18 “I am not referring to all of you; I know those I have chosen. But this is to fulfill this passage of Scripture: ‘He who shared my bread has turned against me.’
19 “I am telling you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe that I am who I am. 20 Very truly I tell you, whoever accepts anyone I send accepts me; and whoever accepts me accepts the one who sent me.”
21 After he had said this, Jesus was troubled in spirit and testified, “Very truly I tell you, one of you is going to betray me.”
22 His disciples stared at one another, at a loss to know which of them he meant. 23 One of them, the disciple whom Jesus loved, was reclining next to him. 24 Simon Peter motioned to this disciple and said, “Ask him which one he means.”
25 Leaning back against Jesus, he asked him, “Lord, who is it?”
26 Jesus answered, “It is the one to whom I will give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.” Then, dipping the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. 27 As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him.
So Jesus told him, “What you are about to do, do quickly.” 28 But no one at the meal understood why Jesus said this to him. 29 Since Judas had charge of the money, some thought Jesus was telling him to buy what was needed for the festival, or to give something to the poor. 30 As soon as Judas had taken the bread, he went out. And it was night.
31 When he was gone, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man is glorified and God is glorified in him. 32 If God is glorified in him, God will glorify the Son in himself, and will glorify him at once.
33 “My children, I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now: Where I am going, you cannot come.
34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
36 Simon Peter asked him, “Lord, where are you going?”
Jesus replied, “Where I am going, you cannot follow now, but you will follow later.”
37 Peter asked, “Lord, why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.”38 Then Jesus answered, “Will you really lay down your life for me? Very truly I tell you, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times!
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL
VERSION ®. NIV®. COPYRIGHT © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by
Biblica, Inc.®. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
- How does this passage help you to better understand the power of sin?
- One thing to note here is sin’s elusiveness (it’s not always obvious). Explain what that means. Do you think that knowing sin’s ability to hide can be helpful? Explain.
- How does Peter demonstrate a confusion about what Christ is doing?
- Cory pointed out that some people call themselves “christians” but may be confused on what Christ has really done. How can we help people be confident in their understanding?
- How does this passage help us understand and appreciate the gospel?
- Why is love such an important aspect for the mission of making the glory of Christ known?
- What are some specific areas of your life that you struggle to apply Jesus’s “new commandment” to love others?
- What can you do this week to apply Jesus’s commandment to love one another?
Betrayed and Denied
*This transcript is generated from the sermon audio. This document has not been edited for spelling, grammar, or exactness.
All right. If you’re able to locate a Bible, we’re going to be in John chapter 13 this morning. In the Bibles that we have in the book racks in front of you, John 13 is on page 926. 926. We’ll also put the verses up on the screen behind me so you can track along that way. But I’m I’m going to read verses 18 to 38 and then we’ll pray we will get to work. This is John, chapter 13, starting in verse 18. This is Jesus speaking to his disciples. He says:
I am not referring to all of you. I know those I have chosen. But this is to fulfill the passage of Scripture. He who shared my bread has turned against me. I’m telling you now before it happens so that when it does happen you will believe that I am who I am. Very truly. I tell you, whoever accepts anyone I send accepts me. And whoever accepts me accepts the one who sent me. After he had said this, Jesus was troubled in spirit and testified very truly. I tell you, one of you is going to betray me. His disciples stared at one another, at a loss to know which of them he meant. One of them, the disciple whom Jesus loved was reclining next to him Simon. Peter motioned to this disciple and said ask him which one he means. Leaning back against Jesus, he asked him, Lord, who is it? Jesus answered, it is the one to whom I will give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish. Then, dipping the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him. So Jesus told him, what you are about to do, do quickly. But no one at the meal understood why Jesus said this to him. Since Judas had charge of the money, some thought Jesus was telling him to buy what was needed for the festival or to give something to the poor. As soon as Judas had taken the bread, he went out and it was night. When he was gone, Jesus said now the Son of man is glorified and God is glorified in him. If God is glorified in him, God will glorify the Son in himself and will glorify him at once. My children, I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for me. And just as I told the Jews so I tell you now where I am going, you cannot come. A new command I give you love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples if you love one another. Simon Peter asked him, Lord, where are you going? Jesus replied, Where I am going, you cannot follow now, but you will follow later. Peter asked, Lord, why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you. Then Jesus answered, will you really lay down your life for me? Very truly. I tell you, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.
