By Chuck Williams
Interim pastor, First Baptist Church, Milan
Focal Passage: John 13:21-27, 31-35
The worst betrayal (vv. 21-27).Loyalty in times of crisis is one of the greatest gifts a person can give someone. Disloyalty in times of crisis makes a wound that hurts like no other, causes grief beyond comprehension, and can linger a lifetime.
The Emperor of Rome, Julius Caesar knew about such treachery. Some of his closest colleagues had secretly become sinister conspirators. One of those was a very close confidant named Marcus Junus Brutus whom he loved as a son.
The Senatorial conspirators with knives drawn, suddenly attacked Caesar. Historians say initially he fought them off but when Brutus emerged from the group with knife in hand, he slumped in his chair and asked this very famous question “Et tu Brute?”, which translated means — “And you too, Brutus?” This Latin phrase is now seen as the epitome of betrayal.
Jesus knew the depth of betrayal. Verse 21 says he was “troubled.” This is the Greek word, “tarasso,” which at its root means disturbed, stirred up, or terrified. Troubling, even terrifying times were about to descend upon Jesus and His disciples.
As the Passover meal was about to take place, He and the disciples took their places. DaVinci’s painting incorrectly portrayed the table. Rather than being a long straight table, it most likely was in a U-shape. With Jesus at the head of the table, the disciples took their places.
We know the apostle John was seated next to Jesus because he was the one reclining close to Jesus. It is assumed by most scholars that Judas was seated on his left, because of the quiet conversation the two had. The other disciples were not able to make out what was being said.
As Jesus dipped the morsel and gave it to Judas, Satan entered Judas. Satan had already gained control of Judas when he arranged the betrayal with the Pharisees. The first was when he arranged the betrayal, Matthew 26:14, and the second was when he fulfilled the betrayal in verse 27.
Judas shows us several things.
1. Unless Jesus is Lord, deception is always knocking at the door. Every day we must be on guard.
2. It is possible to look the part, act the part, and convince others you are a true believer in Christ and yet be cast into Hell.
3. Remorse is not a substitute for repentance.
4. Judas was not forced to be a traitor. Despite Jesus’ love, compassion, miracles and supreme example, Judas freely chose betrayal. May we guard our hearts carefully for there can be a bit of Judas in all of us.
The glorious command (vv. 31-35). With Judas gone, the tension had lifted, and Jesus gave them the Mount Everest of commands. It was Mount Everest in its grandeur, Mount Everest in its power, Mount Everest in its example. … “Love one another as I have loved you” (v. 34).
They would become radically changed and show the world Christ-like love for each other and the lost. It would be a serving love, a selfless love, a supernatural love and most of all, it would be a sacrificial love that would transform any who would receive it. B&R