Glorious Dark Night

Believe: Gospel of John  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  32:04
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Glorious Dark Night

Last week we looked at the beginning of John 13.
We examined Jesus washing the feet of his disciples.
And in that act we talked about the intense love and humility that Jesus Demonstrated.
After Jesus had washed the feet of his Disciples he told them that their lives need to be marked by the same love and humility if they are going to serve him.
And if they serve others in the same love and humility they will be blessed.
That’s a great start to the last hours of Jesus’ Ministry as he prepares them for his departure.
But John 13 soon takes a turn.
After the foot washing John highlights the betrayal of Judas.
Now what do you think about when you think about betrayal?
This past week when I was thinking about betrayal I was thinking about and doing research on some of the biggest betrayal in history.
Just so we are all on the same page, betrayal happens when someone we thought was for us turns out to be against us.
They played the part of friend, relative, or confidant, but turned against us when it was convenient for them.
For example, in 1950 Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were arrested for selling secret information and recruiting spies for the Russians that had to do with American Security. They played the part of American Citizens, but betrayed the country.
Another historical example of Betrayal is so famous that it is immortalized in a Shakespearean Play.
Julius Caesar was not a well liked ruler of his empire.
And there was a conspiracy to get rid of him.
He was then stabbed by his nephew, Marcus Junius Brutus.
Prompting Julius Caesar to say the famous line “Et tu, Brutus?”
Though these are some well known betrayals in history, there are many that we know that have felt the sting of betrayal.
Losing a Job b/c someone took credit for your hard work.
A friendship that’s ruined over lies and deception.
Families ripped apart b/c of infidelity.
Betrayal is a reality for many of us.
In fact, it is such a disease in our world that even Jesus was affected by betrayal.
A friend and follower who turned him over to the authorities for some money.
One of the things I want us to see this morning is that the betrayal was not the end of the road for Jesus.
He expected to be betrayed.
He knew the reality of what was going to happen.
The betrayal of Judas helped bring the Glory of Jesus.
So, just to quickly reset the scene so we can see what happening.
Jesus is having dinner with his close group of followers.
This is the last night they would dine together before Jesus was crucified.
He had just washed their feet and it was time for Jesus to set expectations for what was about to happen.
Let’s Pray.
John 13:18–20 CSB
18 “I’m not speaking about all of you; I know those I have chosen. But the Scripture must be fulfilled: The one who eats my bread has raised his heel against me. 19 I am telling you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe that I am he. 20 Truly I tell you, whoever receives anyone I send receives me, and the one who receives me receives him who sent me.”