Let’s pray. Lord, as we open Your Word, we’re praying that by Your Spirit, through Your Word, you would speak to us. We want to hear from you. And Lord, we’re praying that you would remake us in the likeness of Christ, help us to become more like Him. We pray in his name. Amen.
As a church, we’re looking at John, chapters 13 to 17. We’re titling the series final lessons. We’re looking at this section of Scripture where Jesus is aware that he’s about to leave. He’s about to depart. He knows that the hour for his departure has come, and so he is preparing his disciples for how to live in his absence. And these are the final lessons then. They’re spoken with a weight or gravity, knowing that this are his parting words to them. And he’s putting a particular emphasis on certain lessons. And so as a church, we want to sit up and we want to listen, and we want to pay attention to what the Lord has for us here. And so over several weeks, we’re looking at these final lessons of the Lord.
Well, here in our passage today, I want to show you four different things that we can glean from this section. They are rejection, confusion, conclusion, and mission. Rejection, confusion, conclusion, and mission.
First off, rejection. One of the things that we notice is that it is surprisingly possible for somebody to experience something of the glory of Christ and his ministry and reject Him. That’s Judas. We see Judas here experiencing the glory of Christ. He did life with Him for three years. He was one of the disciples. He had a VIP pass. He was able to do all these different things with the disciples. And nonetheless, at the end of this, we find him betraying the Lord. Meaning. Not only does he consider the Lord insignificant, he’s actually willing to sabotage the Lord for the sake of a small reward. And so we should learn that it is possible for some people to experience Christ and to reject Him, to experience his ministry and all that he has done and to turn away from Him. And so it teaches us a lesson about sin. It teaches us that sin is powerful and persistent and elusive. It’s powerful and persistent. This is a weirdly satisfying passage. And I learned this lesson from Timothy Keller. And having done student ministry and launched a satellite campus of our church, and the church then became autonomous. And all these different seasons, I’ve watched people step away from the faith. And it’s a very disheartening thing. It’s very, very hard as a spiritual leader to consider those things. And oftentimes you begin to kind of process it and you go, what could I have done? Differently, right? What could I have done to maybe prevent people from even considering those sorts of things? Could I have done a better job of leading small groups? I mean, maybe if they had a better small group they would feel more open to be honest about what’s going on. Or maybe it’s accountability. Maybe if they had accountability structures that prevented them from having opportunities to sin without somebody kind of checking them, then maybe they would not have done those different things. Or maybe if I were a better preacher and were more clear or more focused on application, then maybe these people would still be around and those sorts of things. And I’m not saying those questions are bad questions, but one of the things that’s oddly satisfying about this section, like Keller points out, is you can have the best experience and still turn away, right? He was a part of the disciples in the close inner circle of the Lord himself. He had the best small group leader, right? Like you’re not going to beat Jesus in terms of your skill or ability to lead a small group. He was the best small group leader. He was the most intentional discipler. He was able to help his followers learn lessons and then apply lessons. He would send them out and then they’d come back and he’d offer feedback and additional teaching. He was the best discipler. He’s the best accountability partner. You’re not going to get anything by him. He knows exactly what’s going on with you and has the best questions to draw those things out from you. He’s the best accountability partner. He’s the best preacher. He’s the best Judas, had the best church experience and still turned away and rejected the Lord. That’s how powerful sin is. You can be in the greatest church ever, with the greatest leaders ever, with the greatest group ever, and the greatest accountability partner ever. And sin is powerful enough that you could still be blinded to the glory of Christ and you could determine, he is not worthy of my allegiance and I will reject him. That’s how powerful this stuff is and we need to be aware of that because otherwise we will be very naive and very surprised by the way that sin wreaks such havoc. The second thing that we learn about sin is it’s elusive. It’s elusive, meaning it’s not always obvious. It’s a hidden thing sometimes. In fact, in one Timothy chapter five, verse 24, it tells us that some sins are obvious reaching the place of judgment ahead of them. Meaning you see it coming from a distance. You’re like, oh, this person is on their way. That’s going to be a problem because they’ve got all this mess going on with them. You see it from a mile away. But then it goes on to say the sins of others trail behind them meaning they’re not obvious. You won’t recognize it. You won’t even see it coming. It’ll come later and it’ll