March 25, 2024

The Judas Lessons: Decisions

Grow. Pray. Study. (GPS)

Sermon: The Judas Lessons: Decisions

Scripture: John 6:52-71


52 The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” 53 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. 55 For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. 56 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like the bread[a] the fathers ate, and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” 59 Jesus[b] said these things in the synagogue, as he taught at Capernaum. 60 When many of his disciples heard it, they said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?” 61 But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples were grumbling about this, said to them, “Do you take offense at this? 62 Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? 63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. 64 But there are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.) 65 And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.”

66 After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. 67 So Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” 68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, 69 and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” 70 Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the twelve? And yet one of you is a devil.” 71 He spoke of Judas the son of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the twelve, was going to betray him.

Thursday, 3.21                                                                   Matthew 26:1-16, John 12:1-5

What would cause you to do the unthinkable? Notice the differences in today’s readings. Matthew claims the disciples objected to the wasteful use of expensive perfume, while John’s gospel asserts that Judas objected. As the “Beloved Disciple,” John considered Judas’ betrayal much greater animosity than other Christians. In some ways, John’s gospel’s portrayal of Judas shows a harshness that is not seen in the other gospels. This is the first time in the scriptures where we see Judas’ decisions taking a dark turn. Interestingly, it is tied to money and greed here. Judas obviously has a love for money, and perhaps power. Do you think Judas betrayed Jesus for money? Or was it something else?

Friday, 3.22.24                                                                                                       Mark 9:2-13

Jesus takes Peter, James, and John up a mountain to pray, and they are shown an extraordinary miracle: the transfiguration. Jesus’ face began to glow and the three disciples saw Jesus speaking with Moses and Elijah. Notice that Peter, James, and John were Jesus’ closest disciples and they would eventually be leaders in the church post-resurrection. Why do you think Jesus didn’t bring Judas and the others along for this important moment? Do you think Judas’ betrayal was already afoot?

Saturday, 3.23.24                                                                                               Mark 9:14-29

While Peter, James, and John went with Jesus up a mountain to pray, Judas and the other disciples were left to continue Jesus’ mission.  While Jesus was gone, a boy with an evil spirit was brought to Judas and the others to be healed.  But for some reason they couldn’t do it.  Jesus told them it is because some spirits can only be driven out by prayer and fasting, but how would you take it?  Would you count it as a failure?  Would you think to yourself, “I messed this up.  Peter, James, and John could have done it… but not me.”  Perhaps Judas felt this.  Had betrayal already crossed his mind?  Even if he had shaken it out of his mind for the moment, do you think the guilt of the thought could have kept him from healing the boy in need? Sin left unaddressed can affect not only our relationship with God, but also in performing His mission.  What sin do you need to talk to God about today?

Sunday, 3.24.24                                                                                             Matthew 21:1-11

Riding into Jerusalem on a donkey, Jesus made a statement to the people that He was the Messiah, the one who would deliver them.  In response, the Jews gathered palm branches and waved and laid them before Jesus.  Why?  When coins were minted for the last time, following the Maccabean revolt, one emblem that appeared on them was—you guessed it—palm branches!  So, by gathering them, people were declaring Jesus as a revolutionary who would overthrow Rome.  As Judas marched alongside Jesus, do you think he saw this and, knowing Jesus’ true heart was not for overthrowing Rome, confirmed his betrayal?

Monday, 3.25.24                                                                                        Matthew 21:11-17

Further confirming assertions that He was a revolutionary, Jesus physically clears the temple of price-gouging, Rome-serving Jews who excluded the poor from worship with raised prices on worship elements.  Do you think Judas would have been given hope for a possible overthrow of Rome?  Given Jesus’ violent tendencies here (John’s version even says He crafted a whip of cords!), do you think Judas might have betrayed Jesus in an attempt to force His hand toward revolution??

Tuesday, 3.26.24                                                                                                     Luke 22:1-6

While we cannot simply let Judas “off the hook,” it is important to note that Luke suggests that Judas’ betrayal  is both the work of Judas and Satan.  As some have said, “The devil made me do it.”  Perhaps this is Luke’s way of saying that we don’t exactly know what drove Judas.  It could have been money, or power, or disappointment, or hurt feelings from Jesus, or the tempting Jesus to fight back the Romans.  But in the end, Judas betrayed Jesus because of what Satan had worked in Judas’ heart.  The lesson for us is that our emotions, desires, and thoughts must all be checked before God, because we, too, can unknowingly be lured by Satan to do the unthinkable.

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