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Presentation 52. Introduction How many times have you begun a sentence by saying, “Things could have been different if…”? When we speak in these terms,

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Presentation on theme: "Presentation 52. Introduction How many times have you begun a sentence by saying, “Things could have been different if…”? When we speak in these terms,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Presentation 52

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3 Introduction How many times have you begun a sentence by saying, “Things could have been different if…”? When we speak in these terms, we can often give the impression that we are at the mercy of circumstances, the victims of cruel accidents. But is that the case? When Shakespeare wrote, “there is a divinity that shapes our ends rough hew them how we will”, he was reminding his readers of the need to see the hand of God at work in the most difficult of Circumstances in order to achieve his purpose. Jesus’ betrayal did not creep up on him unawares. It did not take him by surprise. His betrayal was something he anticipated and knew would happen. Jn.6v70 Presentation 52

4 A Predicted Event Jesus makes clear that the betrayal about to take place was a predicted event. In this way the disciples are encouraged to have confidence in the prophetic word of God; “to fulfil the scripture, he who shares my bread has lifted up his heel against me” v13. Jesus cites a Messianic Psalm [Ps41], which like so much O.T. prophecy contains a double fulfilment. David reflects upon his betrayal by Ahithophel a trusted friend, who sided with Absalom in his rebellion. Jesus says, ‘David wrote not merely to describe his own experience but mine’. When the betrayal takes place you must not think that God’s work has been frustrated and say, “Things could’ve been different if Judas…” Presentation 52

5 A Devastating Event Now although this betrayal was predicted, that does not mean that it was any the less devastating when it occurred. We learn that it churned Jesus up inside v21. Jesus’ divinity did not shelter him from raw human emotion and in this instance against the crushing effect that treachery can produce. A ‘friend’ would betray him! One who had heard his teaching and observed his miracles for three years. When the other disciples engaged in mission so too did Judas. He too had preached the good news and had been an instrument of God in the healing of others! Presentation 52

6 A Devastating Event Despite knowing that Judas would be the betrayer, Jesus had nevertheless shown the same love towards him as he showed to the other disciples. During the last supper John, described here as ‘the disciple whom Jesus loved,’ was to his immediate right, while Judas found himself on the other place of honour on Jesus’ left! Judas could not complain that he was ever discriminated against by Jesus. Presentation 52

7 A Devastating Event Judas’ betrayal was a sin against grace, against love, but more than that - it exposed his professed loyalty to Jesus for the insincere sham and hypocritical profession that it was. It even places him in a different category from that of the religious leaders. Their opposition and hostility was open and transparent but his betrayal was a furtive abuse of trust. The sins of those who profess to belong to Jesus, and who have benefited from the blessings of fellowship with God’s people, cause him more hurt than those who are openly hostile towards him. Presentation 52

8 A Veiled Event The betrayal was devastating but the language used to describe it is veiled. Why did Jesus not name Judas? Even at this late hour, is Jesus’ language intended to make Judas recognise the awful deed he was about to perform. ‘I know those whom I have chosen, I am not referring to all of you but… one of you will betray me’. Did that chill the heart of Judas? Is Jesus holding out to Judas a way back from the precipice of disaster? Note Peter wants John to wheedle a name out of Jesus, doubtless so he could take whoever it was outside for ‘a chat’. Use your imagination as to how that might have ended. Presentation 52

9 A Veiled Event Judas is identified but not openly. Jesus engages in an act of symbolism by handing the sop of bread to Judas - none of the others understood what was going on v28. This symbol is more than a middle-eastern token of friendship. It was given in the context of the communion supper where participants were saying, “We are united to Jesus and to one another, and together we value the share we have in Christ’s salvation as part of his body”. By giving the sop to Judas, Jesus highlighted the fact that Judas, by his betrayal, was attempting to tear apart the body of Christ of which he claimed to be a member. Presentation 52