surprise you. There’s an elusiveness to sin. And we find that in the story here because we see that the disciples had no clue that one of them was a betrayer, and then they didn’t know who it was. So look at verse 22. Jesus having revealed one of you will betray me, they look at each other. Verse 22 his disciples stared at one another at a loss to know which of them he meant. Meaning he goes, One of you is going to betray me. And they don’t all do a side eye at Judas and go him, right? Like, we knew it. We knew that Judas, he’s a he, he’s a betrayer. He’s just got it in him. And there were all these clues along the way and we just knew. That guy’s trouble. No, they look around in bewilderment. That’s what’s going on there at a loss. They’re perplexed. Jesus says, One of you is going to betray me. And they’re like, who? Which of us would have the audacity to betray you? So they’re confused by it. It wasn’t obvious, wasn’t a plain thing for them. And then obviously there’s a little interpersonal interaction between Peter and John little, hey, ask him. We’re all thinking it. It’s killing us. Ask him who it is and he know which of us is it. And then Jesus reveals. He gives the indication it’s the one of whom I dip this bread in this bowl and I give it to. He does that act and he gives it to Judas. But isn’t it crazy that even after the reveal, there’s still confusion? He hands this bread to Judas and gives it to him and then sends him out? What you’re going to do, do quickly. But then look at verse 28 and 29. No one at the meal understood why Jesus said that to him. Meaning right over their heads, they’re like, we don’t even know what’s going on right now. What is he talking about? And in fact, some of them come to this conclusion. Look at verse 29. Since Judas had charge of the money, some thought Jesus was telling him to buy what was needed for the festival or to give something to the poor. Judas is the keeper of the purse, so ordinarily when Jesus had an assignment to go buy something or to go do the benevolence thing of giving money away to the poor, judas was the one who would get that assignment. So they’re kind of scratching their heads and they’re like, what is he talking about? What’s going on here? Why did he send him out? Is he on a special field trip? Is he buying us something for the festival? Is he giving money away? They don’t get it because it says here, everyone at the meal, no one at the meal understood why Jesus said this to him. Meaning they still don’t have a clue yet what Judas is doing. That’s how elusive sin is it has the ability to go under the radar. It has the ability to slip by even the most keen of senses. I remember when I was first starting in youth ministry, I had been doing it maybe a year at that point. And I got called into a meeting with elders and the lead pastor and the executive pastor and my immediate boss, the family ministries director. And they sat me down and they said that an associate of mine had done something that would disqualify them from ministry. Trying to edit here so you guys don’t have to do a lot of work at home with the kids that are in here. But there was something that happened that was horrible and a sin had occurred. And I remember in that meeting, it’s the first time I’m hearing about it and I’d feel completely sideswiped by it. And I was asking, how did this happen? How did this happen? And not only was I frustrated by the circumstances and devastated by the reality of what I was being told, these were people that I loved, that I loved, that I worked closely with, that I was invested in, that I felt like I knew, that I trusted. These were people that I was deeply invested in. And so at a personal level, there was hurt there too. And then they asked me the question, did you know? Because obviously if I’m working with these individuals all the time and doing ministry together and all these different things, there’s a real legitimate question. Are there things that you didn’t tell us that would have been helpful for us? Did you know? And my answer was, I did not have a clue. And even this week, as I went back 15 years and I’m trying to think through that season and evaluate it, were there clues along the way? Were there things that I should have been aware of? And honestly, even as I replay it now, 15 years later and go back through all the different conversations and all the different details, there were a couple of little flirtatious instances that I was aware of that I didn’t say anything about, that I regret now deeply. But there was not these huge patterns or these obvious things. And here’s why I tell this story. Sin is elusive. It’s not always obvious. And if you think that by being in a church or being in a Christian environment that you don’t have to worry about this thing, you’re a fool. In fact, this has taught me at least one thing. It teaches me that I believe that sin is powerful enough that it doesn’t even surprise me anymore, where it could show up. It can show up at the highest levels of church leadership. It can show up in the people that you would consider to be the most mature followers of Christ. It can show up in these different places. So that lesson is really important because otherwise you’re naive. You walk around assuming there’s no sin around here, and now I’m wise enough to look at you all sideways like, I don’t know, there might be stuff I’m not aware of that we