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Weekly Word

Entries in Betrayal (2)

Tuesday
Mar082016

Betrayed!

Luke 22:47-53.  This sermon was preached by Pastor Marty Bonner on March 6, 2016.

There are many stories of betrayal throughout history:  Satan and God, Absalom and David, Brutus and Julius Caesar, and of course our topic of today, Judas and Jesus.  What is unique about the betrayal of Jesus is that he knew it was going to happen and allowed it to happen anyway.  We should never think that this means it didn’t bother Jesus.  Rather, we see Jesus as a man who feels deeply and yet submits those feelings to a specific plan. 

Such betrayals can paralyze even the best of people.   It can be hard to keep focused and continue forward in life, or to even have the “want to.”  Today the most common betrayal is that which happens in the marriage relationship.  Every year in America hundreds of thousands of marriages end in divorce.  Whether that comes from full blown betrayal through adultery or a softer betrayal in which one simply quits working on the relationship, betrayal is something that we can all relate to.   In our times of pain, sorrow, and paralysis, we must recognize that Jesus knows what it means to be betrayed and he offers us a way through it.

Jesus Is Betrayed And Arrested

By definition, betrayal comes from people who are close enough to us to do so.  In the life of Jesus, there were twelve men that he drew into his daily life.  Yes, multitudes were disciples of Jesus, but only the twelve lived with him and received special instruction.  Judas was hand-picked by Jesus to be one of these twelve.  Another aspect of this closeness is that Judas was given the further responsibility of taking care of the group’s money.  Though Jesus knew Judas would betray him, he still offered him a place that was close to his heart and critical to the operation of his ministry.

Sometimes we can act like it was easier for Jesus since he was God.  However, it would actually make it worse.  Jesus demonstrated nothing but love for Judas and yet he would be stabbed in the back.  We might think of this further in regard to the human race.  We often focus on our own pain and suffering and judge God for allowing it to happen.  And yet, we rarely think about the pain and suffering we have caused Him.  He has loved us and given us a critical place in His plan for all of creation.  Yet, we have continually rebelled and gone after other “lovers.”  If you understand anything about God, understand this: God loves mankind even though we have betrayed Him and He will continue to demonstrate His love towards us to the very end.  In fact, this is true for you as an individual as well.  God loves you and will not stop loving you until the day you release your final breath.

To add insult to injury, Judas betrays Jesus with a kiss.  Now for Judas this is a simple and practical way to signal the soldiers who to arrest.  In the darkness of the garden it would be easy for Jesus to escape.  Yet, there is an immense irony to his choice of signal.  The kiss of Judas represents the insincere kisses of those who care only for themselves.  They say they love you, but in truth they are only interested in pleasing themselves.  Jesus sincerely offers Judas a different way, and yet the insincerity of Judas leads him to destruction. 

When we throw in league with the Devil, things that ought to be sacred are sacrificed to the ambitions that one serves.  Spouses, children, parents, and others are all used and abused in order to obtain what we want.  Even though such things should not be done, the betrayer doesn’t seem to care.

In the midst of the arrest Peter takes out his sword and, in trying to defend Jesus, cuts an ear off of one of the men there.  Jesus quickly lets Peter know that this is the wrong way.  God is not going to redeem mankind by raising up an army of believers who will slay the enemy.  In fact, our spiritual enemies cannot be touched by such weapons.  Mankind would not be redeemed by the sword, but by the love of God.  Jesus says, “Permit even this.”  There is a part of all of us that balks at following Jesus.  Peter had been challenged to accept certain things in order to continue with Jesus.  Yet, now things were out of hand.  Peter cannot understand the insistence of Jesus on being betrayed and put to death.  Is there a limit to the things that we will accept and endure in order to follow Jesus?  Be sure that this life will test you severely in this matter.  Peter needs to stand down because he is trying to thwart the very plan of God.  This is typical when we do what our flesh wants.  We might be trying to do a good thing, like standing for Jesus, but God is not always headed in the direction we want.  Surrendering to this is sometimes too much for people.  Perhaps Judas himself believed at the beginning.  But somewhere Jesus had crossed a line in which Judas could not permit himself to follow anymore.

It is amazing to see the grace of Jesus displayed to a man who is there to arrest him.  Jesus heals the ear of the man.  Thus he demonstrates that he truly is the Son of God in that his goodness was received by good and bad alike.  Remember the words of Matthew 5:45, “[God] makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”  Is it possible to follow such a way?  Can I refuse to pay back wrong for wrong and instead love people even to the point of death?  We should not call it the way of love.  For no man ever loved like this.  It is the way of Jesus and of the love of God.