Belief and Unbelief

We have talked a lot throughout this series in John about Belief and Unbelief.
If we remember, the whole reason that John writes this gospel is so that people will believe.
John 20:30-31 “30 Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples that are not written in this book. 31 But these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”
So naturally he is going to point out and report about situations and people that both believe and don’t believe.
After Jesus tells the disciples to love like he does.
To have humility like he does.
And that those that belong to him will exhibit these qualities he hits the disciples with v.18
Not all who were with him were for him.
Jesus had chosen this group of men to follow him around and to learn from him.
He had chose each one of these 12 men to serve a particular purpose in his life and ministry.
Let’s not look past that.
Jesus knew how each of these men would treat him.
Each of the men Chosen by Jesus were chosen for a purpose.
And the purpose by which he chose them was so that the Scripture would be fulfilled.
That God’s word will come to pass.
That the promises made to God’s people would find their fulfillment and culmination in Jesus.
Then Jesus uses a quote from Psalm 41:9
John 13.18 “...The one who eats my bread has raised his heel against me.”
Ps 41 is a Psalm of David after he felt the sting of betrayal.
After one of his closest friends turned on him.
David is lamenting the Betrayal.
He is crying out to God for comfort and vengeance.
Jesus knows whats about to happen.
He knows that Judas is about to betray him.
So he quotes a Psalm that would have been known by the disciples to speak about his betrayal.
This Psalm is complex in that it talks about both the intimacy of the offender and the disgrace brought by the offender.
The one who eats my bread is a picture of one that is close.
Someone who regularly shares a meal with you.
Most people don’t regularly invite strangers into their home.
But we do invite friends, family, and those we have a relationship with.
The one who betrays Jesus has developed a relationship with him.
He has been there for 3 years.
He is a friend of Jesus.
But he is going to raise his heel against Jesus.
This is a phrase that is attributed to a horse or donkey kicking at someone.
Not only that but at this time and in this culture raising your heel at someone is extremely insulting and dishonoring.
So for a friend that is closer than a brother to raise their heel against you would be one of the ultimate betrayals.
We’re going to see that the one that has been around Jesus, shared bread with him, and now betrays him doesn’t actually believe in Jesus as Messiah.
He is wrapped up in unbelief.
But Jesus wants to help those who do believe.
That’s why he is telling them what is going to happen.
That he is going to be betrayed by someone close to him.
He wants them to know that he isn’t surprised by the turn of events.
And going a little further his prediction is going to help solidify their understanding of his divinity.
It is going to help them see that he truly is God in flesh.
That’s what he means in v. 19 when he says
Jn 13.19 “19 I am telling you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe that I am he.”
Then he tells the disciples this:
jn 13:20 “20 Truly I tell you, whoever receives anyone I send receives me, and the one who receives me receives him who sent me.””
He is now marking out those who believe, the original 11, that they are sent out by Jesus.
And if they believe what they teach.
Then they receive Jesus.
This is building upon what Jesus has said previously.
Previously, he said if they believe in the Son then they will be accepted by the father.
Because he is sent by the Father.
Now he is sending the disciples out.
And if they accept the message of the disciples then they accept Jesus.
And they will be accepted by the Father.
There’s this threefold acceptance.
As followers of Jesus all of us have been called into relationship with Jesus so that we can be sent out to be a blessing to the world.
As Jesus calls us in he also sends us out.
Sends us out to preach the message of the good news.
Sends us out to tell others about Jesus.
Sends us out to do kingdom work.
Those that accept you when you are sent out, accept Jesus, and are accepted by the Father.
But the reverse of that is also true.
If they reject you and the message you bring then they reject Jesus and are in turn rejected by the Father.
So if they accept the message you bring, they are really accepting Jesus.
But if they reject the message you bring, they aren’t rejecting you.
They’re rejecting Jesus.
They don’t want to have life with him.
They don’t want to be a part of him.
Don’t get discouraged when you talk about Jesus and people push you aside or ignore the message.
They aren’t rejecting you.
They’re rejecting him.
Also don’t get overly confident if you have a streak where people love the message of the gospel and believe.
They don’t believe b/c your are amazing at conveying the message.
They believe b/c they want to love Jesus.
Your part to play in all this is the same as the disciples. You are simply the messenger.
It may feel like they are accepting or rejecting you, but they aren’t.
They are accepting or Rejecting Jesus.
As Jesus is instructing his disciples about their calling to be sent.
He gets upset and troubled.
Because the time has come for the betrayal to begin.
John 13:21–25 CSB
21 When Jesus had said this, he was troubled in his spirit and testified, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me.” 22 The disciples started looking at one another—uncertain which one he was speaking about. 23 One of his disciples, the one Jesus loved, was reclining close beside Jesus. 24 Simon Peter motioned to him to find out who it was he was talking about. 25 So he leaned back against Jesus and asked him, “Lord, who is it?”

Announcement of Betrayal

I love the authenticity with which John speaks to us about Jesus’ attitude and heart.
He tells us that Jesus is troubled in his spirit.
The same way he felt about Lazarus’ death in 11:33
The same way he felt when his hour had finally come in in 12:27.
Jesus is disturbed and troubled about what must take place.
He is feeling the anguish and reality about what is going to happen.
This is his Gethsemane moment in John’s Gospel.
Especially when he spoke these words, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me.”
One of you that I have trusted.
One of you that has eaten food.
One of you who has become family to me is going to betray me.
And notice, all of the disciples are confused.
They are all looking at one another dumbfounded by what they had just heard.
Mark tells us that they all started saying “Surely not I?”
They didn’t even know who would be the betrayer.
Each one suspected that they could be the one.
They didn’t know at this time that Judas was the one who would turn Jesus over.
It’s not like Jesus said “one of you will betray me” and 11 heads turned toward Judas.
They were all confused.
So Peter, looks over at John or “the one Jesus loved” and was like.
Hey see if you can figure out what’s going on.
Let’s talk about the “one Jesus loved” for just a minute.
This is an interesting phrase that makes its debut here but shows up in the rest of the gospel.
I was a part of a bible study that was going through John and they came to this statement and they were confused by it.
What does this mean?
Doesn’t Jesus love all his disciples.
Doesn’t he love all who belong to him.
That’s what 13:1 says, and now we read about the disciple that Jesus loves.
This is a self-identifier for the author of this gospel.
He doesn’t write it to put the other disciples down.
Like he was more special than everyone else.
He wasn’t trying to set himself apart as more loved.
It’s more like this.
He was in shock and awe that the creator of the Universe loved him.
It’s like he was saying “I am loved by the one who created all things.”
“How can he love me? Why does he love me?
It’s a position and understanding that the love from Jesus is special.
Again it wasn’t about John’s position or understanding.
Rather it was about being spellbound by the love he recieved from Jesus.
Now at this dinner, John was sitting next to Jesus on his right.
They were all enjoying a meal, until Jesus dropped the gem about his betrayal on them.
And when Peter motioned for John to ask about it, John leans back and asks Jesus, “Lord, who is it?”
John 13:26–30 CSB
26 Jesus replied, “He’s the one I give the piece of bread to after I have dipped it.” When he had dipped the bread, he gave it to Judas, Simon Iscariot’s son. 27 After Judas ate the piece of bread, Satan entered him. So Jesus told him, “What you’re doing, do quickly.” 28 None of those reclining at the table knew why he said this to him. 29 Since Judas kept the money-bag, some thought that Jesus was telling him, “Buy what we need for the festival,” or that he should give something to the poor. 30 After receiving the piece of bread, he immediately left. And it was night.