need to be aware that sin is incredibly powerful, that it is incredibly persistent, and that it is elusive. That’s what we’re being told here. Mickey Clink, a friend of mine, he’s actually the pastor at Hope Church in Roscoe here. Before he was called to Pastor Hope Evangelical Free Church, he taught theology and his specialty was John. And so he wrote this commentary on the Book of John. It’s one of my favorite commentaries, but he puts it like this. He says, Judas must not be viewed as an isolated example, but as a common experience in the church. He’s not just some random, one-off circumstance that occurred in the situation with the disciples. He’s an insider that experienced something of the ministry of Christ and turned away. And that pattern persists. And it is even true today that people can experience something of the Lord and reject him. Well, there are a couple things in here that comfort me. I’ll share both of them with you, even. Still, even though that’s a possibility, that there are people who can reject the Lord having experienced his ministry. There are two things here that I take comfort in, and it’s the fact that Jesus is emotionally aware of these things, and he’s also in control. He’s emotionally aware of these things. He’s not standing back aloof, like, shrugging his shoulders like, well, this person, it is what it is. This person turned away from the Lord. Whatever. I knew that was coming. No, he’s not like that. He’s emotionally invested in these things. He responds appropriately to these situations because he feels it more than we even feel it. Look at verse 21. After he had said this, after he had indicated, one of you is going to betray me, jesus was troubled in his spirit and testified very truly. I tell you, one of you is going to betray me. He’s troubled in spirit as he’s saying, one of you is going to betray me. He’s feeling something. He’s not distancing himself from this situation. He’s actually feeling very deeply that betrayal, which is why it says he was troubled in spirit and testified saying these things. But this word troubled. The other place where it shows up, the most price significant place where it shows up in the Book of John is in John chapter eleven, where Jesus there is called troubled in his spirit. And in John chapter eleven, it’s the circumstance where a good buddy, Lazarus dies, and Jesus goes to visit Lazarus and his grieving sisters, Mary and Martha. And we’re told in John, chapter eleven, verse 33, that Jesus was deeply troubled in his spirit. And you might think that’s interesting because Jesus was going there. And though John had though Lazarus had died, jesus is about to bring him back from the dead. So you might think he should be like this guys, this is going to be great. But instead he’s troubled in his spirit. And you go, what’s the deal there? And the deal is Jesus is never standing away from rejection and suffering in a posture that is aloof or unconcerned. But we’re told repeatedly that he’s emotionally connected to these things and he’s troubled by them. So with the death of Lazarus and the mourning of the sisters and the weeping of everybody, Jesus too feels that and is troubled in his spirit. And as he looks at his disciples and he reveals that one of them will betray him, he too is troubled in his spirit. So Jesus is emotionally aware. And that helps us because when these things happen, just firsthand experience, it is traumatizing and it is hard and it is frustrating and it makes you question everything. But what you need to be comforted by is that Jesus is right there beside you and his heart is with you in it. But also you need to know this he’s in control. He says all these things will happen in fulfillment to Scripture. Verse 18, he’s quoting Psalm 41 and saying, a close friend, one that I share bread with, is going to turn away from me. Then he says verse 19, I’m telling you in advance, I’m telling you now before it happens, so that when it does happen, you will believe that I am who I am. So he’s aware. He’s fully aware and he recognizes that all this is happening under his control and his authority. That’s what verse three told us when we were in it last week. We found out that all power was his. He’s in complete control. He has authority over all these things happening. And then what we see then in verse 27, let’s look at it. It says, as soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered him. So Jesus told Him, what you are about to do, do quickly. And I love there were a couple of commentators that pointed this out. This wasn’t a suggestion, this was a command. In other words, Jesus is still very much in control. Martin Luther, one of the great reformers, he puts it like this even the devil is the Lord’s devil, meaning he is in control. Jesus is in control. This is not beyond the scope of his authority or his power. He’s aware of all that’s going to happen and he has a plan, as surprising as that may be. So the first thing that we find is this lesson about rejection, that there is an ability for people to experience the glory of Christ and even still to reject Him. We must be aware then of the power and the persistence and the elusiveness of sin, recognizing that it’s in here, it’s in here today. And we need to be careful because of how powerful it really is. And then we need to trust the Lord, recognizing that he is emotionally with us and he is in control.
