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Crucial Things to See about Christ

The Gospel of John  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented
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God wants us to see: 1. How the Lord prepares His people (vs. 18-20). 2. The trouble Jesus took on for us (vs. 21). 3. Great signs of our Savior's love (vs. 22-30). 4. Jesus getting the glory He deserves (vs. 31-32).

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Crucial Things to See about Christ

The Gospel of John

John 13:18-32

Sermon by Rick Crandall

Grayson Baptist Church - July 5, 2017

(Revised December 31, 2019)

BACKGROUND:

*Please open your Bibles to John 13. Remember that in this chapter, God's Word has moved forward to the night before the cross. This night was so significant that God gives it almost 6 whole chapters of the 21 chapters in John.

*In this passage, the Lord was preparing His disciples for the cross. And there are some crucial things for us to see about Jesus. Please think about that as we read vs. 18-32.

MESSAGE:

*Many people don’t have to start wearing glasses until they are around 40. On the other hand, I was born with bad eyes, but I didn’t know it until the first grade. I had no idea how bad my eyes were, so I must have failed a vision test in school. And I can still remember riding home with my dad after I got my first pair of glasses. It was unbelievable! I had no idea what I had been missing. I could actually see the words on the signs. I could even see the leaves on the trees!

*I could see! And it’s a wonderful thing to see with our physical eyes. But it is infinitely better to see with our spiritual eyes. It's infinitely better to be able to see with the eyes of faith.

*That is the kind of seeing Hebrews 2:8-9 is talking about when it says, "Now we do not yet see all things put under him. But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone."

*God wants us to see in a spiritual way, and tonight's Scripture shows us some crucial things to see about Jesus.

1. FIRST: SEE HOW THE LORD PREPARES HIS PEOPLE.

*Again, Jesus was preparing His disciples for His death on the cross. The Lord was preparing them because He had important things for them to do and new places for them to go. Jesus was also getting them ready because there were more hard times to go through. The Lord still wants to prepare His people today. Jesus wants to get us ready because He also has important things for us to do and new places for us to go. Jesus wants to prepare us for godly life in this world and godly service in His church.

*That’s what the Lord was doing in vs. 1-17 when He washed the disciples’ feet. And in tonight's Scripture, Jesus continued this process of preparation. Here the Lord spoke to the 11 true disciples, plus the traitor with them at the table. And there are some important lessons for us from this time of preparation.

[1] THE FIRST IS THAT JESUS KNOWS US.

*In vs. 18, Jesus said, "I do not speak concerning all of you. I know whom I have chosen; but that the Scripture may be fulfilled, 'He who eats bread with Me has lifted up his heel against Me.'"

*Jesus always knew that Judas was going to betray Him, so in vs.18 He quoted a thousand-year-old prophecy from Psalm 41:9. There King David wrote, "Even my own familiar friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted up his heel against me."

*William Barclay explained that "to invite someone to eat bread with you was a great sign of loyal friendship. . . And for someone to turn against the friend who fed him was a bitter betrayal." What makes vs. 18 especially bitter was the cruelty of the traitor lifting up his heel against the Lord. Barclay said that phrase "described brutal violence." To me, it's the picture of viciously kicking someone when they are down. (1)

*Jesus fully knew the traitor at the table, but the Lord also knew His followers. As He said in vs. 18, "I KNOW whom I have chosen." Praise the Lord! Jesus knows His followers.

*He knows everything about us. He knows us inside out. He knows our past, our present and our future. He knows faults and our failures. He knows our tears and our fears. He knows our problems and our pains. He knows our dreams and desires. He knows our works and our worries. Jesus knows every need we will ever have. And He has promised to meet every one.

[1] CHRISTIANS: HE KNOWS US, AND HE CHOSE US!

*Again in vs. 18, Jesus said, "I know whom I have CHOSEN." That ought to bless our hearts! Jesus not only knows us, He chose us, so in Ephesians 1:3-4, Paul said:

3. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,

4. just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love.

[3] JESUS KNOWS US, HE CHOSE US, AND HE SHOWS US.