Darkest Night

Jesus’ response to John was that the one he gives the dipped piece of bread to is the betrayer.
Jesus then dips the piece of bread and gives it to Judas.
We need to make a couple of observations here.
One the giving of the piece of bread or morsel, in some translations, is an intensely intimate and honorable gesture.
Now this isn’t a perfect example, but think of it like this.
One of my favorite memories is when my mom would make a dessert.
Cookies, cake, or brownies.
I even taste it today.
After she had put the batter in the pan or scooped the cookies out.
She would then give us the spoon or spatula to lick clean.
She wouldn’t just give it to anyone.
It was a sign of love and kindness.
This is the same thing that is happening here.
Jesus is extending persistent kindness and grace toward Judas.
Knowing that he is going to be the one to betray him.
It is a great honor for the host of the dinner.
That being Jesus.
To serve a guest at the dinner in this way.
Let’s not miss this.
Jesus’ love, grace, and kindness towards Judas never waivers.
He loves him to the very end 13.1.
I want you to see this too.
Judas had to be sitting near Jesus for Jesus to give him the piece of bread.
He was probably sitting right next to Jesus.
In a place of honor.
On one side of Jesus we have “the disciple that Jesus loved” and on the other side, we had the one that would betray Jesus.
Both receiving honor.
Both receiving grace.
Both receiving kindness.
Both receiving love.
After Judas took the bread and ate, the time had come.
John tells us that Satan entered him.
Some have suggested that there was some mystical or magical element to the bread that caused Satan to enter him.
But that’s not what is happening here.
It is simply time to get the ball rolling.
It’s time for Jesus to die.
It is the fulfillment of what Jesus just predicted.
There was no turning back for Judas.
He had hardened his heart toward Jesus’ kindness, love, and grace.
So he had to do what he had to do.
Notice this, Judas couldn’t do what he had set in his heart to do without Jesus’ Permission.
It wasn’t until Jesus tells “What you’re doing, do quickly.” v.27 that Judas is able to leave.
Judas’ betrayal doesn’t derail the mission of Jesus.
In fact, Jesus is sovereign over the events of his life.
He isn’t surprised or in shock at what is going to happen.
He knows.
He knows that this is the reason he came to earth. He came to die.
What Satan thought he was accomplishing was only possible b/c Jesus gave his permission.
This is the God we serve.
He is never surprised.
He is never overwhelmed.
He is never caught off guard.
He is in complete control.
He knows the circumstance of his life and the events that lay ahead of him.
And guess what, he knows the circumstances of your life.
He knows what lies ahead for you too.
And he is there to extend kindness, love, and grace to you in the midst of your trial.
In the midst of your difficulty.
In the darkest of nights, Jesus still loves you, cares about you, and will see you through.
This is a dark night for Jesus and for his followers.
Judas gets up and leaves the table.
He leaves dinner and the other disciples are confused by what is going on.
Obviously they didn’t hear what Jesus told John or they would have known that Judas was the one that would betray Jesus.
They simply thought Judas was going to go buy something for the feast or give some money to the poor.
But he was going to change their lives forever.
He had evil intentions.
He had a wicked heart.
And John helps us to understand that by telling us that “it was night”.
Darkness and night in John’s gospel always represent evil and sin.
He isn’t simply telling us that it’s night time.
He is telling us that something evil is at hand.
He is preparing us to see the wickedness that lies ahead.
He is revealing to us the darkness in Judas’ heart.
But Jesus doesn’t have time to waste.
He needs to prepare his disciples for what’s coming.
So after Judas leaves, Jesus begins to teach his followers.
John 13:31–35 CSB
31 When he had left, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man is glorified, and God is glorified in him. 32 If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once. 33 Little children, I am with you a little while longer. You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so now I tell you, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come.’ 34 “I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you are also to love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
Glory and Love
Jesus leads into a teaching about the glory of God.
We’ve spent some extensive time talking about the glory of God before, but what I want you to notice is that God is going to be glorified through the sacrifice of the Son.
That God the Father, and Jesus the Son are going to share glory through Jesus’ sacrifice.
Again all this glory is going to be through the cross.
Through his death.
It is through Suffering that Jesus is glorified.
it is also through Jesus’ suffering that God is glorified.
Jesus then tells his disciples that he’s about to leave.
He calls them little children.
Not to demean them or to belittle them.
He calls them little children as an act of love and compassion.
Jesus feels deeply for his disciples.
Jesus loves deeply for those he calls his own.
And he wants the disciples to understand that love.
So he speaks to them in a fatherly way.
He is about to leave and go somewhere. His friends and followers can’t go with him.
He is repeating what he told the Jewish Leaders in Chapter 8.
And since they can’t go with him.
He is going to provide them with instructions for when he leaves.
Jn 13:34-35 “34 “I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you are also to love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.””
Things are about to get difficult for those who love Jesus, and what does he tell them.
Love one another.
Continue in the love you have recieved.
Love one another as Jesus has loved them.
One of the things that Jesus is doing here is creating a new community founded on the rule of Love.
The boundaries by which the followers of Jesus will be known is through their love for one another.
They are to abound in love.
They are to demonstrate love.
Especially to one another.
They are to love one another b/c they have been loved by the Father.
John even repeats this teaching in one of his letters to the church.
1 jn 3:11 “11 For this is the message you have heard from the beginning: We should love one another,”
What does Jesus mean when he tells us to love one another?
He means that we should be willing to lay our lives down for the benefit of someone else.
That we are to live lives of self-sacrifice for the benefit of others.
How many Christians do you know that actually demonstrate this type of love.
How many congregations are marked by their love for one another?
Loving someone is difficult.
There are those even in our churches that can at times be difficult to love.
But Jesus doesn’t give a caveat when it comes to love.
He says the command he gives is for us to love one another.
It’s not a suggestion.
It’s not a request.
It’s not a proposal.
It’s a command.
Those who follow Jesus are to be marked by a love for one another.
When we lose our perspective on loving one another, then we lose our purpose.
Think about it this way:
Those outside of our church should look at the way we love one another and Know that we love Jesus.
But many of our churches are full of angry people.
Full of people who’s number one concern is love for a brother or sister, rather they are concerned with their own comfort.
They are concerned with the style of music we sing.
They are concerned with the color of carpet.
They are so focused on the minor things b/c they have lost the love for one another.
If we know someone sick or hurting in our congregation we should be the first to bend over backwards to make sure they know that they are loved by us.
B/c that’s what Jesus did for us.
He wants us to love one another with the same love that he loved us with.
Not Selfishness.
And here’s a warning for those that don’t love one another.
If you don’t love one another, you probably don’t belong to Jesus.
or at the very least you have taken your eyes off of him.
HE has commanded that we love one another.
So how are you doing?
Do you have hatred in your heart for a fellow believer?
Do you hold onto bitterness or un-forgiveness?
Are you willing to sacrifice for your brother or sister in Jesus?
Think about that.
So Jesus has given his first command, but Peter is caught up on his leaving.
So he asks him a question.
John 13:36–38 CSB
36 “Lord,” Simon Peter said to him, “where are you going?” Jesus answered, “Where I am going you cannot follow me now, but you will follow later.” 37 “Lord,” Peter asked, “why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.” 38 Jesus replied, “Will you lay down your life for me? Truly I tell you, a rooster will not crow until you have denied me three times.