Well, the second lesson that we find here is one of confusion. One of confusion. So while some people experience Christ and they reject Him, a lot of people experience Christ and they’re confused by Him. They don’t understand what he’s doing. And we already saw that with the confusion of the disciples not knowing who it was or what’s going on. But Peter is the example for us here. Peter is the one who is dealing with the Lord, and the Lord is talking to Him very directly and plainly. And Peter doesn’t get it. And that’s like many of us, even today. So the Lord is telling them, I’m going to depart. I’m leaving. Where I’m going, you cannot come. I’ve been teaching this all along. Verse 33 my children, I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for me. And just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now where I am going, you cannot come. I’m departing. I’ve got something that Jesus is saying that I uniquely have to do. And Peter says, Can I just get an address? Where are you going? Because I want to be there. Look at verse 36. Simon peter asked him, Lord, where are you going? In other words, he’s saying, if you would just tell me, I’ll be there too. Like, I don’t care if it’s a hike, I don’t care if it’s hard to get there or whatever the case might be. I’ll join you in this because I’m your guy and I want to be wherever you are. And so Jesus is speaking plainly to Him. But Jesus is talking about a spiritual reality. He’s not talking about a field trip. He’s not talking about a little jaunt that he’s about to take. He’s saying, I am going to go to Calvary and I’m going to die. I’m departing. And this is a place that you cannot come. And Peter says, Well, I want to. So tell me, how do I get there? And then he says in verse 36, Jesus replied, where I am going, you cannot follow now, but you will follow later. And he’s indicating, I’m going to go do something unique, something that no one else can do. Later on, you will experience something as well. You too will die, and you will follow me then later. But Peter, we love Peter because he’s a knucklehead like us. And he’s bold, right? He’s ignorant and bold, which is an interesting combination. So he says, Lord, why can’t I follow you now? I don’t know where you’re going, but I’m with you. And then he says, I will lay down my life for you. And it’s an interesting thing because it’s so ironic, Peter saying, I am so committed to you and so passionate about you, you can’t shake me. I’m going to be wherever you are. I will lay down my life for you. I’m very passionate because I love you and I want to be where you are, and I will do these things for you. And what’s ironic is Jesus is saying, I am going to calvary to die a sacrificial death. I am going to be the sacrifice of atonement that takes away the sin of the world. I’m going to do something that only Jesus can do. Peter doesn’t get it, so he says, I will die for you. And Jesus says, oh, really? Really? Is that how this is going to go down? He says verse 38, will you really lay down your life for me? And it’s ironic because he’s saying, you don’t have a clue, buddy. You’re not going to lay down your life for me. That’s what I’m doing. I’m laying down my life for you. In fact, he already introduced this idea a long time ago. In chapter ten, he said, I’m the good shepherd. Jesus said this, I’m the good shepherd. I lay down my life for my sheep. And now he’s coming to the fulfillment of his earthly ministry, and he’s saying, that’s what I’m going to do. Where I am going, you cannot come. I’m going to do this thing for you. And Peter says, no, I’m coming with you. I will die for you. And he says, really, bud? Well, tonight’s going to be a long night for you. Look at verse 38. Very truly, I tell you, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times. Not only are you not coming where I’m going, not only are you boasting in your commitment to me, you’re actually going to deny me. You’re actually going to turn away in my greatest moment of need. You will disown me three times before the alarm goes off in the morning. That’s how bad this night is going to be for you. And listen, the commentators say that shut him up. Like as somebody who’s always talking, we don’t hear from him again for many chapters before he starts talking again. See, he’s confused. The Lord is telling him, I’ve got something that I’m going to do. And it is very significant that I would do this. And it’s just going right over Peter’s head. And Peter’s going, But I love you, man, and I want to be where you are, and I’m passionate about you. So here’s the principle. Peter gets an ‘A’ for effort. He’s passionate. He’s got zeal. He’s like, I love the Lord. I’ll do whatever I need to do for him. He gets an ‘A’ for effort. He gets an ‘F’ for understanding the situation. He doesn’t get it. Now, the idea that people can experience Christ and be confused by him, it’s not unique to Peter. It’s still something that we deal with even today. And in fact, part of my ministry has been this. I feel the need to help people who are like Peter, and they’re close to the Lord, but they’ve never accepted Him as Savior. In fact, there are a lot of people who call themselves Christians that are not Christians because they don’t understand his atoning death for them. They don’t understand that he was going to lay down his life to make a way for us to be brought to salvation. And so they call themselves Christians because, well, mom and dad are Christians. And that’s my heritage. And