10 A Veiled Event We should not be surprised therefore by Paul’s instruction on the Lord’s Supper to the Corinthian church, some of whose members were also guilty of the sin of hypocrisy. They professed loyalty to Jesus and his people but by their insensitive behaviour were beginning to tear the body of Jesus apart. Paul writes: Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep. 1 Cor.11v27-30 Presentation 52

11 A Veiled Event How did the disciples respond to Jesus’ bombshell that one of them would betray him? One after another they asked, “Lord is it I?” These honest, simple-hearted men shrank back in horror at the thought that they might betray Jesus. They were more concerned with self-examination than with the examination of their fellows. Surly a challenge for the church today! We are often more ready to search out the faults of others than to search our own hearts to see how we may have offended Jesus? Follow the Psalmist’s example and ask, “Search me O God and see if there be any wicked way in me”? Ps. 139v33 Presentation 52

12 A Sobering Event Judas’ betrayal is profoundly sobering “Satan entered into him” v27. This happened after a long process of rejecting Jesus. Judas’ agenda for discipleship did not include honouring God, accepting his salvation or, serving others sacrificially. Judas’ discipleship was self-centred. He was in it for what he could get out of it. He volunteered to be treasurer in order to siphon off cash for himself. Satan was able to enter him only because he had left the door wide open. Contrast Judas’ betrayal with Peter’s denial and you have a quite different picture. Despite his overweening self-assurance, Peter wanted to be committed to Jesus. Satan was banging at his door but he failed to gain entry. Presentation 52

13 A Sobering Event Was it Peter’s strength of character that made the difference? No! Jesus said to Peter, “Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail” Lk. 22v31. We need this great truth of Christ’s intercession for his people to balance the challenge of self-examination. It is not our strength that equips us to withstand temptation. We need God’s grace linked to the powerful, effective intercession of Christ. Many Christians seem ready to give up. They say, “I can’t withstand temptation, I don’t have the strength or courage I need.” That is true but Christ prays for us and has promised that no one can take us out of the Fathers hand. Presentation 52

14 A Sobering Event Judas had for years concealed his true identity and the true inclination of his heart. He was more comfortable in the dark than in the light with Christ. Like many of the Jews he “loved darkness rather than light” Jn Judas had deceived the other disciples concerning his heart commitment. You see it is not mere words or, an outward profession but, our behaviour that reveals where we stand. We are known by our fruits. Our passage closes with the words “As soon as Judas had taken the bread, he went out and it was night.” John is providing us with much more than a comment on the time of day when Judas left the upper room! Presentation 52

15 A Sobering Event The two contrasting symbols that run throughout this gospel are darkness and light. Christ is the light and sometimes, as here, the light exposes, embarrasses and challenges the inclination of men’s hearts. It does so in order to pave the way for repentance and forgiveness but when The Light is rejected all that is left is darkness. And when Judas left that upper room he was not merely going out into the night, he was stepping out into an eternal darkness. He was leaving the fellowship of God’s people and exchanging that for a spiritual darkness that endures forever. Presentation 52

16 Conclusion Sometimes the curtains covering the windows of our lives are pulled back. We are embarrassed when things, we thought were well hidden, are exposed. Jesus challenges the sincerity of our commitment. He does so discretely in order to provide opportunity for us to repent. We stand unmasked before him. We cannot fool him. In those circumstances we need to ask, “How will I respond”? We can, like Judas, dig our heels in and step out into the night, because we have no real love for Jesus and no genuine interest in his sacrificial death. Presentation 52

17 Conclusion Or, we can allow the discovery to humble and break our hearts. We can pray, “Lord have mercy on me a sinner”. Jesus will draw near not only to forgive but to assure you of your value to him. Someone may say, “My situation is hopeless, my sin is unforgivable”. But the very fact that when exposed to the light of God you feel uncomfortable indicates that you have not yet stepped out into the night. How can we know that? Because the person who has walked out into the night is no longer concerned about their spiritual condition or, their relationship with God. If you find you are disturbed by God’s exposure then you are still receptive to the light and will find that God is eager to forgive and restore you! Presentation 52


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