WHO DO YOU SAY THAT I AM? – A STUDY OF THE LIFE OF JESUS (37)

HE LOVED THEM TO THE END – EVEN JUDAS – MORE ‘LAST WORDS’ AT THE LAST SUPPER –
JOHN 13:18-38

V. 18- Though Judas’ betrayal was a fulfillment of prophecy (Psalm 41:9; 55:12;
Zech. 11: 112-13; Matt. 27: 9-10) he was still culpable for choosing to betray
our Lord. And though Jesus knew Judas would betray Him He was deeply hurt by
it (V.21- "troubled in spirit").

Jesus loved Judas to the end. He washed his feet. He shared bread with him
– a mark of close fellowship. It seems that He even gave him the position of
honor at the table – immediately to His left. Maybe as a Man Jesus was still
hoping Judas would yet repent.

V. 27 – "Satan then entered into him". Though a true believer cannot
lose their salvation they can, by continually yielding to fleshly and sinful
thoughts and actions, become an instrument of Satan. We see this in Acts as
Ananias and Sapphira (believers – Acts 4:32- 5:11) lied to the Holy Spirit and
"Satan filled their hearts". Paul in writing to Timothy about leading
the church in Ephesus speaks of women turning aside to follow Satan. (Also see
Ephesians 4:26-27) The flesh can open a door to demonic spirits as we continue
to yield to besetting sins. (Hebrews 12:1) See Ken Boa’s material on Spiritual
Judo .Judas’ seems to have been political ambition.

The fact that none of the disciples had any idea who Jesus was referring to
when He said "one of you will betray Me" shows how Judas had kept
his feelings and motives to Himself for the three years they had been together.
Yet it is clear from Scripture that Judas had never become a believer even after
seeing first hand all the miracles Jesus did and being one of His closest friends.
It is amazing that he could be in the "light" of Jesus’ Presence and
still prefer the darkness. There seems to be a point at which the continual
rejection of Christ leads to an impossibility of repentance. (E.g., Esau – Hebrews
12:16-17) "In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the
light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it."
"And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world,
and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For
everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest
his deeds should be exposed." (John 1:5; 3:18-21) Thus an intellectual
understanding of Who Jesus is does not lead to salvation. Pride and fear of
loss of control can keep people willfully rejecting Him even when they know
Who He is.

Once Judas departed ("and it was night" – symbolic of spiritual darkness)
Jesus begins to speak of His glory and the glory of God – the cross, the means
by which God would accomplish His purpose, the saving of souls and the preparation
of a bride for His Son – the church – you and I.

In Jewish farewell speeches in Scripture and tradition we see several common
elements such as the leaders identifying their successors, exhortations to know
and obey God’s Word, encouragement and an impartation of the spirit to the disciple/successor.
(E.g., Moses to Joshua, Deuteronomy 31-34) In the next five chapters (13-17)
we see Jesus doing the same for His disciples then and for all of His disciples
throughout the years. And Jesus sent the Holy Spirit, God Himself, to encourage
us and empower us to keep His Word.

Jesus speaks with such affection to these His closest friends – "little
children" was often used affectionately by rabbis with their students.
And although He tells them He will leave them in just a few words later He tells
them that He will not leave them as orphans, that He goes to prepare a place
(home) for them and that He will come back to take them to be with Him.

And He gives them and us a new commandment (not suggestion) – to love
one another (fellow believers) just as He has loved them and us as He loved
even His enemy Judas the betrayer to the end. (Matt. 5;43-45) From the foot
washing that night and the cross the next day they understood what this meant
– a life of servanthood and sacrifice for one another and submission to the
will of the Father. (See Ephesians 5:21)

This does not mean we are not to love unbelievers but it does mean we are to
love one another even more. In a world that fails miserably in loving each other,
a community of loving believers is a noticeable testimony to the reality of
God’s kingdom. "By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you
have love for one another." (V. 35 Also see Galatians 6:10; 1 John 3:16,
4:19-21) And in a world that is hostile to God’s truth and His people we need
to provide communities that will be a refuge to refresh and encourage the saints
to continue to fight the good fight of faith – building God’s kingdom by reaching
out to the lost and helping new believers grow and reproduce. (See Hebrews 10:24-25)

Peter denied Jesus but repented. Judas betrayed Him and was remorseful but
not repentant. (See 2 Corinthians 7:9-10)

 

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

If Satan could take you out where might he find a chink in your armor? What
besetting sins in your life could lead to Satan gaining a foothold or stronghold
in your life? See Ephesians 4:26-27, 2 Corinthians 10: 4-5 KJV; Hebrews 3:12-13.

Servanthood, sacrifice for one another, and submission to the will of the Father
is a tall order but yet a commandment of our Lord. Discuss how Paul’s words
in Ephesians 5:21 can help you love even the unlovable.

Are you in a community of believers that serves as a refuge for you – a place
of love and encouragement? Discuss how it helps you. How can you help foster
such a community? See Hebrews 10:24-25.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *