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Love's Defeat_Love's Victory

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"LOVE'S DEFEAT-LOVE'S VICTORY"

(A Series on Jesus)

 

C.R.8/9/87p.m.                                            John 13:18-38

 

PROPOSITION:At  the  scene  of  the   last   supper   Jesus

      reached out in love and touched  the lives of two special disciples......one rejected the love and was damned, the other suffered through a severe test but held on to that love and was saved.

 

I.INTRODUCTION

 

-     ISN'T it just like the Holy Spirit to time our study of John 13:18-38, and the scene of the last supper, with our communion service tonight.

-     THE whole scene is saturated with Jesus' love for His disciples.

*     In Luke's account of this scene, 22:14, Jesus says that He has "eagerly desired to eat this Passover" with His disciples.

*     In fact He says that He will not eat that meal again until we all eat it together in the fulfillment of the  kingdom of God.

*     In John's account of this meal time, earlier in chapter 13, we read about the foot-washing that preceded the meal, as Jesus washed His disciple's feet.....a sign of His deep love for them all.

-     SO here they are.....Jesus and the twelve men that will some day turn the world upside down for Him.

-     IT is the last intimate time He will have with them before His death on the cross.......His last opportunity to love them in a tangible way.

-     THERE is a prophetic anointing on Him and He speaks words of knowledge concerning two disciples that this chapter singles out for attention;

*     One is Judas.

*     The other Simon Peter.

-     BOTH were going to fail Him at a crucial time and in a crucial way.

-     BOTH were going to blow it royally and fall into sin.

-     BOTH were weak....as were most of the disciples. We are not talking about spiritual giants here....just ordinary people like you and me.

-     AND how Jesus loved them...both.

-     IT could just as easily have been you and me around that table that night......and in a way it is you and me around that table.

-     AND there is Jesus at the head and He is still reaching out in love today.

 

 

 

II.LOVE EXTENDED

 

-     LOOK how He loved Judas.....right up to the end reaching out to Him.

-     JUDAS was the group's wheeler-dealer;

*     He was the one combing the junk piles of Judea for things to sell to make more money.

*     He would buy chariots and fix them up and sell them for a profit.

*     He was always leaning on people to make contributions to the fund......He's the one who complained when Mary poured the costly ointment over Jesus' feet. He said it could have been sold for a profit.

*     He was shifty sort of character that made him hard to trust.

-     BUT Jesus really loved him.

-     THE first way we can see this love for Judas is brought out subtley in the seating arangement at the last supper.

*     Tables in those days were made of a single solid block of wood.......shaped in a U.

*     It was low to the ground and the guests would sit or recline on cushions on all sides around the U.

*     They would always recline on their left side, with their head facing the table.

*     The guest of honor always sat at the head of the U.

*     And those closest to Him would be seated on either side of Him at the head.

*     We know from this passage that John, the disciple known as the one Jesus loved, was the disciple on  His right......because verse 25 says that he laid his head back on Jesus' chest. He had to be on Jesus' right side to do that.

*     Where in all this is Judas? Most commentators agree that Judas was at Jesus' left side because he and Jesus seem to have somewhat of a private conversation going during the meal that the other disciples don't hear.......when Judas leaves in verse 29 they just think Jesus has sent him off to buy more bread.

*     Now, why is it significant that Judas was on Jesus' left side at the table...on this His last passover supper with them?

*     Because the left side of the honored guest at table was the most honored place, reserved for the one closest to the heart of the special guest. This is eastern custom.

-     JESUS knows exactly what Judas is going to do.....and He is still reaching out in love to Him....saying, "Judas, come up here and sit by Me."

-     IT is the appeal of love....the last offer of redeeming, reconciling love from Jesus to the disciple He loved.....Judas.

-     BUT there is more.

-     IN this time and custom, when you shared bread with someone, you were establishing a lasting trust and friendship....a kind of covenant between your household and theirs.

*     When Boaz first started to win Ruth's ----

 love and he wanted to show how much he honored her, in Ruth 2:14, he asked her to come up to him at the table and dip her bread in his wine.

*     When David became king and wanted to demonstrate his covenant with the remaining members of king Saul's household.....in 2 Samuel 9:7&13......he invited Mephibosheth, Saul's crippled son, to live with him and eat at his table.

*     Even to  this day, in the Arab world, a sign of love covenant between friends is to take a portion of the choice food off your plate and offer it to the one you love.

*     When it is received and eaten, the love relationship is sealed.....and it is a terribly tragic thing to break this trust.

-     SO, after having Judas sit in the place of highest honor next to Him, in verse 26, Jesus takes a portion of His bread and dips it in the wine and turns to His left and gives it to Judas.

-     ONE more time......one more gesture of love....one more kindness......always reaching out....never short of love.....even for the most unlovely of us.

 

-     THE next example of Jesus' love for His disciples is found in verse 36 of the same chapter in John.

-     THIS time we find Jesus reaching out to Peter.