Jesus Rebukes His Captors

In verses 52 and 53 we see that Jesus makes some statements to his captors.  First he points out that he had not presented himself in such a way that warranted an armed arrest.  There was no reason to believe that Jesus and his group would be violent.  Jesus was famous for his teachings that promoted turning the other cheek and not paying back wrong for wrong.  The show of force is ridiculous.  Why seize him while wielding swords and clubs?  This kind of militaristic over-kill is becoming of those who have thrown their lot in with the Devil and not with God.  They could have taken him at any time and yet they choose the middle of the night and violent means.

Jesus points out that this was their time and the time of the power of darkness.  The phrase “the power of darkness” is a clear reference to Satan.  Some examples of this can be found in Acts 26:18, “I will deliver you from the Jewish people, as well as from the Gentiles, to whom I now send you, to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God.”  Here Jesus explains to Paul that the world was stuck in the darkness of the power of Satan.  Also, in Colossians 1:13, Paul explains to believers, “He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love.”  The power of darkness is clearly the spiritual opposite of the Kingdom of Jesus.

Satan loves to operate through force, hiding, betrayal, and vulnerability.  Up to now, God has allowed him to have a certain time of power.  But it will not end well for Satan and those who join in league with him.  They will have their inheritance in the lake of fire, otherwise known as the second death.  Today we are choosing which side we are going to be on.  You are either putting your trust in God by faith in the way of Jesus, or you are siding with the power of darkness.  There is no other way.  Even if you find yourself having fallen away for a time, like Judas did, repent of your fear and doubt and turn back to Jesus.  The Devil loves to tempt you to fall into sin and then use that failure to cause you to despair all hope.  Even now, Jesus holds out his arms to you saying, “I have paid the price of your sin and will set you free from your guilt if you will only turn to me and believe.”  Let’s put our faith fully upon the one who not only knows what it is like to be betrayed, but also forgives us for our betrayals of him.

Betrayed Audio

Tuesday
Jan262016

The Betrayal of Jesus

Luke 22:1-13.  This sermon was preached by Pastor Marty Bonner on January 24, 2016.

Today we are going to return to our study through Luke of the True Jesus.  We left off at the beginning of Luke 22 and the last week of Jesus before his crucifixion.  Here we have a passage that begins to set up the betrayal of Jesus.

The Leaders Betrayed the Messiah

Although it is important to recognize the involvement of the Romans in the death of Jesus, it is the religious and political leaders of Israel that betrayed him.  Thus Jesus was betrayed by his own people.  This is not a statement against the Israeli people, but recognition of a horrible act.  Both Israelis and Gentiles are pronounced as sinners in need of salvation by the Law of Moses.  Just as the nations of the world had betrayed God by casting off the truth and embracing deceptions, so we see the nation of Israel officially betraying the messiah for whom they were waiting.  It should be no surprise to us today that these things are still true.  All nations insist that God bless their plans, but none have leadership that are totally submitted to God.

In verse 2 we are shown part of the source to their betrayal.  The leaders “feared the people.”  These leaders were playing politics.  They wanted to kill Jesus and yet his popularity made such a proposition particularly sensitive.  They wanted to figure out how they could get what they want and still have the people on their side.  This is at the heart of all wicked politics.  It is a manipulation that diminishes the people to being only a means to an end.  This is why ethics and morality are so important in our leaders.  If those who seek to be our leaders have betrayed people in their lives that they were supposed to love or were close to, then how much more will they betray the rest of the nation?  John 12:42 tells us that “even among the rulers many believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue.”  This fear of people exists not just towards the populace, but also within the group of leaders itself.  When we treat our decisions as a type of scientific endeavor to get what I want without upsetting the applecart, we set ourselves and our nation up for disaster.  It was fear of one another that kept many good men from speaking up.  Instead they went along with a horrible travesty of justice as the Lord Jesus was crucified.

They also feared losing the power and authority that they held over the people.  We see this in John 11:48, “If we let Him alone like this, everyone will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and nation.”  You should take notice which comes first, “our place,” and then “nation.”  When we operate out of a fear of people we allow ourselves to become a tool of Satan.  However, the answer is not simply to refrain from fearing people.  If we only quit fearing people then we can become a tyrant who does not care for them.  Rather, we are to fear God in our dealings with those under our leadership.  We operate for their good, but not at their whim.  It is the fear of God’s judgment of our leadership that is a guardrail to a leader.  Even better than that is to love God’s ways.  When a leader loves the ways of God, they will lay themselves and their designs down in order to better serve the people.