I go to a church. I go to Park City Church. I know Corey, I volunteer on a ministry team. There are all these different things, but the Bible gives us a category of there are people who call themselves professors of Christ, people who call on Jesus, but they don’t actually know Him. Matthew, chapter seven. And there’s a day coming where they will know, I’m ready at the Day of Judgment. Bring me in, show me the rewards. And Jesus will say, I don’t know you. And they’ll go, Come again? Like, I did all these different things in your name. Like, I went to church, I gave money to the church, I went on a mission trip, I served on a team. I did all these different things. And the Lord will say, depart from me. I never knew you. My job, as I understand it, is to help people know where they’re at spiritually. And I’m willing to say to people, you should be confident that you are trusting in Christ for your salvation. Don’t let it be an assumed thing, but be confident that you are believing in Him for your salvation, because I don’t want to have this experience. And I’m sure you don’t want to have this experience where we get to the Day of Judgment, the judgment seat of Christ, and the Lord says to you, I don’t know you. And you’re like, what gives? And you look at me and you go, dude, did you know? Did you have any suspicion here? And there are going to be a lot of preachers, I think, who go, well, I was concerned, but I mean, I didn’t want to upset you. I didn’t want to offend you. I didn’t want to say anything that would kind of make you second guess your faith. I’m willing to say, you know what? Let’s be confident on this one. Let’s be absolutely sure that you are not confused by what Christ has done, but you are confident in his saving work for you. Let’s make sure that that is the case today. Listen, if that’s you, I really am inviting you to evaluate your life and make that amendment to be able to confess before the Lord. Maybe I know you, but I don’t know you like that. Maybe I know things about you and I’ve called myself a Christian all along, but maybe I’m not a Christian and I want to be one. So I’m placing my faith in you for salvation. Now, what I just described is incredibly. Rare. And it’s incredibly rare because first off, becoming a Christian is hard because you have to admit your need for a savior and people don’t like that, right? Where you have to be able to say, I can’t save myself, so I have to entrust my salvation to somebody else because salvation belongs to the Lord, not to me. But we all want to do our own salvation project and so we’re offended by that. So it’s hard enough just to become a Christian, but then the kind of people that I’m describing today, there’s another layer. Because now not only do you have to admit your need for a savior, you also have to admit that maybe you’ve been mistaken all along. And some of you are married in here. So we’ll just use this briefly. You know how rare it is in a marital conflict for somebody to admit fault, right, to be able to say, yeah, it was my fault, I did this one, or in a workplace, right? How rare is it for somebody to say, yeah, I really messed this one up. So for somebody to say, I’m coming before the Lord with honesty and I’m acknowledging that maybe my confession of faith was insincere. It is rare, but it is possible, the work of God. And I invite you to that if that’s you today. I’d love to chat with you after service today.
Here’s the other thing. When it comes to confusion, I actually think the American church today is very confused and there’s a spirit of Peter in our time. I’m just saying this about the American church – I can’t speak to the global church or any other place. But, what I have been trying to teach our congregation over all these years since we launched as a satellite campus, I’ve been trying to say we are moving to a post Christian arrangement. Meaning many of us are familiar with Christendom, which means we live in an environment, a kingdom [that is] primarily Christian, where people agree with what the Bible says and people embrace that and they’re happy about it. And even if you’re not actually a Christian, you’re pretty thrilled with the ideas that are presented here. But as I’ve been saying for years now, we are moving into a post Christian arrangement, meaning we don’t have home court advantage. People are not going to think what the Bible has to say is a good idea and people are not going to immediately assume that to be a Christian is a good thing. In fact, Christianity will be viewed with suspicion and Christian ideals will be treated as suspect. And what I’ve been trying to prepare us for, maybe not as well as I should have, what I’ve been trying to prepare us for is the difficulty that that will present to live in a post Christian environment means it’s going to be hard to be faithful. Now, the spirit of the age, the spirit of Peter, we want Christ without the cross. We’re like Peter right here going, I love you, man, and I’m going to be wherever you are. But I don’t want you to go do that humiliating stuff. I don’t want you to go and die on a Roman device of execution. I don’t want any of that. But I’m with you. In fact, I’m passionate about you, Lord, and many believers today have that about them. And we need to be willing to admit maybe we’re confused. We shouldn’t just be following the Lord without the way of the cross. He’s actually inviting us to embrace his plan. And it’s a beautiful plan, but more on that in the final point.