-     PETER is the bold one. He opens mouth and inserts foot all the time.

-     HE is always jumping out of the boat when he shouldn't, making brash promises, shooting off at the mouth....kind of generally obnoxious.

-     WHEN Jesus says in verse 21 that someone there is going to betray Him, Peter signals John at His right, to find out who it is......probably because Peter would just take care of him in the alley before he could do anything. That was just the kind of guy he was.

-     HE is the kind of guy you would vote least likely to succeed. He never came through with anything he promised....just a blowhard.

-     BUT Jesus loved this blowhard.

-     IN verse 36 Peter asks Jesus where He is going......cause wherever it is he is going to be sure to follow......got it!

-     JESUS says, "Where I am going you cannot follow."

-     PETER replies, "I don't think you heard me Jesus. I am going wherever you go. Period! In fact, I would lay down my life for you! And what's more, if anyone ever messed with you, POW! STRAIGHT TO THE MOON!"

-     HOW can you love someone like that? You can't get passed all the words and the walls of insecurity.

-     HERE'S how Jesus loved him'

      "Will you really lay down your life for me? I tell you the truth, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times!"

-     YOU say, "Pastor, that's harsh."

- WHEN last was "harsh" the most loving thing that ever happened to you?

-     JESUS loved Peter....had great plans for him. With all his weaknesses, Peter was going to be a giant in the faith some day....and Jesus was going to get him ready.

-     IN Luke's record of this same scene, in 22:31, Jesus says;

      "Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers."

-     THAT'S love.....in the form of a rebuke....but love.

-     JESUS, right on the verge of the greatest suffering known to mankind, and He is reaching out in love to His disciples.

-     THAT'S the way He is tonight.

-     HE hasn't changed.

-     HE is still reaching out to you....calling you to His side to sit with Him at the place of honor at Hhis table.....offering you the food off  His plate.......rebuking you where necessary....but loving you all the way.

 

III.LOVE'S RESPONSE

 

-     JESUS went out of His way to love Judas and Peter in John 13.

-     LET'S look at their different responses.

-     HOW does man respond to Jesus' love call?

-     WELL, first there is Judas.

-     WHEN Jesus' ----

 love is at its best, Judas' treachery was at its worst.

-     JUDAS must have been the greatest actor....the years of hypocrisy had crippled his heart.

-     ALL the time he had been putting on an act of loyalty to Jesus. He made all the right moves and said all the right words.

-     AND everyone bought in to his hypocrisy except Jesus.

-     BUT He still tried, in this last hour, to reach out to Judas and turn him around in love.....trying to save Judas from what he was about to do.

-     THEN the moment came.

-     WE are not told in this passage, much about what was going on in Judas' heart during this whole event.

-     BUT love's greatest defeat was suffered at this moment in history.

-     THE last offer of love was rejected, the bread of love was given to Judas....... and in verse  27 the door slammed shut. It says that Satan entered Judas when he took the bread and Jesus said to Judas;

      "What you are about to do, do quickly."

-     WHY carry on the appeal of love any longer? It was not going to produce any result. "Go ahead and do what you have determined in your heart to do. Your mind's made up. There is no turning around. Go."

-     AND if I were producing a film on this scene I would have a large metal door slam shut as he left the room.

-     IT was final. There was no turning back now. Love had been rejected for the last time.

-     VERSE 30 says that Judas took the bread and then went out......"and it was night."

-     IT was night alright......and more than just in the absence of the sun.

-     AFTER it was all over, Judas regreted the whole thing, but it was too late. His heart was hardened without repentance.....and he ended up taking his life in the field bought with the money he got for betraying Jesus.

-     WHAT was Judas' fate? You decide.

-     IN Acts 1:25, when the apostles were getting ready to select a replacement for Judas, Peter says;

      ".....Judas left to go where he belongs."

 

-     WHAT about Peter?

-     WHAT happened to Peter?

-     WELL, he left that supper and also blew it.

*     First he took out his sword in the garden of Gethsemane and started swinging....cut of the High Priest's servant's ear. Jesus had to heal it back for him. (Don't you ever wonder what happened to that man?"

*     Then he denied the Lord three times in Herod's courtyard....with curses. But look at the tears of brokenness and repentance that followed.

*     Then he talked the guys into going back to  fishing after Jesus' death.

-     BUT the Peter in John 21 is a new man....broken, repentant, willing to be moulded.

-     HE had allowed love to do its work.

-     HE had failed the Lord. He was weak in his resolution. But he still loved Jesus. Jesus overlooked his faults and saw his need.......He loved him and brought him through.

-     AND the book of Acts is full of stories of how Jesus can use a man like that......to build His church and glorify His Name.

 

IV.CONCLUSION

 

-     THIS table we come to tonight is still Jesus' table of love.

-     HE dips the morsel of bread and holds it out to you.

-     HE calls you to come and sit next to Him.

-     WHAT will your response be?

 

HERE COMES JESUS

 

 

 

 

 

 

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