Staying Close to Christ, Part VI John 13:16-30
We have been given in this John 13 passage a revelation of the relationship we are to have with our brothers and sisters in Christ.
Not only are we to be servants to those without we are to be servants to those within.
And our Lord, by this demonstration, gives us command to participate in the cleanliness of our brothers and sisters in Christ by the washing of the water of God’s Word.
This is a two person effort, a willingness on our part to serve and a willingness on our brother or sister’s part to yield to this washing by the water of the Word.
I hope you have come to church and Sunday school today as a yielded brother or sister to gladly receive the washing of the water of God’s Word.
So Jesus advances this instruction in John 13:16, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.
Here is a point of departure from the act of foot washing where Jesus brings the disciples to a principle of service.
He again uses the couplet, “Verily, verily” to announce an earnest and solemn declaration.
We would say the words in an authoritative manner, “Now listen up.”
The military would use the word, Attention!
The Judge would say, “Order in the court.”
So Jesus Christ speaks in a way designed to engage their minds in the subject of humility.
For they are to think, if a master condescends to perform such a low duty as washing the feet of another, perhaps one who is even lower in class, much more should a follower willingly do such a thing.
For He emphasizes again a servant is not greater than His Lord.
So Christ reminds them of their place as his servants.
Servants are not greater than their Master, and what was consistent with His dignity was much more consistent with theirs.
Jesus by this act disposes of manmade dignity which in many cases is simply pride.
The phrase, “I have my dignity” so many times is used to avoid distasteful servant-like duties.
Just think seriously of the condescension of Jesus Christ when He came to the Earth to bring us favor with God and this should move us to gladly condescend in conformity to Him.
Our Lord Jesus Christ, by humbling himself, time after time while on the Earth, has dignified humility, and has brought it to a position of honor.
For humility will earn the greatest of rewards, the hearing from our Lord’s lips, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant!”
As we have said being a servant is the highest position in God’s kingdom.
Being born into the family of God means being born into God’s order of things and that order is an order of service.
We are to know our place in things for the servant is not greater than his Lord.
Neither is the messenger greater than the one who sent the messenger.
And Jesus quickly tells them in John 13:17, If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.
Christ desires to have happy children and by this simple sentence Jesus Christ gives us an important principle of Christian living.
It is not enough to hear, to understand, to approve what is right; one must do what one hears, to be happy.
Knowing the will of God is not enough, it is the doing of the will of God where happiness will be found.
Remember our Lord’s words of Matthew 7:21, Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
And James who said, Be ye doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
“Hearers only” think that all is right with themselves before God but God tells us they are deceived for unless you are a doer of the word you are not right with God.
Now Jesus Christ begins the solemn pronouncement of John 13:18,19, I speak not of you all: I know whom I have chosen: but that the scripture may be fulfilled, He that eateth bread with me hath lifted up his heel against me. Now I tell you before it come, that, when it is come to pass, ye may believe that I am he.
I speak not of you all excludes one of the twelve.
This lesson in fellowship does not apply to Judas.
You say Lord, Lord but it is only words for you do not do the will of my Father.
But you will do what you will do that the scripture may be fulfilled.
You do your own will, but my Father will use your will to fulfill his will.
Judas, you are the one that will fulfill the scripture of:
Psalm 41:9, Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me.
Disciples! I tell you before it come in order to help you believe that I am he.
I tell you because what will shortly come to pass will stagger your faith.
You will remember what I have told you and you will believe who I am.
The apostasy of Judas, one of you, will astound you and may cause you to stumble but I tell you ahead of the event in order to steady your faith.
In spite of His announcement that one of them shall betray him Jesus Christ encourages the disciples in:
John 13:20,21, Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that receiveth whomsoever I send receiveth me; and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me. When Jesus had thus said, he was troubled in spirit, and testified, and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me.
What a wonderful promise he gives to those who are sent!
In this one verse he connects those whom he sends, to himself and also to the father.
He bolsters the disciples in this hour of betrayal by telling them that they represent the ultimate kingdom.
He reminds them that those whom he sends are ambassadors of the God of Heaven, the one who sent him.
Those who receive his sent ones are not only receiving them but they are receiving Christ and his Father.
What a reminder to us to be careful in our reception of God's servants.
Because when we receive God's servants or reject God's servants we are receiving Christ and God or rejecting Christ and God.
He is also saying in these words of encouragement:
Disciples, do not concern yourselves with a traitor amongst you, because my kingdom is assured.
Those whom I send will be successful because they are sent by the same one who sent me.
The efforts of a traitor under the control of his father, the devil will not prevail.
Be not downhearted, disciples and look not on the actions of men, remember who you represent!
This is that message that Christ leaves for all of his disciples. Remember who you serve!
John 13:22, Then the disciples looked one on another, doubting of whom he spake.
Confusion dominated the table.
The testimony of Judas was such that no one suspected him to be the betrayer for he was the trusted treasurer.
Every day that Judas attended to the bag and to the duties of the treasurer Jesus had treated him as a friend and a faithful follower.
