Summary: Apostasy is a falling away from the faith. In this message we will see a man who turns away from Christ to the world. It stands as a strong warning to every man who professes to follow Christ.
Tonight’s passage is a clear picture of betrayal and apostasy. Apostasy is a falling away from the faith. Tonight we see a man who turns away from Christ to the world. It stands as a strong warning to every man who professes to follow Christ.
READ v. 18. Here is the heartbreak of betrayal. When ANYONE betrays the Lord, Jesus’ heart is cut to the core because a soul is being lost. Two things in particular cut deeply.
1. The betrayer is not chosen by Christ. He can’t be because he rejected Christ so Christ has to reject him. (see Matt. 10:32-33.) Jesus DID stir Judas’ heart to understand that He was the Son of God. But Judas rebelled against the drawing power of Christ and rejected the quickening power of Christ.
When a person is so drawn and quickened by God’s Spirit, he must respond then and there. God says, “My Spirit will not always contend with man forever.” Most people are aware of the tugging to decide for God sometime in their life. But when the tug is rejected, it soon leaves, and the person ceases to think too much about the matter.
The point is this, when a person betrays Christ and begins to live in sin; he shows that he did not truly respond to the movement of God’s Spirit within his heart. That makes him one not chosen of God. That breaks Christ’s heart because He wants every person to pay attention to the call of the Spirit and to respond to His offer of eternal salvation.
2. The 2nd thing that cuts deeply is that the betrayer eats with Christ, yet his heel is against Christ. Judas actually ate bread with Jesus. He was a friend of Jesus, not an enemy. He didn’t hate Jesus, he cared for Him. He often walked into the house of God with Jesus and had close fellowship with Him. Judas was a follower, a choice disciple, yet Judas lifted up his heel against Jesus. This is a picture of a horse lifting up his hoof to kick. Judas kicked Jesus in a sense. He struck Him with the fatal blow of disloyalty, of contempt, and of betrayal.
The whole scene is one of tragedy.
READ v. 19-20. We are seeing a prediction of the betrayal. Jesus predicted the betrayal to strengthen and assure the disciples.
Jesus wanted His disciples to be strong in their belief in Him as the Messiah. Once the prophecy came to pass, they would know that Jesus was all knowing. Their faith in Him would be strongly strengthened.
THOUGHT: And we know that God knows every person’s heart. Even a person’s inner thoughts are known to God, as well as what a person does. No one can hide what He does from God, not even a thought. God knows if a man is betraying His Son. He even knows if a man is thinking about sinning and turning his back on Jesus. The more man thinks about sinning, the more likely he is to turn back. So his betrayal can be predicted.
Jesus wanted His disciples to be assured of the dignity of their call as servants of God. Judas had betrayed the call, and his betrayal had left a bad image in people’s minds and reflected a poor image of the ministry. It could affect some people, causing them to question the power of Christ, even causing others to actually withdraw and turn away from the ministry. The betrayal could cause some disciples to become discouraged, feeling that God’s call and ministry didn’t have the dignity that Christ claimed.
Jesus wanted His disciples to be assured of God’s indwelling presence. Christ put Himself on par with God. To receive Christ is to receive God. What a promise to the believer!
READ v. 21-26. Here’s the last chance given to the betrayer. Jesus exposed Judas but He did it quietly, and He did it to give Judas a last chance to repent and to turn from his evil.
Jesus was troubled in spirit over all this. Jesus testified, He said, “I tell you the truth,” stressing the extreme seriousness of betrayal. The disciples became nervous and self-conscious over Jesus’ exposure of a betrayer. They had no idea. They were totally unaware of a deserter. They looked at one another wondering just who it might be.
Judas was a counterfeit disciple. In public he was ideal; moral, decent, upright. No one ever suspected him. It was what Judas did in secret that doomed him, not what he did in public. He was a deserter, a man of the world behind the scenes.
Note the tenderness of Jesus. He didn’t reveal the betrayer by name. Jesus was making the man aware that He knew about his desertion, and He was hoping that the man would begin to fear and turn from his evil deed.