Now the leaders of Israel are a warning to us and a picture of what we are like.  This is not about an us versus them, Gentile versus Jew, issue.  All humans have the same sinful nature.  No matter how much knowledge of God we have or how little, we are still corruptible.  Yet, the good news is that we are also still redeemable.  Picture if Jesus were to come to America today as the savior of America and the world.  Would our leaders really lay down their positions at his feet and invite him to rule?  Hardly!  He would be attacked in the press and legal system until he was removed from the situation.  Christ is the supreme challenge from heaven to all men and all nations.  He is also the sublime offer of grace to them as well.

Judas Betrayed Jesus

Within the larger betrayal of the nation’s leaders, is the individual betrayal of one of the close disciples of Jesus.  Judas is one of the top 12 disciples and was clearly picked by Jesus.  Yet, we see in verse 3 that Satan was involved in what Judas did.  Judas was not the real enemy of Jesus.  It was Satan all along.  Satan was working through the mind and heart of Judas.  Judas had somehow become a puppet under the manipulation of a spiritual enemy.  How had this happened?

It says that Satan entered Judas.  This isn’t the normal language of demonic possession.  However, Judas had left the door open for Satan to enter his mind and heart.  It is questionable whether Judas ever had a moment of repentance and true desire to be a disciple of the way of Jesus.  Most likely he saw Jesus as a means of getting into a powerful position.  Much like investing in a new company brings the ability to strike it rich, so he most likely saw Jesus as an investment.  If I get in early then I will have a powerful position later.  We are also told that Judas was put in charge of the money bag and that he would often steal money from it.  Clearly this was told to them by Jesus later.  Giving in to such fleshly appetites as power and money will open the door for spiritual forces to manipulate us.  Ephesians 4:26-27 warns, “Be angry, and do not sin.  Do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil.”  Notice that anger and our giving in to sin can “give place” or open the door to the devil.  Some versions translate it as giving a foothold to the devil.  When we reject the way of Jesus and instead think and act in ways to satisfy what our flesh wants, we will end up becoming a tool of Satan.  Don’t give him any space or a foothold in your life.

It was Matthew Henry, a Presbyterian minister of the late 1600’s who said that “it is hard to say whether more mischief is done by the power and policy of open enemies, or by the treachery and self-seeking of pretended friends.”  Here we see both, open enemies and a pretended friend, colluding together in order to take down Jesus the messiah, all along professing a desire for the messiah to come.  This is critical to see.  We often crucify the real Jesus while professing to want Jesus.  That is because the Jesus we want is false, a figment of our imagination.  These same dynamics continue today.  There are those who parade themselves as disciples of Christ, but they are enemies of the cross.  They only serve an idol of their own making and slap a “Jesus” label on it.  It is only those who stick with the true Jesus who will come out the other side of such betrayals.

The Betrayed Jesus Is Still in Control

In the midst of all this betrayal Jesus is still in control.  Verses 7-13 show us that Jesus has a plan that is not afraid of such betrayals.  He lays out exact details for his disciples to follow in order to prepare for his last supper with them.  Notice the phrase that they found it “just as he had said to them.”  Everything was just as Jesus had told them.  Jesus didn’t give them instructions on snuffing out Judas, or going public about the collusion of the leaders.  Rather, Jesus has an agenda for His disciples that has nothing to do with these betrayers.  This is a real challenge for us today.

We should not be surprised that things are just as our Lord told us they would be.  Chapter 21 of Luke involved the prophecies of our Lord regarding what the Church would experience in the first century, the centuries since, and at His Second Coming.  He told us that we would be hated by ALL nations for His sake.  He told us that all of mankind would betray the Lord.  The leaders of the world are following the script of Psalm 2 as they betray the one to whom all leadership belongs.  All the while, many professing Christians have betrayed the Lord.  This is not a question.  What is a question is what will you do?  Will you join the betrayal?  Or, will you be doing what Jesus has told you to do?  The world today is under the influence of Satan.  He has manipulated leaders by fear of people and fear of one another.  Christians are under great stresses that are intended to open doors for the devil in our hearts and mind.  We can only stand against such attacks and keep from giving entrance to Satan by trusting our Lord and keeping focused on what He has told us to do.  Let us proclaim the good news of the Kingdom.  And, let us grow in learning to love one another with the true love that is submitted to the ways of Jesus, as opposed to the false love that is submitted to the ways of the world.  Take heart.  The Lord Jesus is in control.  Those who betray Him will end up with nothing and those who remain faithful to Him will be brought through the fire that lies ahead.

Betrayal of Jesus Audio