What We Learned Together Sunday March 12, 2023
As we begin this morning let us turn to John chapter thirteen. Again, these chapters are unique to the Gospel of John. Here are the Teachings by Jesus for His disciples. The love of Jesus for His own has been the description so far in John chapter thirteen. So we learn and see the depths of His love in the face of His betrayer. The love of Jesus would be shown and seen in that He serves, sacrifices, speaks, shares, supports, and suffers. Jesus revealing His betrayer who would hand Him over to the authorities to receive the wrath of sinners and the wrath of God the Father as the Savior. As one pastor said, “In order to measure the love of God you have first to go down before you can go up. You do not start on the level and go up. We have to be brought up from a dungeon, from a horrible pit; and unless you know something of the measure of that depth you will only be measuring half the love of God.” [God’s Way of Reconciliation, Martyn Lloyd Jones] In this narrative three times the words of Jesus are repeated, “Truly, truly I say to you . . .” [v. 16, 20, 21] Oh what Jesus experienced and endured on the night which He was betrayed. Also John tells his reader “it was night [v. 30] . . . Therefore, when he had gone out [v.31] . . .” One man stated that Judas was a man, “climbing over the love of Jesus to get where he was going.”
First, Jesus Knows the One Who Will Betray Him [13:18-20]. A Prophecy About What Is Going to Happen with the repeated first-person pronouns in the words of Jesus “I . . .I . . .I . . .I . . .I.” Jesus supporting His disciples with His Understanding about these matters. John the writer of the Gospel of John lays before the reader three realities emphasized in this Scripture passage. It is a sober warning! Jesus Knows His Betrayer Will Be Disorientating for Them [13:18]. With a statement in verse eighteen on Personally Hearing This Prophecy as His Disciples [cf. 13:10]. With His words “that the Scripture might be fulfilled” Jesus quotes Psalm 41:9 [cf. 2 Samuel 16]. ‘He who eats My bread has lifted up his heel against Me.’ A friend of David betrays him during the rebellion of His son Absalom. David is type of Christ as Jesus applies these words of prophecy to Judas. Jesus Knows His Betrayal Will Be Disturbing for Them [13:19]. With an emphasis in verse nineteen on Fully Believing His Testimony as His Disciples. Hear the words of Jesus “from now . . . before it happened . . when it happens . . .” He is who He claimed to be as the I am [cf. 8:24; Matthew 28:20]. Jesus calling upon His disciples to look to who He is and His words during this time. Look at His words to His disciples, “you may believe that I am He.” Several references to the I am statements by Jesus in the Gospel of John [4:26; 6:20, 35, 41, 51; 8:12, 24, 58; 10:7, 9, 11; 11:35; 14:16; 15:5; 18:5-8]. Jesus Knows This Betrayer Will Be Distracting to Them [13:20]. With a focus in verse twenty on Truly Fulfilling His Ministry as His Disciples. The commission is still in place. Jesus repeatedly stated He was the One sent by the Father [John 5:36-38; 20:20-21]. And therefore our testimony as those being sent out by Jesus to testify to Him as the One sent by the Father to be the Savior. So many good gospel conversations can begin with answering the question, “Why did God the Father send His Son to be the Savior?”
Second Jesus Identifies The One Who Does Betray Him [13:21-30]. Here is a scene about who is betrayed as John puts Jesus before the readers with the repeated name of Jesus throughout this section “Jesus . . . Jesus . . . Jesus . . . Jesus.” Three relationships emphasized in this Scripture passage. It is a solemn ending! There is the Relationship of Jesus With John showing how loved he was by Jesus. Then there is the Relationship of Jesus with Judas indicating how close he would be to Jesus. And there is the Relationship of Judas with Satan revealing how far he would go away from Jesus. Jesus Identifies His Betrayer Is One of His Disciples [13:21-22]. Why was Jesus troubled in spirit? Was it because of what He was experiencing? No! It is what He saw Judas was going to do and the end result of his betrayal of Jesus. How many warnings did Judas walk past on the road to destruction? And then the description of the disciples when they hear the statement by Jesus. Verse 22 states, “The disciples began looking at one another, at a loss to know of which one He was speaking.” In the synoptic Gospel accounts the questions by the disciples was, “Surely it is not I Lord?” [Matthew 26; Mark 14, Luke 22]. Jesus Identifies The Betrayer Who Is Given His Bread [13:23-27]. The setting reveals they were reclining at the table having the supper together. John reclining would be on the right of Jesus and Judas sitting on His left. Most likely the Feast of Unleavened Bread before the institution of the Lord’s Table which was after Judas departed that night. As one commentator wrote, “Giving the morsel to Judas was an uncaught sign of recognition to John, but it was also the Lord’s final extension of grace to Judas. A host’s giving a morsel of bread to a guest was a sign of friendship. How ironic that Jesus’ act of friendship to Judas signaled Judas’ betrayal of friendship.” [The Bible Knowledge Commentary] Another man stated this action by Jesus was “a final gesture and a final appeal . . .” Here we see “the devil working undercover so people don’t know what’s going on.” John Identifies The Betrayer As Him Who Went Out From Them [13:28-30]. Here John describes how none of the other disciples understood Judas was the betrayer. These words written by inspiration of the Holy Spirit when John as an eyewitness writes, “Now no one of those reclining at the table knew for what purpose He had said this to him.” And John records “and it was night . . .” These words are not merely an observation but condemnation. The summary of Judas could be that he was lost. Leaving the presence of Jesus and abandoning His love into the dark. In the Gospel of John the emphasis on light over and over again [John 3:16-19; 8:12; 12:35-36]. As noted Judas appears again in the Gospel of John in chapter eighteen as Judas leads the romans soldiers to arrest Jesus [cf. 18:2-5]. The disciples who remained in the Upper Room that night would not find out who the betrayer was until that moment as Judas stood with the Roman Soldiers.
In conclusion there are several points of application for each of us this morning. Indeed there is the exposing of who we actually are because of Who Jesus really is shown in this passage today. Two truths: 1) Jesus Knows and 2) Jesus Identifies. Jesus does know His own and identifies His own for He has such an understanding of every one of us. What does Jesus know and identify about me and about you? He knows all about each of us here today. He knows all of our failures and flaws loving those who are His. He knows all of Judases who are climbing over His love to get where you are going. There are consequences of choices with Who Jesus Is as the results are clearly shown in our lives. What does the direction of your life show about the who Jesus Is and what he has done for you? Jesus knows all about you and those around you understanding what is going to happen no matter how much manipulating and maneuvering according to the ways of men. Consider how Judas betrayed the love of Jesus in his manipulating and maneuvering without taking direction from the words of Jesus. A final question for all us, Are you one who claims to be a disciple of Jesus desiring to be close to Him, hearing His words and embracing His love? May we indeed be as John the Apostle who wrote the Gospel of John as “one whom Jesus loved.”
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Pastor Timothy J. Atkins
Husband, Father, Grandfather, Pastor, Teacher, Discipler, and Follower of Jesus.