrayer; however, Judas was fully responsible for his betrayal. Just as God knows who will come to him or not, we are still culpable for our choice. So why would Jesus explain this to them? He tells them, “I am telling you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe that I am He.” It would help his disciple’s in their faith! Here is the hard truth that much of the world wants to deny but that Jesus emphatically taught, “I tell you the truth, whoever accepts anyone I send accepts me; and whoever accepts me accepts the one who sent me.” When one accepts the gospel message then they accept God’s truths, if they don’t then they are not saved. Again, “After he had said this, Jesus was troubled in spirit and testified, ‘I tell you the truth, one of you is going to betray me.'” Judas would betray Jesus. The truth was and is that anyone was and is capable of betraying Jesus, but there was one chosen to do so, Judas. He had already made his agreement with Satan to do so. His disciples were incredulous and they “stared at one another, at a loss to know which of them he meant.” Here we find the plan of God and the plot of Judas’ of betrayal!
EXAMPLE: In our convoluted thinking we often root for the underdog, but there is no underdog to root for here. Judas is no one we should feel sympathy for. I cringe at some of the Pollyanna Christianity we sometimes see. We are to pray for those who would persecute us that they would change or come to Christ. However, there is a time to shake the dust off one’s feet and move on. And there are those who are preordained for God’s wrath because of their perverted natures. You might argue that only God knows, but God has also given us the Holy Spirit to be able to make these discernments. “Be merciful to those who doubt; snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear–hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.” (Jude 1:22-23 NIV) Paul writes we are to “Have nothing to do with them.” (2 Timothy 3:5 NIV) And this is why he would also write, “Warn a divisive person once, and then warn him a second time. After that, have nothing to do with him. You may be sure that such a man is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.” (Titus 3:10-11 NIV) Here we find the plan of God and the plot of Judas’ of betrayal!
It has often surprised me how clueless people can be. Perhaps it is because we become so wrapped up in ourselves that we fail to see what others are going through or what they are planning. Here in John’s gospel…
II. We discover the ignorance of betrayal! (Vv. 23-30)
One of them, the disciple whom Jesus loved, was reclining next to him. Simon Peter motioned to this disciple and said, “Ask him which one he means.” Leaning back against Jesus, he asked him, “Lord, who is it?” Jesus answered, “It is the one to whom I will give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.” Then, dipping the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, son of Simon. As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him. “What you are about to do, do quickly,” Jesus told him, but no one at the meal understood why Jesus said this to him. Since Judas had charge of the money, some thought Jesus was telling him to buy what was needed for the Feast, or to give something to the poor. As soon as Judas had taken the bread, he went out. And it was night.
1. Interestingly we would like the disciples to be wonderful people who only thought of others first, but we discover they were very human. They often thought of themselves first. So we find that “One of them, the disciple whom Jesus loved, was reclining next to him. Simon Peter motioned to this disciple and said, ‘Ask him which one he means.'” Some speculate this disciple whom Peter questioned was probably John himself. So the big fisherman, Peter the pushy one, had to have the youngest disciple ask their Master the question he wanted answered. John, “Leaning back against Jesus, he asked him, ‘Lord, who is it?'” We find Jesus reaching out a hand of friendship, “‘It is the one to whom I will give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.’ Then, dipping the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, son of Simon.” This is a physical act of grace on Jesus’ part because the host, Jesus, giving the first piece of bread in a meal was seen as an honor. Judas received this last chance to change his mind, but he does not. His fate is sealed by his choice and “As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him.” He was totally given over to his depravity of trying to force Jesus’ hand in proclaiming himself as King. “What you are about to do, do quickly,” Jesus calmly tells Judas. The rest of the disciples are clueless, as they often were, and “no one at the meal understood why Jesus said this to him.” And that “Since Judas had charge of the money, some thought Jesus was telling him to buy what was needed for the Feast, or to give something to the poor.” They should have known Judas’ character, they should have understood Jesus’ statement, and they should have been able to stop him, but it was not to be because it was not part of God’s plan. Judas had deceived his peers but not Jesus. Judas left the light of friendship, fellowship, and faith and went out into the darkness of selfishness, sin, and deception. John relates, “As soon as Judas had taken the bread, he went out. And it was night.” It is breathtaking in the ignorance of Judas’ selfishness and the disciple’s nearsightedness. Here we discover the ignorance of betrayal!
EXAMPLE: The disciples thought Judas was going out to help the poor but in fact we learn that he had earlier struggled with the gift of a woman, perhaps Mary the sister of Martha and Lazarus, who willingly anointed Jesus with expensive perfume. We are told that “Then one of the Twelve–the one called Judas Iscariot–went to the chief priests and asked, ‘What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?’ So they counted out for him thirty silver coins. From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand him over.” (Matthew 26:14-16 NIV) Judas actually thought he could force Jesus’ hand and earn a few bucks at the same time and through it all the disciples were clueless. Sadly we can be just as clueless in our betrayal of Jesus. John shows us the ignorance of betrayal.
Here we find the plan of God and the plot of Judas’ of betrayal! Here we discover the ignorance of betrayal! Have you betrayed Jesus?
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