Jesus Christ bore with patience the traitor in his midst for he had not exhibited anything against him that revealed to the disciples what Judas was.
John 13:23-26, Now there was leaning on Jesus' bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved. Simon Peter therefore beckoned to him, that he should ask who it should be of whom he spake. He then lying on Jesus' breast saith unto him, Lord, who is it? Jesus answered, He it is, to whom I shall give a sop, when I have dipped it. And when he had dipped the sop, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon.
This is the first of five occasions where John refers to the disciple "whom Jesus loved."
He refers to he "whom Jesus loved" here in the upper room, at the cross of Jesus, at the empty tomb, and at the lake of Tiberias.
This is the same disciple referred to in John 21:24, which says:
This is the disciple which testifieth of these things, and wrote these things: and we know that his testimony is true.
Whom Jesus loved, is John, the writer of this Gospel.
This spiritual closeness to the Lord was expressed physically by John who reclined next to Christ at supper, most likely on his left side leaving his right arm and hands free for eating.
To make room for the twelve around a common table each would perhaps lean near or touch the man to his left.
Christ on John's left and John on Christ's right with John leaning on Christ's bosom.
Then the disciples looked one on another, doubting of whom he spake.
Simon Peter therefore beckoned to him, that he should ask who it should be of whom he spake.
The word beckoned is from a Greek word meaning to nod or signal.
Since Peter did not speak it appears he was some distance away and other disciples were between him and John.
So he motioned or signaled John to find of whom the Lord was speaking.
So John, because of his physical closeness to Jesus Christ, leaned back on Christ's breast and whispered in his ear, Lord, who is it?
Jesus answered, He it is, to whom I shall give a sop, when I have dipped it. And when he had dipped the sop, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon.
It is apparent from verse 28 that he spoke this privately to John and not to all the disciples.
So even at these last minutes of Christ's ministry to Judas he shows favor to him by giving him a piece of bread dipped in a tasty sauce, perhaps of dates, raisins, and sour wine.
A final act of kindness to the traitor before he gave himself to Satan.
A final act by Grace himself to appeal to the heart of Judas.
No doubt the disciples as they watched this scene, would not understand that this honor to Judas was Christ's way of appealing one last time to Judas and also pointing out the traitor to John.
Because of this act of kindness they probably eliminated him from any consideration as the betrayer of Jesus Christ.
But instead of being drawn to Christ it cemented his resolve against Christ.
Perhaps by this act he became convinced that Jesus did not know he was the betrayer.
Perhaps Judas thought, "Why would he honor me if he knew my heart?
If he were the Messiah he would not honor me. He must be a fake.
John 13:27, And after the sop Satan entered into him. Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly.
Judas had now prepared himself for Satan for he has totally rejected the Savior’s appeal.
At this point God allows Satan to enter into Judas because Judas has given himself to be the willing instrument of Satan and he is now possessed by the evil one.
By his will he has given himself over to Satan.
So instead of looking into the eyes of Judas, Jesus now looks into the eyes of Satan and says to Satan:
That thou doest, do quickly.
Judas you are no longer savable.
You are no longer one of the twelve, you are dismissed, you are a reprobate.
Your heart demands to show itself, I allow you the opportunity.
Your evil is of such intensity that you must express it in outward acts.
As you are now fully determined to do evil then go and do it quickly.
Go on and do it; there need be no delay; it needs to be done this very night and I am ready for it all for my hour has come.
That thou doest, do quickly.
John 13:28, Now no man at the table knew for what intent he spake this unto him.
Jesus had said to all in the group, one of you shall betray me.
By his giving the sop to Judas he identified the traitor but only to John.
This was private communication as shown by Peter's motioning to John to find out who Jesus meant.
Jesus now tells Judas to do something quickly.
Another gift to Judas by Jesus Christ.
Staying around disciples who soon would know who the betrayer was would not be a comfortable place to be.
Jesus also had no desire to give the disciples opportunity to interfere with the mission of Judas.
The disciples all heard "That thou doest, do quickly" but no one of them, not even John knew what this meant.
Only Jesus and Judas knew what was to come.
None of the disciples could have imagined how fast events would occur concerning the errand that Judas was now embarked upon.
John 13:29-30, For some of them thought, because Judas had the bag, that Jesus had said unto him, Buy those things that we have need of against the feast; or, that he should give something to the poor. He then having received the sop went immediately out: and it was night.
John records that it was night.
A perfect time for Judas to carry out his evil deed for men love darkness so evil deeds can be done outside the light.
Judas spurns the light and walks out of the comfort of fellowship with Jesus Christ and his disciples.
He had walked with this little band for three years keeping the bag as the treasurer.
The disciples assumed he was about his duties, perhaps to buy supplies for the feast or as an offering for the feast giving alms to the poor.
But Judas was not about to follow light.
He was about to go into outer darkness, for when light is rejected only darkness is left.
There are no other options.
So like Cain he went out from the presence of the Lord.
Like Balaam he loved the wages of unrighteousness, and he went to betray his familiar friend.