Only One Can Go

Peter is being bold here.
He wants to know where Jesus is going.
Why is he spending all this time getting them ready for his departure.
And Peter is dead set on following Jesus.
He wants to lay down his life for Jesus.
He wants to fight beside Jesus.
He wants to go where Jesus is going.
But Jesus tells him that Peter can’t Go where Jesus is going.
Only Jesus can go to the cross to accomplish what needs to be done.
Only Jesus can be the sacrifice for sin.
Only Jesus can lay down his life and take it back up again.
No matter how ready Peter thought he was, he could never be the one to save the world through his death.
This is a sober reminder for all of us.
No matter how good you are.
No matter how many rules you follow.
No matter how often you attend church or give money to charity.
You can not save yourself.
Only Jesus can.
Only Jesus is the perfect sacrifice for your sins.
You can never be good enough to make yourself right with God.
No matter how prepared or ready you think you are you will always fall short.
Jesus knows that.
That’s why he came.
To provide a way for you to be saved.
Peter is so gungho about his zeal for Jesus that he won’t take no for an answer.
So Jesus tells him, that Peter is going to deny Jesus.
That there will be a time where things are going to get hard that the zeal and fervor that Peter has will be stripped away.
And he will deny Jesus not once, not twice, but three times.
So where are you this morning with Jesus?
Do you trust and believe him or do you deny him?
Have you submitted to his authority and grace?
Or are you still living in rebellion against him?
He wants to know you.
He wants you to love him.
Give your life to him and experience his goodness and grace.
Let’s Pray.
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