Summary: Many Christians believe that they have the right to forgive or not forgive a wrong done to them. Jesus disagrees.
Forgive – You Don’t Have A Choice
We know that even though Jesus lived during the time the Law was in effect, he didn’t teach the law. Jesus taught principles from the kingdom of God. That will be very important to keep in mind this morning.
We are going to be in John 13 and to give you a quick overview it’s a chapter where we’re introduced to Judas’ betrayal. In the process of that betrayal Jesus washes the feet of the apostles. At the end of the chapter, verses 34 and 35, Jesus says people will know the apostles were his disciples by how much they loved one another. One thing I want you to keep in mind and we’re not going to read past verse 20 – chapter 13 is the beginning of a series of messages that Jesus gives to the apostles at the last supper. He doesn’t finish teaching the apostles until John 18. So you have to read all of John 13, 14, 15, 16 and 17 to get the full picture of what Jesus shared that night. But we’re just going to look at a small portion of that this morning.
John 13:1 – Now before the feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of the world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them to the end.
Jesus is about 24 hours away from the garden of Gethsemane. I want you to notice something. Jesus didn’t say “his own were of the world.” He said they’re “in the world.” Hold your finger here and look at John 17:14-18.
John 17:14-18 − I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.
Jesus is speaking prophetically. Jesus refers to the apostles as being “in the world” but not “of the world.” And that’s important because we are “in the world” but not “of the world.” I’m 56 years old and 46 years ago I was of the world. I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior when I was 10 years old. At that moment, I left this world and entered the kingdom of God. That’s where I now live and so do you.
John 13:2 – And supper being ended the devil now having put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him.
We focus a lot on Judas but when you look at Matthew 26:31 and John 16:12 you see that all of the apostles dessert Jesus. In the verses in Matthew and John, Jesus says all of you will be offended of me this night but I’m not alone because the Father is with me. So we’re not only talking about Judas in this record but the other apostles as well.
Notice that it says “the devil having now put in Judas’ heart”. The devil had put the plan for betrayal into Judas’ heart at least six days before the last supper. You can read this in Matthew 26:14-16 and Luke 22:1-6.
I have a question for you. Do you think God uses words by chance or haphazardly? God is very specific in the words that he uses. Why is this important? It says here in verse 2 that “the devil having now put into Judas’ heart.” Scripture doesn’t say “mind” but “heart”. How important is that? Romans 10:9-10 says “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” Can you get saved if you don’t believe in your heart? Can you get saved by mentally agreeing with this passage? No, you have to believe in your heart. If a man can believe in his heart to righteousness, can he also believe in his heart to unrighteousness? This is not a trick question. The answer is “yes.” Remember Jesus said in John 6:63, one of my favorite verses, “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak are spirit and they are life.” If Jesus is speaking spirit and life, what is your enemy speaking? He is speaking spirit and death. Judas’ heart had been prepared over time to accept the devil’s lies.