AGAPE LOVE IS THE CHRISTIAN STANDARD FOR DISCIPLESHIP LOYALTY AND THE REVEALING BENCHMARK FOR FAITHLESS BETRAYAL
What is the greatest commandment?
– Love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind and strength
– Love your neighbor as yourself
Love vs. Selfishness is a good test of Loyalty vs. Betrayal.
I. (:18-20) BECAUSE OF ELECTION, CHRIST CAN ACCURATELY PROPHESY BETRAYAL VS LOYALTY
A. (:18a) Election Is a Done Deal
“I do not speak of all of you. I know the ones I have chosen.”
B. (:18b) Betrayal by a Close Companion Fulfills OT Prophecy
“but it is that the Scripture may be fulfilled, ‘He who eats My bread has lifted up the heel against Me.’”
Stedman: But the psalm said that the act of treason would be a heartless, reprehensible thing, done in the face of the friendship that was offered him, like a heel lifted up to kick someone in the face. Our Lord says the event will be certain and it will be literal.
C. (:19) Prophecy Validates the Identity of Christ
“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.”
Deffinbaugh: Jesus is not telling His disciples these things so that they will understand Him and believe what He has said at that very moment. He tells them these things which will occur in the future so that they will believe when these prophecies are fulfilled. Then His disciples will know that Jesus was in full control, bringing about that which the Father had purposed in eternity past. In His earthly sojourn, Jesus was always in control. He was never, a helpless victim.
D. (:20) Loyalty Cements Our Relationship with Christ and with the Father
“Truly, truly, I say to you, ‘he who receives whomever I send receives Me; and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me.’”
II. (:21-30) CHRIST ORCHESTRATES HIS OWN BETRAYAL ACCORDING TO THE FATHER’S TIMETABLE
A. (:21a) The Pain of Betrayal – Not a pleasant subject
“When Jesus had said this, He became troubled in spirit,” (cf. 11:33; 12:27)
2 Possibilities (or a combination):
– Pain because betrayal cut Him right to the heart
– Pain because of His compassion for Judas – that he would so tragically miss out on God’s available blessing
B. (:21b) The Prophecy of Betrayal
“and testified, and said, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, that one of you will betray Me.’”
Very specific prophecy since we are only dealing with the 12 disciples
C. (:22) The Perplexity of Betrayal – How could any of us be a traitor?
“The disciples began looking at one another, at a loss to know of which one He was speaking.”
D. (:23-26) The Pinpointing of Betrayal – Who is it?
– cf. game: Pin the tail on the donkey
– cf. police lineup where the accuser picks out the bad guy
1. (:23-25) John Appointed to Ask the Tough Question
“Lord, who is it?”
2. (:26) Judas Identified
“Jesus therefore 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.”
C. (:27-30) The Process of Betrayal – 4 different people involved (or groups of people)
1. (:27a) Activated by Satan
“And after the morsel, Satan then entered into him.”
2. (:27b) Accelerated by Christ
“Jesus therefore said to him, ‘What you do, do quickly.’”
3. (:28-29) Assumed Loyal by the Other Disciples
“Now no one of those reclining at the table knew for what purpose He had said this to him. For 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.”
They had no clue about his evil, selfish heart and how he had been stealing from the money box all along. They continued to trust him.
Deffinbaugh: And yet Judas seems to be the last one any of the disciples would have suspected of being the betrayer of whom our Lord was speaking. He seems to have been seated in the place of honor at the Last Supper, beside our Lord. He was the one entrusted with the money that was given to our Lord (John 12:6). Even when Jesus indicated that Judas was His betrayer by giving him the bread, the disciples still did not recognize him for who he really was. In this sense, I think, Judas was just like his “real father,” the devil: 2 Cor. 11:13-15.
4. (:30) Acted on by Judas
“And so after receiving the morsel he went out immediately; and it was night.”
Ryrie: The “hour” for which Christ, the light of the world, had been waiting, when the powers of darkness would engulf Him, begins in darkness.