The third thing that we find here is a conclusion. We find the Lord telling us what’s to come. Verse 19 I’m telling you now before it happens, so that when it does happen, you will believe that I am who I am. What a fascinating thing for Him to say. He’s saying, I’m letting you guys know in advance so that you might come to this conclusion I am who I am. He’s actually borrowing the designation of the Old Testament for God so that you will know that I am who I am. And that’s a very purposeful thing for Him to do here. He’s giving indication of who he is and what he’s going to do. And he’s saying the reason why I’m doing this, so that when it does happen, you will believe. He’s telling us things so that our faith would be inspired by Him. He’s telling us so that we would place our faith in Him as the God man, as Jesus Christ, the Messiah. And he wants us to accept this beautiful message. Look at verse 20. Very truly, I tell you, whoever accepts anyone I send accepts me. Come back to that in just a moment. But he says, Whoever accepts me accepts the One who sent me, saying, if you accept Christ, if you accept Jesus, then you’re accepting God. You’re accepting the Father and all the promises that the Bible has been holding out all along. So he’s saying, I want you guys to be aware of what I’m doing because I want you to have faith in me that I am who I am, and I want you to accept me as the deliverer of the Good News of the Gospel and the promises of God. And then verses 31 and 32, after he sends Judas out, he says when he was gone, Jesus said, now the Son of man is glorified and God is glorified in him. If God is glorified in him, god will glorify the Son in Himself and will glorify him at once. Good grief. How much glory is there here? How many times do we have to say the word glory? He’s saying, there’s something that is happening right now. Jesus is describing to his friends. He’s saying, now the Son of man is glorified because he sent Judas out and everything from this point forward is the fulfillment of the promises of God. Jesus is saying it’s coming true. Glory is happening right now. The Son is being glorified in this work that he’s going to do. He’s describing this incredible thing, and it’s chronologically. It’s weird, right? He’s like, well, these things haven’t happened yet. You’re sitting at a supper, you’re sitting around a table and you’re saying glory is happening. But one of the commentators says a future event is transposed to the present. He’s looking at what he’s about to do, and he’s saying, it’s coming true, guys. It’s coming true. And this is the plan of God. It’s the beautiful reality of the Gospel that Jesus is going to go and suffer and die and rise again. It’s scooping up all of these things that are coming down the pipe the arrest, the execution, the death on the Roman crucifix, the burial in the garden tomb, the resurrection from that garden tomb, the ascension to glory. And the Lord is now speaking about that, and he’s saying it’s happening. This glory is happening right now. Now, the Son of man is glorified, and God is glorified in Him. But it is that way of the cross. That’s why last week we looked at Philippians, chapter two. We recognize that he did not consider equality with God something to be held on to. But he humbled Himself to the point of death on a cross and now is exalted to the right hand of God the Father, so that at the name of Jesus, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that he is Lord. But it’s a strategy that we all struggle with because it’s a strategy of humiliation. He’s being exalted. He’s going up, but he’s going the wrong direction. Why are you going down? He’s humbling Himself and serving and blessing and dying, only to rise again and be exalted to the right hand of the Father. But now he’s saying this is happening. And now we have categories to understand. The good news of the Gospel, the conclusion of God’s grand plan, the biggest story, like our kids are learning about the biggest story of God sending His Son to die for us. That is the good news of the Gospel, that we could be rescued through Him. But it’s even better than that. It’s not just that we’re rescued. We’re enlisted.
