John 13 Part 4

Resumed from part 3

So, as I see it, then, He is saying that not of all them were clean because Judas was never bathed. He never really was there. What happened was you could see a progression in his hypocrisy. You reach a point of no return. One of the clearest literary examples of this is in the ‘Space Trilogy’ by C.S. Lewis. There you see a character by the name of Ransom, but there is also Weston and another character, named Devine. One of those characters is killed in Perelandra, but the other, knowing that he is about to die, realizes he is going to die without God, but he has reached to point of no return. He chooses to continue as he is.
It reminds me of this great line from Dostoyevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov, which is a glorious novel, perhaps the finest ever written, and what is fascinating about this work is that you have a composite hero, made up of the three brothers, Ivan, Dmetri, and Alyosha. Together they form the ‘Karamazov nature’, which represents the Fall and a lack of unity. All three of them, through pain and sorrow and suffering, come to an end themselves and come to faith. The point is this, that the three brothers are Dostoyevsky’s answer to the ‘Divine Inquisitor’.
At the end of the ‘Divine Inquisitor’, a stranger comes, who is clearly Jesus, at the height of the Spanish Inquisition. There, on the streets of Seville, he begins to raise people from the dead, heal the blind, and raise up the lame. The Cardinal gets wind of it and knows who it is. He has him arrested. He has him brought to him and asks, “Is it Thou? Even if it isn’t Thou, you will be burned tomorrow. We can not afford to have you around.” In effect,” he says, “you rejected, when you overcame the tempter, three key things that people desperately need, miracle, mystery and authority. Our job is to overcome your work.” The people needed, according to the Cardinal, miracle, mystery, and authority and he thought they were providing that. This stranger never says anything to the Cardinal. And when he asks again to respond, the stranger does something that is a visual parable, he comes to that wizened Cardinal and kisses him on the mouth.
The Cardinal is so overwhelmed by this action that he says, “Get out!” In other words, he chose not to kill him. The stranger goes out and then Alyosha asks Ivan, “What happened to the old man?” Now, this is the mark of no return. Ivan answers, “The warmth of the kiss is still in his heart, but the old man clung to his ideas.” You see that point? He had reached a point of no return. I think Judas progressively did that. Remember A Man for All Seasons, and Richard? At the beginning of the film he was a man, although flawed, really wanted to do the right thing. Then he takes the next step and the next step and finally he moves to the point of no return. Each action makes the next one easier until finally he betrays the one he wanted to be with.
So, you have this profound picture, here, of change and we have Jesus and the disciples together. In verses 12 through 17, and I call this ‘happiness’, in a way, because of the sense of Joy Jesus is actually offering, “When He had washed their feet, and taken His garments and reclined at the table again, He said to them, ‘Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for I am. If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I gave you an example that you should also do as I did to you. Truly, truly I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master, nor is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them’.” What He is doing here is showing that you discover real joy when your true source of joy is serving others in the name of Christ.
So, He is saying that, “You are blessed if you do them.” By becoming a servant, the Lord lifted each of us up. He dignifies sacrifice and service. I want you to see that. Jesus gave dignity to sacrifice and service. Therefore, we have a need for leaders who will serve and a need for servants who will lead. The blessing in 3:17 doesn’t come from knowledge or motion, but from application. James 1:25 tells us that, “Blessed is the man who applies these things.” I need to tie the chapter together because we are almost out of time.
In verses 18 through 35, what we now have is Jesus and Judas, and this section we can call ‘hypocrisy’, because we have a man who was not a true believer. If you look back to chapters six and twelve, and then ahead to 13:29, we have a number of texts that tell us that these things that we understand he was not a true follower of Jesus. “Some were supposing, because Judas had the money box, that Jesus was saying to him, ‘Buy the things we have need of for the feast’; or else that he should give something to the poor.” Here is the treasurer, which is usually an esteemed position, Judas would pilfer the money regularly. The amazing thing, though, is that the disciples still didn’t get it. Even when he went out they just thought he was going for provisions, or in a Passover tradition, to give alms to the poor. The disciples never caught on until after the fact, but Jesus knew what Judas would do.
He didn’t compel him to do it, in spite of his exposure to the truth, and this is the important point, you can have so much truth that you reject. God alone knows where that point of no return is. I believe it very possible for a person to reach the point where they reject the Gospel only so many times and the next time is it. They are incapable of receiving it. God knows that point of no return. We do not. You can reject the Light only so many times.
We have this theme of light and darkness. If you will look with me, again, at verse 18, “I do not speak of all of you. I know the ones I have chosen; but it is that the Scripture may be fulfilled, ‘He who eats my bread has lifted up his heel against me’. From now on I am telling you before it comes to pass, so that when it does occur, you may believe that I am He. Truly, truly, I say to you, he who receives whomever I send received Me; and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me.” We have this portrait of Jesus telling him that this is something that had to come to pass. “When Jesus had said this, He became troubled in spirit,” and the word ‘tarasso’ is used again, “and testified and said, ‘Truly, truly I say to you that one of you will betray Me’.
