April 8, 2024

The Judas Lessons: A Final Try

Grow. Pray. Study. (GPS)

Sermon: The Judas Lessons: A Final Try

Scripture: John 13:21-30


21 After he had said this, Jesus was troubled in spirit and testified, “Very truly I tell you, one of you is going to betray me.” 22 His disciples stared at one another, at a loss to know which of them he meant. 23 One of them, the disciple whom Jesus loved, was reclining next to him. 24 Simon Peter motioned to this disciple and said, “Ask him which one he means.” 25 Leaning back against Jesus, he asked him, “Lord, who is it?” 26 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, the son of Simon Iscariot. 27 As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him. So Jesus told him, “What you are about to do, do quickly.” 28 But no one at the meal understood why Jesus said this to him. 29 Since Judas had charge of the money, some thought Jesus was telling him to buy what was needed for the festival, or to give something to the poor. 30 As soon as Judas had taken the bread, he went out. And it was night.

Thursday, 3.28.24                                                                    Psalm 41:9; 55:1-14

Though written centuries before Jesus and Judas, the verses today speak directly two the situation at hand.  In these two passages, often thought to be prophecies, the psalmist laments the betrayal of a close friend.  The genius of the psalms is that they speak to the heart of the human condition, both good and bad.  Jesus and Judas probably knew these passages, as faithful Jews.  It’s easy to see how Jesus may have interpreted these passages, but what about Judas?  How could he have felt betrayed by Jesus?

Friday, 3.29.24                                                                                 John 13:31-35


Judas left to betray Jesus.  Even as he was on his way to the chief priests and soldiers, Jesus began preparing the disciples for what was to come.  What did He say?  “Love each other.  Just as I have loved you, so you also must love each other.”  Jesus knew what Judas left to do, and His immediate response was to remind the remaining disciples that they would be defined by love, not revenge.  Jesus refused to badmouth Judas, or provoke the other disciples to anger.  Instead, He promoted love.


Saturday, 3.30.24                                                                            John 15:18-27

“If the world hates you, know that it hated me first.”  Jesus knows the pain of betrayal.  He gave Judas everything He had, and Judas still chose to betray Jesus.  And it hurt.  Jesus, perhaps as a way of both grieving and preparing the disciples for their mission ahead, speaks about those who hate Him, and how He deals with it.  The way to deal with people who persecute you is to remember the One they are really persecuting: your Father in Heaven.  It isn’t something to take personally.  When we take things personally, it is more difficult to love our enemies.

Sunday, 3.31.24                                                                                 John 16:1-33

Jesus speaks a sad reality to the disciples—He will be leaving them soon.  In the midst of bad news, Jesus continues to encourage them.  Why has Jesus spoken these things?  “So that you won’t fall away.” Jesus lost one of the disciples to evil… He’s doing everything He can to prepare the remaining eleven for the temptations ahead.  He says the same to us as well.  What do you sense He is telling you, especially through these words in today’s passage?

Monday, 4.1.24                                                                                  John 17:1-26

This is Jesus’ final prayer before leaving the Upper Room where He and His disciples celebrated the Passover.  There are many things Jesus asks of His Father in these verses.  However, look at verse 12.  “When I was with them, I watched over them in your name… and I kept them safe.  None of them has been lost except for the one who was doomed for destruction, so that scripture might be fulfilled.”  There are a few ways of looking at this verse.  Some say Judas couldn’t resist betraying Jesus because it was predestined for him.  Others say that John’s gospel is particularly harsh on Judas, written by the Beloved Disciple’s community, who had a special loathing for Judas (which is true).  However you read the passage, hear it from a Jesus who has tear-filled eyes, a Jesus who is hurt over the fact that He could not change Judas’ mind.  Judas was doomed to destruction by His own choice.  And Jesus is torn up over it.  Likewise, Jesus mourns over our decisions when we turn away from Him.  How will you avoid being “doomed to destruction” today?

Tuesday, 4.2.24                                                                        Matthew 26:36-46

The final hour has arrived, and Jesus is alone.  Judas is on His way, and the other disciples are fighting sleep.  How does Jesus face His darkest hour?  He does not run from it, nor does He try to reason His way out of it.  No, He prays.  The thing that we often choose last, Jesus does first.  What does He pray?  He prays, “Father, I hate this.  I feel as though I’m dying already.  Please let there be another way. Please!”  Have you ever prayed that prayer before? We all have.  But Jesus adds an additional phrase.  “Yet, not my will.  Let Yours be done.”  Jesus does not fearfully face His darkest hour.  He confidently embraces it as part of God’s work of redemption for all His people.  And, perhaps, as a final way of showing His love and plan to Judas, His betrayer.

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