That’s our last point here the point of mission. The Lord invites us to join him in his mission. He invites us to join Him in his mission. He co-opts us into the assignment of making known the glory of Christ to the ends of the earth. Look at verse 20 again. It says very truly, I tell you, whoever accepts anyone I send accepts me. That’s wild. He’s taking ordinary bums like me and you. Some of you are bums also. And he’s saying, hey, guys, I want you on my team. He says, I’m going to send you out. And you are so authorized in my name that if people accept you, they’re accepting me. He says, I’m going to take ordinary believers and I’m going to co opt them into my mission. And now you guys are deputized to be the agents of grace in this broken world. Whoever accepts you, accepts me. He calls us to do this as a church. We embrace this high calling. We recognize we want to be a missionary church because that’s who the people of God ought to be, the missionary people of God. That God invites us into making known the glory of the sun. And so we love it when people show up here on a Sunday morning. That’s wonderful and we celebrate that. But then we send you out. And the sending out is super important because we say, just like the Lord was sent to us, so you also are sent. Whoever receives you receives the Lord. Jesus says, Whoever accepts anyone I send accepts me. So we want you to live missionally. And it’s a beautiful thing because that means Sunday mornings aren’t our limiting factor, right? Like, how can we get people here? How can we make sure it’s a comfortable environment for a lot of people? No, we say we’re going out, we’re leaving the building. We’re going to go all week long and be in different places and make known the glory of Christ. Because Jesus invites us to be his agents in this world. But he gives us a special resource here that we need to be incredibly mindful of. We will not do a good job unless we embrace this teaching. In verse 34, verse 34, he says a new command I give you love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another as I’m sending you out. You’re a part of my mission. You’re going to make known my glory. But be sure to underline this one. Here’s the command love each other. If you do this, you will help people understand the work of the cross. If you love one another, people will begin to see the beauty of what Christ has done in serving and blessing us and rescuing us. Says, as I have loved you, you need to love other people. You need to love one another. And then verse 35, by this, everyone will know that you are my disciples if you love one another. Because here’s evidence. In fact, Francis Schaefer calls it the apologetic of the Gospel. The apologetics is an argument. It’s like proving something to be plausible or real or accurate. And oftentimes we get really smart people and we go, can you please put together an apologetic argument for the existence of God? And that’s a good thing and that’s fine, but the Bible actually says no. The most persuasive argument that we have is not some big brain dude telling people about an airtight argument. The best argument that we have, the thing that makes the gospel the most plausible you, the relationships that we have, it’s the love that we share. He says if you love each other by that, people will know that you’re my disciples. You will take on the form of the footwashing servant, and people will see that, and they will conclude you’re with him. And not only will they determine that you’re with Him, they will be able to see the beauty of what he’s like. But we have to love each other, which is why around here we talk about the importance of a gospel culture. We don’t just want a good service. We actually want the relationships within the congregation to become so beautiful, so full of love, that people would look at your interaction with one another and they say things like this I would love to be a part of that. I would love to be in a place where people actually care for each other like they do. I actually believe that they’re onto something. I don’t know exactly what it is, but I want to be a part of that. Now, here’s my qualification. I know how far short we fall from this. I know that this is a hard thing to do. We’re very private people. I’m a very private person. I’d rather just kind of go home, close my moat, put my garage door down, hang out by myself with my favorite people, my family. But the Bible keeps pushing me out. Go hang with people and love them. And it matters because this is my mission. They need to know who Jesus is. So we need to love each other well, and that’ll help people come to saving faith in our Lord and Savior.
Let’s pray. Lord, we ask that you would help us to learn these lessons that you are teaching us with this farewell discourse, these final teachings that you gave to Your followers. We pray, Lord, that you would help us to be aware of the capacity for sin to ruin things, the ability for sin to be so powerful and so elusive that it surprises us. And people can reject even the King of Glory. So help us to be spiritually aware and working hard to help people overcome those things and the power of the Spirit. Lord, we pray, acknowledging the confusion that often surrounds so many people, the confusion of not really knowing what the Lord is up to. But, Lord, help us as a church family to follow you on the way of the cross, the willingness to be humiliated, to suffer, to die, but to do so loving and serving and blessing other people. Because you have loved and served and blessed us. Lord, we are grateful that you call us to Your mission. We pray that as a church community, we would do a good job of making known the glory of Christ through the way we love one another and through the way that we bless and serve this world. Help us to do that, please. We pray in his name. Amen.