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A sermon on Judas (kind of)… January 11, 2009

Posted by roberttalley in John's Gospel, Judas, Religion, Sermons.
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(John 13:18-30)

A year before Jesus was crucified, he fed five thousand plus with five flat loaves of bread and two dried fish. It was after that miracle in John 6 where Jesus began to lose followers because of His teachings. As some of his followers were walking away, Jesus turned to the twelve disciples and asked them if they were going away. Peter, serving as spokesmen for the disciples, asked Jesus, “…to whom shall we go?…we…believe and know that you are the Christ…” Jesus then made a shocking announcement. I have chosen twelve of you and one of you is a devil. This was the first time that the disciples began to look at each other and asked themselves, “Who is it?” A year later, they are still asking the same question but this time they ask it openly.

The answer to this question perplexed the disciples (verses 22-30).

There was no reason for them to suspect any of the others (verses 22-25). It is not that Judas was above suspicion. Not a one of them had acted in a way that cause them to suspect them. After all, they had all left everything to follow Christ. They all had been sent out two by two to preach the gospel. One of them had been Judas’ partner in preaching. That disciple had seen Judas perform the same miracles of healing and exorcisms that he himself had performed.

Judas seemed to be singled out by Jesus for honor and intimacy at this feast (verse 26). Based on this chapter, it appears that Judas has been given by Jesus, the host of this feast, the place of honor on his left. In addition, Jesus gave Judas the sop. The sop was a piece of bread that was dipped into some type of sauce or mixture. To give the sop to some one was not only a great honor but symbolic of a close friendship. Jesus treated Judas at this festival with the greatest of honor and signs of friendship.

Judas was recognized at the time as a responsible and trustworthy disciple (Compare verses 27-31 with John 12:4-6). Although it later came out that Judas was a thief, at the time he was trusted by everyone of the disciples. He was their treasurer. He was trusted by them. When they needed money, they turned to him. When they received money, they turned it over to them. In fact, when Jesus dismissed Judas from the feast, they assumed it had something to do with his duties as treasurer.

Jesus, however, knew the answer. The answer to this question troubled Jesus Christ greatly (verses 21 and 27). Jesus was not surprised by the answer. He had known that Judas would betray Him. There are two good reasons why Jesus should be greatly disturbed by the knowledge of his betrayal by Judas.

The man Christ Jesus was losing a friend (verses 18, 21, and 26). Jesus chose Judas. Jesus mentored Judas. Jesus was Judas’ friend. Judas turned his back on his friend and betrayed him.

Jesus Christ, the Son of God was losing a soul (Compare verses 2 and 27 with John 6:70-71 and 17:12).

John specifies the exact moment when Satan entered into Judas. Although John does not use these words, it seems that Judas crosses at this time the “point of no return.”

It is clear that Judas that Judas is in hell today (Compare John 17:12 with Acts 1:25). This brings up some a couple of important questions.

Did Judas lose his salvation? John 6:64 indicates that Judas was not a true believer. Certainly on some level he had believed that Jesus could be the Messiah but like many others, there came a point when Judas “went back” spiritually (John 6:66). The primary difference is that they left Jesus physically also but Judas, perhaps because of the gain to be made financially, continued to walk with Jesus.

Did Judas go to hell because he committed suicide? The answer again is no. In fact, verses 20 and 21 indicate why Judas went to hell. He did not receive Jesus as the Christ. Is suicide a sin? Yes, but it is a sin for which Jesus died. If Judas had received Christ, even the future sin of suicide would have been forgiven. Instead, Judas’ suicide, in his case, reveals the depth of his spiritual problem. He could not imagine that Christ could forgive him. If he had received Christ, not only could he have imagined forgiveness but he would have been confident of forgiveness.

The answer to this question is important for us today (John 13:18-20).

The prophecy concerning Judas Iscariot is proof that Jesus is the Messiah (verses 18-19).

There are five specific prophecies that were fulfilled when Judas betrayed Jesus:

Psalm 41:9—Close friend will betray Christ (see John 13:18).

Zechariah 11:12—30 pieces of silver (see Matthew 26:15).

Zechariah 11:13—Judas would give the money back. (see Matthew 27:5).

Psalm 69:25—Reputation destroyed forever. (see Acts 1:20).

Psalm 109:8—Replaced by another man—Matthias (see Acts 1:20).

Why did these men need this proof? They were already believers. There is never any doubt about the faith of any of the eleven apostles. This tells us something significant about faith in Christ. The message of faith in Christ as the Messiah is not only for the unsaved but for the believer also. These men were going to face the most difficult days of their lives. Tomorrow, their Master would be crucified. He would rise from the dead but it would be hard for them to believe it. After forty days, Christ would ascend to heaven and then they would have to wait ten days for the coming of the Holy Spirit. They would be persecuted by the same people who had crucified Jesus. They needed to know, in the face of all of these changes, the departure of Jesus and the task of evangelizing the world, it was necessary for them to be confident that Jesus truly is the Messiah, the Christ, the Son of the living God.

The first part of verse 20 clarifies for us why these men needed confidence in their message. Jesus said, when I send you out, those who receive your message will be receiving me. It is absolutely necessary that you be certain of the truth of your message. You must know that I am the Christ.

The acceptance of Jesus as Messiah is the same as acceptance of God the Father (verse 20).

In this verse we have a summation of the message of John’s Gospel. If you want to know God, you must know Jesus Christ. If you want to receive God, you must receive Jesus Christ. To accept God without accepting Jesus Christ is to reject God. The line is drawn very clearly. Will you believe Jesus Christ? There are other options: Allah, Buddha, the church, your good works but all of them result ultimately in rejecting God. If you want to receive God, you must receive Jesus Christ as the Messiah, the Son of the living God.

NEXT WEEK: “LORD, WHERE ARE YOU GOING?” from John 13:31-38