This is the sermon for Wednesday, September 16th, 2009.  It is the 59 sermon in my verse by verse sermon series in the book of John and it is entitled, “Unmasked.”

John part 59

Unmasked

John 13:18-30

John 13:18-30 ESV – 18 I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen. But the Scripture will be fulfilled, ‘He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.’ 19 I am telling you this now, before it takes place, that when it does take place you may believe that I am he. 20Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever receives the one I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.” 21After saying these things, Jesus was troubled in his spirit, and testified, “Truly, truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” 22 The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he spoke. 23 One of his disciples, whom Jesus loved, was reclining at table close to Jesus, 24so Simon Peter motioned to him to ask Jesus of whom he was speaking. 25 So that disciple, leaning back against Jesus, said to him, “Lord, who is it?” 26Jesus answered, “It is he to whom I will give this morsel of bread when I have dipped it.” So when he had dipped the morsel, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. 27Then after he had taken the morsel, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, “What you are going to do, do quickly.” 28Now no one at the table knew why he said this to him. 29Some thought that, because Judas had the moneybag, Jesus was telling him, “Buy what we need for the feast,” or that he should give something to the poor. 30So, after receiving the morsel of bread, he immediately went out. And it was night.

INTRODUCTION

Have you ever been to a Masquerade party?  People show up wearing all kinds of costumes and mask, and of course everyone is trying to figure out who is who.  At the end of the party, usually there is a period that the masks come off – revealing the true identity of each person there.

Well, in this narrative that takes place at the last supper, we are going to see that Jesus basically removes the mask from Judas.  He is revealed not as a true follower of Christ, but as His betrayer.  Everyone in the room will be in confusion except to the two main people of the storyline:  Jesus and Judas.

Let’s begin tonight.

Jesus’ earlier call for humble service was not meant for all of the twelve – just for those chosen for service.

John 13:18 ESV – I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen. But the Scripture will be fulfilled, ‘He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.’

Let’s first look at the previous statements that are referred too in this verse.

John 13:14-17 ESV – 14If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. 16Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.

As Jesus humbled Himself to serve the disciples by washing their feet, He expects the 11 to humble themselves to serve one another and the lost as well.  But of the 12, one was not chosen for this service.  Why?  Well, he was a betrayer from the beginning.

John 6:70-71 ESV – 70Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the Twelve? And yet one of you is a devil.” 71He spoke of Judas the son of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the Twelve, was going to betray him.

You see, long before Judas was born, His betrayal was foreseen; it is part of God’s eternal plan.  So while the disciples are caught off guard by this news – Jesus is not.

In fact, Jesus states that this betrayal will fulfill Scripture: “But the Scripture will be fulfilled, ‘He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.’”

Psalm 41:9 ESV – Even my close friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted his heel against me.

What does it mean to share bread and lift a heel against someone?

  • In the Jewish culture, to share a meal with someone is a sign of friendship.
  • To lift a heel against someone is to take off your sandal and show the bottom of your foot, which is a sign of contempt.
  • So this is saying that Judas is appearing to be a friend and follower of Christ, but this is masking his contempt for Him – which will be revealed when he betrays Him.

Jesus reveals that there is a betrayer amongst them.

John 13:19-21 ESV – 19 I am telling you this now, before it takes place, that when it does take place you may believe that I am he. 20Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever receives the one I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.” 21After saying these things, Jesus was troubled in his spirit, and testified, “Truly, truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.”

Verse 21 states that Jesus was troubled in spirit.  Why was He troubled?  I personally believe He was troubled because although He knew all along that Judas was going to betray Him, Jesus still loved Him.  Even after Judas’ betrayal, I believe Christ went on loving Him.

Now the reason that Jesus revealed the betrayal before it took place was not to single Judas out, but so that after the betrayal and the events that led up to the betrayal, the disciples would believe that He truly is the Messiah, the Savior of the world sent by God (v. 19).

John 13:22-25 ESV – 22 The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he spoke. 23 One of his disciples, whom Jesus loved, was reclining at table close to Jesus, 24so Simon Peter motioned to him to ask Jesus of whom he was speaking. 25 So that disciple, leaning back against Jesus, said to him, “Lord, who is it?”

This statement that Jesus made concerning His betrayal really shocked the disciples.  Why?  Well, they have been together for three years now, and one of them is not who he claimed to be!  I’m sure not only are they shocked that one of them is the betrayer of Christ, but they may feel betrayed themselves.

Some of them were also fearful that it might be them according to the Gospel of Mark.

Mark 14:19 ESV – They began to be sorrowful and to say to him one after another, “Is it I?”

Simon Peter gets John to ask Jesus to reveal who the betrayer is.

Jesus reveals the betrayer through a sign of honor and respect.

John 13:26-27 ESV – 26Jesus answered, “It is he to whom I will give this morsel of bread when I have dipped it.” So when he had dipped the morsel, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. 27Then after he had taken the morsel, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, “What you are going to do, do quickly.”

Jesus didn’t point to Judas and declare, “You are the man!”  He used a sign of honor, respect, friendship, and love to reveal him.  He was not only revealing the betrayer, but He was also revealing His love toward the betrayer right until the end.

We see this as a sign of love and respect in the story of Boaz and Ruth.

Ruth 2:14 ESV – And at mealtime Boaz said to her, “Come here and eat some bread and dip your morsel in the wine.” So she sat beside the reapers, and he passed to her roasted grain. And she ate until she was satisfied, and she had some left over.

Satan enters Judas as soon as he takes the bread.

Let me quote from FF Bruce in what he wrote concerning this event:

“Jesus’ action, in singling out Judas was for a mark of special favor; it may have been intended as a final appeal to him to abandon his treacherous plan and play the part of a true disciple….Satan could not have entered into him had he not granted him permission.  Had he been willing to say ‘No’ to the adversary, all of his Master’s intercessory power was available to him there and then to strengthen him.  But when a disciple’s will turns traitor, when the spiritual aid of Christ is refused, that person’s condition is desperate indeed.” (The Gospel of John; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1983, page 290)

It is important to note that Jesus never tried to stop Judas.  Notice Jesus said, “What you are about to do, do quickly.”

John 13:28-30 ESV – 28Now no one at the table knew why he said this to him. 29Some thought that, because Judas had the moneybag, Jesus was telling him, “Buy what we need for the feast,” or that he should give something to the poor. 30So, after receiving the morsel of bread, he immediately went out. And it was night.

The disciples are clueless as usual.  They totally misunderstand what Jesus had said and done.  Judas does exactly what Jesus says; he goes to betray Him quickly.

CONCLUSION

What can we learn from this narrative?  Well, one important principle is that God knows the good and the bad, and that for the believer, everything, and in this case – including Judas’ betrayal – is for our good because we are called according to His purpose.

Romans 8:28 ESV – And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

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