The disciples began to look at one another, at a loss to know of which one He was speaking.” That is the incredible thing, this Judas was good, and none of them caught on. The amazing thing is that he had over three years in Jesus presence. He had a lot of opportunity to get the Light. You see how incredible this is? Is it possible, then, for us to hear it and hear it and hear it, and not get it? Of course, the answer is yes. “There was reclining on Jesus’ bosom one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved.” Again, John would be at a place of honor on Jesus’ right. As he is leaning on his left elbow, then, all he had to do is lean back and ask Him who it was.
So, Simon Peter gestured to him, and said to him, ‘Tell us who it is of whom He is speaking’. He, leaning back thus on Jesus’ bosom, said, ‘Lord, who is it’? Jesus then answered, ‘That is the one for whom I shall dip the morsel and give it to him’. So when He had dipped the morsel, He took and gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot.” Luke’s Gospel tells us that Satan entered into him at that time. “After the morsel, Jesus said to him, ‘What you do, do quickly’. Now no one of those reclining at the table knew for what purpose He had said this.” Now, in verse 30, “So after receiving the morsel, he went out immediately; and it was night.” We know it was night, but John is using it as a double meaning. He is stressing that Judas was of the darkness. It is the theme of the children of light and the children of darkness.
Now, I want to stress that this is a theme that is developed all through this Gospel. In chapter one, “The Light came into the world and the darkness did not comprehend it.” In chapter three Jesus makes this statement, “The Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness more than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.” That is why many people can come to intellectual belief about Jesus but not be willing to place their trust in Him, because of the implications it might have for their lives. I have been with many people who finally grasped it, their objections were answered, and they came to say maybe it’s true.
Still, they chose not to accept Him. It was no longer an intellectual issue, it was a volitional issue. They realized it would mean a loss of control and a change in their life. Clinging to the darkness will allow you to eventually reject the Light. After Judas had left, the atmosphere had cleared and Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in Him. God will also glorify Him in Himself, and will glorify Him immediately. Little children, I am with you a little while longer. You will seek Me; and as I said to the Jews, now I also say to you, where I am going, you can not come. A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.”
So, Jesus is now instructing the disciples and that is when the Eucharist takes place. He begins to instruct them and prepare them for His crucifixion and His ultimate return to heaven.
Now, in verses 34 and 35, Jesus’ love for His own must be reflected in their love for one another. 1st John 3:16 underscores this theme. “We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” So, our love is the true evidence that we belong to Christ. That is to be the manifestation; your love, your sacrifice, your service. That becomes the evidence of the in-Christ relationship.
I forgot that there was a verse concerning Judas that I want to give you because it might be relevant, because some has said that God made Judas do that deed, and why would Judas be held responsible if God did indeed make him follow out this course of evil. The verse is in Matthew 26:24, “The Son of Man is to go, just as it is written of Him; but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed. It would have been good for that man if he had not been born.” Here is the point. That man had a choice. It underscores the need for human responsibility. That is why, as I see it, we have a picture of how God has a plan. We see this in Acts 2:23, “This Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to the Cross by Godless men and put Him to death.” Do you catch the balance there? On the one side, He was delivered over by a predetermined plan.
On the other hand, it does not eliminate their culpability for nailing Him to the Cross and putting Him to death. See how both are true? Divine sovereignty never eliminates human responsibility. We can make our choice and God is not responsible for the commitment of evil. His purposes will be accomplished, but we will be accountable for what we do. If Judas had not betrayed Him, He would have been betrayed by another, but I have to balance that with John 6, that He knew from the beginning he was the one who would do it. It is amazing because Jesus was with this man for years, sharing His truth and loving him. I don’t know that Judas knew he would betray Him. It is interesting, going back to Lewis’ Perelandra, the character Weston actually becomes possessed by Satan and it is no longer that Ransom is wrestling with a man, he is wrestling with someone who is inhabited by the enemy. By giving himself over to the darkness, he put himself in the position to be taken over by that darkness. I think he rationalized his actions. Perhaps he was trying to force Jesus’ hand. But in Judas’s mind I think he thought that he wasn’t truly betraying Him. Of course, he was selling Him for 30 pieces of silver and you can’t entirely get around that.
What I am saying is that when we have a relationship with God, when we are His children, we can not out-sin His grace. I think we can, though, reject His grace before we receive it. Judas chose to reject it. He did not embrace Christ for Himself because he had an agenda. As Jesus said, “It would have been better if that man had never been born.” One side of it is that he was remorseful, but the other side I can not eliminate, “woe to that man,” and also, Satan had entered him. There are two sides to it.
One thought that Judas might have had to ease his conscience of what he was planning on doing, it certainly was important because he was the one who used to pilfer from the money box. It may well be that he felt, in his definition of Messianic Messiah, if Jesus’ hand were forced, He would put Himself in a position to show Himself as the true Messiah and deliver His people. Keep in mind that the Jewish expectation of the Messiah was one of a reigning King, not a suffering servant, even though you have the suffering servant motif throughout the Old Testament. The idea that it could be one and the same is not something anyone conceived. There are a lot of factors involved and it is not simple. It is subtle.

 

 

Continued in part 5

2 Replies to “John 13 Part 4”

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