THE 89 DAY GOSPEL CHALLENGE
DAY EIGHTY JOHN TWELVE
You can’t change history. But you can rewrite it. We see this being done in America today. Historians are taking things out of perspective and making heroes into villains and villains into heroes. That’s what some are trying to do with Judas, the betrayer of Jesus.
In 2006, The National Geographic Society revealed an ancient document from the second century titled, “The Gospel of Judas.” It was another attempt to suggest that we do not have an authoritative Bible and that there are books missing that tell another story. This was certainly true of this little manuscript. It suggested that Judas was a “good guy” and Jesus best friend and that he was aiding the Lord to finish His mission. It said that Judas made the ultimate sacrifice and betrayed Christ after Jesus asked him to the foul deed.
There were many extrabiblical writings that appeared in the second century and later. Though some provided historical perspective, they were all just works of fiction and never to be equated on the level of Scripture. No New Testament book is older than the first century AD when John, the last of the Apostles, died.
The truth about Judas is found in Scripture. That is the only reliable history we have of him. From the Gospels, we see that Judas was driven by money. He was the treasurer of the group and John declared that “he was a thief” and stole from his own friends. He sold Jesus for money. Perhaps Jesus was directing His words at Judas when He said, “No man can serve two masters. You cannot serve God and money.”
In John 17:11, Judas is referred to as “the son of perdition.” Perdition means one doomed to destruction. It is sometimes used as a synonym for hell. Jesus said that Judas was a devil from the beginning (John 6:70). Judas was always last in all the lists of the twelve and Luke added the comment the comment to his list, “and he became the traitor” (Lue 6:16). How is it possible to walk with Jesus for three years and witness His miracles and hear His words and then betray Him? But that’s exactly what Judas did.
In Matthew 27:3-5, Judas tried to return the “blood money” to the council but they refused. He knew he had betrayed innocent blood but it was too late. He had made a conscious decision to lure the Son of God into a trap so the Sanhedrin could arrest and kill Him. He was remorseful but he was not repentant. He ended his own life and went out and hanged himself. Jesus said it would have been better for him if he had never been born (Mark 14:2).
1. Expensive Worship (v. 1-8)
Six days before the Passover, Jesus and His disciples attended a dinner hosted in His honor. Matthew and Mark told us that the host of the feast was Simon the leper, probably a man who Jesus had healed of leprosy. Lazarus, who Jesus raised from the dead, was also there. What a testimonial to the power of Jesus.
Mary, Lazarus’s sister, brought her most precious and costly possession, spikenard oil, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped His feet with her hair. It was an amazing act of humble worship. It may have been her dowry, but it was most certainly the most valuable thing she owned. She lavished it on Jesus. It was an act of love and gratitude. Her gift was her way of saying,” I love you more than anything!” It was worth three hundred denarii, almost a year of wages.
Judas sneered and said, “We could have sold this and given it to the poor.” But John commented, “He didn’t care for the poor. He was a thief and would have stolen it if he had the opportunity.”
At a time when American Christianity has largely become a religion of convenience perhaps we should ask, “What have we lavished on our Savior lately, or ever?
2. Get rid of the Evidence (v. 9-11)
It has always been hard to dispute facts. Bethany was only two miles from Jerusalem and all the city had heard that Jesus had raised Lazarus from the dead. Lazarus’ presence at the dinner was evidence that Jesus had the power over death and was Messiah. Many of the Jews had believed in Jesus because of Lazarus’ resurrection.
The chief priests, those holy elitists, had the solution. They planned to kill Lazarus as well as Jesus.
3. The Triumphal Entry (v. 12-19)
The Triumphal Entry is recorded in all four Gospels making it highly significant. It is the fulfillment of Zachariah’s prophecy concerning Messiah (Zachariah 9:9). They had been expecting Jesus in Jerusalem. The word of His miracles and His wonderful teaching was well known in the capital of Judea. But the raising of Lazarus “sealed the deal.” Those who were witnesses of the miracle in Bethany testified of Jesus’ power and all the people proclaimed Him as ‘the blessed One Who came in the name of the Lord.
As the Pharisees watched their frustration continued to grow. “What can we do? The whole world has gone after Him.” Oh, if only that were true!
4. Greeks seeking Jesus (v. 20-26)
At His birth, Magi came from the East to worship Him. At His death, Greeks from the West and sought Him out. These Gentiles had come to this Jewish feast for the purpose of meeting Jesus. They came to Philip and asked to meet Jesus. Philip did not know what to do. Jesus mission had been primarily to the Jews and the lost house of Israel. So, he asked Andrew. Andrew simply took them to Jesus.
You have to love Andrew. He was not concerned with religion or ritual. He was not good at protocol, but he was good at getting people to Jesus. So, he led them trough the crown and took them to His Lord. It was his privilege.
Jesus used an illustration of a seed of wheat, which by falling to the ground and dying, produces more wheat. It was a metaphor for His sacrifice and the paradoxical principle of life by death. His death brought us life.
If we live for the world, we have only this life. But if we believe in Jesus and live for Him, while dying to self, we will live forever. “If anyone serves Me, My Father will honor them.”
5. Jesus predicts the Cross (v. 27-36)
“And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Me.” He spoke of His death on the cross. The cross is the beacon that draws men and women to God. Jesus predicted what the cross would accomplish.
1) God’s name would be glorified. Jesus prayed that His sacrifice would glorify the name of God. A voice from heaven spoke and said, “It has already been glorified by Your life and will be glorified by Your death.”
2) All people, nations, and individuals, will be drawn to God for salvation. God always meant the cross to be for everyone. It was always His plan to save the world.
3) The Son of Man is revealed. The people asked, “Who is the Son of Man?” Isn’t this the same crowd that already proclaimed Him as “the One Who came in the Name of the Lord?” Why can’t they get it straight? Why do they vacillate so? The cross settled all doubts.
4) The Light will overcome the darkness. Jesus came as Light and the darkness could not comprehend Him. People will believe in the Light and become children of the Light.
6. Spiritual Blindness (v. 37-41)
It was right in front of them. Jesus’ miracles demonstrated His power. Jesus’ words declared His authority. And still, they had questions.
God told Isaiah eight hundred years before the cross that people would not listen (Isaiah 6:8-10). Satan blinds the eyes of the lost so they won’t see. He stuffs their ears with lies so they will not hear. They walk in spiritual darkness when God offers His light. It was not new in Jesus’ day. It continues today.
7. Walk in the Light (v. 42-50)
Live in the Light of God’s word. Walk in Light of God’s Son. Jesus came because His Father sent Him. He is the only path to God. Jesus declared that He and the Father were One. To reject Son is to reject the Father.
Tomorrow is Resurrection Day! I hope to see you all in church!
Love you all,