Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Night Before Betrayal (Jn. 13:21-30)

This is my personal summary of Rev Dr Stephen Tong's sermon on 11 March 2012 in STEMI Expository Preaching at True Way Presbyterian Church. It was preached in Chinese with English translation.

Passage: John 13:21-30

Between AD60 to AD100 all apostles have died. Jesus had prepared for this by extending the apostleship of Christianity for another 30 years through the young disciple John.

John followed Christ very closely. After all disciples had fled, at the crucifixion only John was left. Jesus left the care of His mother to John. Why did Jesus give Mary to John instead of one of His brothers or other disciples? One thing different about John is that he always followed Christ closely. He leaned on Christ on the day before His betrayal because he wanted to hear everything Christ had to say.

John spoke a lot about love. John recorded the testing of Peter, “Do you love Me more than these?” He wrote a lot of miracles and teaching absent in other gospels. In the Old Testament, Daniel was chosen to write about the end days. In the New Testament, John was chosen to write Revelation.

The relationship between Jesus and Peter was not that intimate. Peter asked John to ask Jesus who it was that would betray Him (Jn. 13:24-25). 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. (v.26) John knew it was Judas. At that point, no other disciples knew.

Judas was very deceptive. He worked like a spy and nobody suspected him. He was intelligent but unfortunately his intelligence was not used by God, but for himself.

There are 3 things you do which will certainly end up in failure: (1) if you do everything for money (2) if you serve yourself (3) if you do things to please men.

As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him (v.27) He could not see he was possessed as his mind was only thinking about the money. Christians need to be able to differentiate whether a person is possessed or phychologically disturbed. Confused reasoning does not necessarily imply demon possession. There are 3 traits of someone possessed: (1) confused reasoning (2) out of control emotions (3) passive will.

What does it mean to be confused? It means you cannot tell good from evil, important from unimportant, God’s will from selfish ambition. Your logic is confused. In the midst of this confusion, Satan has opportunity. Secondly, you have such boiling emotion. You love so fervently you become irrational. Here Satan is waiting for you. Lastly, you become apathetic so you just passively follow as Satan take over you. Some people who are heart-broken are not able to think straight, are full of emotions and become passive and allow Satan to do whatever he wants.

Why would Satan enter Judas? Because he loved money so much he could not see properly. His logic was wrong. He did not see who Jesus is. He was satisfied he could sell Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. He was in fact not selling Jesus but was auctioning his own soul.

The Holy Spirit fills anoints and guides a person. No Christian is possessed by the Holy Spirit. Because in possession your will is passive, your state is controlled. But when you are guided, you willingly follow. When you are anointed, you receive the blessings of God and are filled with joy. When Jesus dipped the bread, Judas could have realised he had been exposed but he was ignorant because he was possessed. A person who does not glorify God or give thanks to God will have his thoughts blurred and heart confused, he became a very easy target for Satan to come in.

Did Judas fulfil the will of God? Is salvation come through Judas’ betrayal? Do we thank Judas for selling Jesus so that we have a Saviour? Remember that if Jesus did not come from heaven to earth, who would Judas betray? We have salvation because Jesus willingly came. And remember God does not need salvation and God does not need Judas. We are the one in need of salvation.

Jesus said, “What you are about to do, do it quickly” (v.27). Jesus did not say, “what God wants you to do” but “what you are about to do”. This has very deep theological meaning. It is what Judas want to do, not what God wants him to do. Only Jesus, John and Judas knew. Judas only saw money, not the truth. The night Jesus was betrayed, Judas evil deed was exposed. He was allowed to exercise his freedom.

Therefore, if you do everything for money, if you do everything for yourself or to please people, you will do everything wrong. May God has mercy on us.

May God give us a pure heart that is obedient to His will so that we can see Him. May we not compromise just because we want to please others.


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