III. (:31-35) CHRIST’S DEPARTURE MAKES AGAPE LOVE FOR THE BRETHREN ESSENTIAL (AS THE CHRISTIAN STANDARD FOR DISCIPLESHIP LOYALTY)
A. (:31-32) Departure Involves Immediate Glory for God the Son and God the Father
“When therefore he had gone out, Jesus said,”
1. Son of Man Glorified in Dying on the Cross
“Now is the Son of Man glorified,”
2. God Glorified in Jesus Dying on the Cross
“and God is glorified in Him;”
3. God will Glorify Jesus in Resurrection and Ascension
“ if God is glorified in Him, God will also glorify Him in Himself, and will glorify Him immediately”
Stedman: This is the secret of glory, the principle by which we achieve glory. Glory is the recognition of who you really are. This is something we all long for. We are all striving for glory. We want to be recognized; we want people to know us. We long to be seen, to become the center of attention. We all want people to think highly of us. This is what Jesus is talking about. The secret of attaining this, he says, is to give yourself up, to lose yourself. He is looking ahead to the cross. The cross became a certainty the minute Judas left the room, and Jesus says, “Now [in view of this cross] is the Son of man glorified…”
B. (:33) Departure Involves Temporary Physical Separation
“Little children, I am with you a little while longer. You shall seek Me; and as I said to the Jews, I now say to you also, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come.’”
C. (:34-35) Departure Involves a New Emphasis on Agape Love for the Brethren
1. (:34) The Command Calls for a New Christlike Standard for Love
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.”
2. (:35) The Evangelistic Impact on the World
“By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
David Keithley: We must keep in mind that what the world needs most of all is not new government leaders, or educational reform, or more legislative initiatives. The world is not desperate for more prisons or fewer bombs. It is not dying for lack of better programs or slicker church services. What the world needs most is to be able to SEE THE DIFFERENCE CHRIST CAN MAKE. They need to see Christ’s transformation demonstrated in the people of God.
3. The Implied Demonstration of Loyalty to Christ Himself
Once you can no longer see Christ physically, demonstrations of love to the brethren will be a concrete way of expressing love and loyalty to Christ Himself.
IV. (:36-38) LOYALTY TO CHRIST MUST MATURE BEYOND THE EMOTION OF UNTESTED COMMITMENT AND THE DESPAIR OF AGONIZING FAILURES
A. (:36-37) Untested Commitment
“Simon Peter said to Him, ‘Lord, where are You going?’ Jesus answered, ‘Where I go, you cannot follow Me now; but you shall follow later.’ Peter said to Him, ‘Lord, why can I not follow You right now? I will lay down my life for You.’”
Stedman: Peter was perfectly sincere when he said these words. He was thoroughly committed to Christ and his cause. He felt right down to his toes that he would lay down his life for his Lord. His loyalty mounts to the fore here, and he declares he is quite willing to die for him. Jesus knows he means it, but he also knows that it is a totally unreliable commitment. He knows that it comes from purely natural affection, and natural affection is never strong enough to handle the demands against love in this life. . .
We must learn that our zeal for Christ will not do what he wants done. We have to learn through failure, hurt, and rejection, to glory in his love for us — not our love for him — then our own hearts will begin to burn with his same love.
B. (:38) Agonizing Failures
“Jesus answered, ‘Will you lay down your life for Me? Truly, truly, I say to you, a cock shall not crow, until you deny Me three times.’”
Deffinbaugh: I cannot miss the fact that John has placed two men in close proximity to each other in John chapter 13: Judas and Peter. Judas was an unbeliever, who betrayed the Lord of Glory. Peter was a believer, who denied His Lord. What is the difference between the two? All the difference in the world. In some ways, Judas looks like “Mr. Perfect” in the New Testament—up till the time that he betrays our Lord. But over and over again in the Gospels, Peter seems to be messing up, doing or saying the wrong thing (even as he initially refuses to let Jesus wash his feet in our text). But while Peter often sinned, each occasion of sin was for him a point of repentance and return. How quickly Peter repents of his foolishness in chapter 13. It is true that Peter failed many times, just as we do, but each failure was a point of return. For Judas, his apparent failures seem to be few, but in spite of all the opportunities he was given to repent and turn to the Lord, he never did. Far better to fail often and return to the Lord, than to appear to do well, and never turn to Him at all. What a difference there is between Peter, whose sins were a “point of return,” and this final sin of Judas, which was his “point of no return.”