*In vs. 19, Jesus showed the future to His disciples. Here the Lord said, "Now I tell you before it comes, that when it does come to pass, you may believe that I am He."

*You know, it's hard to predict the future. Listen to a couple of examples from "The World's Worst Predictions." In 1773, King George II said the American colonies had little stomach for revolution. And in 1939, The New York Times said the problem with TV was that people had to glue their eyes to a screen, and that the average American wouldn't have time for it. (2)

*I also like the story about the preacher who made this announcement at the end of a worship service. He said: "The class on prophecy has been cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances." (3)

*Church: We don't know what's going to happen tomorrow, but God sees the end from the beginning! And He has revealed it in His Word, so the Bible can "base its reputation on its ability to predict the future." (4)

*Consider the Old Testament prophecies about Jesus. One source listed over 350 Old Testament prophecies that Jesus fulfilled when He came and lived on earth as a man. (5)

*For example, about a thousand years before Christ, Psalm 2:7 prophesied that the Messiah would be the Son of God. There the coming Messiah said: "I will declare the decree: The Lord has said to Me, 'You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.'" This prophecy was fulfilled many places, including at the baptism of Jesus. Matthew 3:17 says, "Suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, 'This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.'"

*Around 725 BC, Micah 5:2 prophesied that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem: "But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.'' The Christmas stories in Matthew 2 and Luke 2 both show that this prophecy was fulfilled.

*About 520 BC, Zechariah 11:12 prophesied that the Messiah would be betrayed for 30 pieces of silver: "So they weighed out for my wages thirty pieces of silver." This prophecy was fulfilled in Matthew 26:14-16:

14. Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests

15. and said, "What are you willing to give me if I deliver Him to you?'' And they counted out to him thirty pieces of silver.

16. So from that time he sought opportunity to betray Him.

*And a thousand years before Christ, God's Word prophesied that the promised Messiah would die on a cross. Psalm 22:16 says, "Dogs have surrounded Me; The assembly of the wicked has enclosed Me. They pierced My hands and My feet."

*Church: As far as we know, death by the cross didn't even exist when King David wrote these words! The first recorded crucifixions in history didn't happen until 500 years later in the Persian Empire. But God knew about the cross from all eternity past! And He revealed it in His Word. (6)

*By His Holy Word in vs. 19, Jesus showed the future to His disciples, and by His Word, the Lord shows us the future too! That should be a great comfort for us because we know that God is never surprised or caught off guard. And He is getting us ready for a glorious future.

*But why does Jesus SHOW us the future? In vs. 19, it's because He wants us to believe in Him. If there is anything the Lord wants us to do, it’s believe in Him, so He goes to extraordinary lengths to help us believe. He even shows us the future.

*Next in vs. 20, Jesus shows us how crucial it is for us to receive the truth from God’s messengers. He also shows Christians how crucial it is for us to spread the truth as God’s messengers.

*Jesus told the disciples, "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who receives whomever I send receives Me; and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me.'' These words remind us of the power of the Gospel, and our responsibility to help spread God's good news wherever we can. That's how the Lord prepares His people.

2. BUT GOD ALSO WANTS US TO SEE THE TROUBLE JESUS TOOK ON FOR US.

*Verse 21 tells us that "when Jesus had said these things, He was troubled in spirit, and testified and said, 'Most assuredly, I say to you, one of you will betray Me.''' Jesus was "troubled." That means He was stirred-up, agitated, disturbed, distressed.

*The Lord was full of sorrow and broken-hearted over the betrayal of Judas. He was full of anguish over the terrible burden He was about to bear for us on the cross. Jesus was also full of concern for His sheep because they were about to stumble and be scattered. In Matthew 26:31, Jesus said to them, "All of you will be made to stumble because of Me this night, for it is written: 'I will strike the Shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.'"

*Jesus was also troubled about the heartache His disciples were suffering. Matthew 26:21-22 says, "Now as they were eating, He said, 'Assuredly, I say to you, one of you will betray Me.' And they were exceedingly sorrowful, and each of them began to say to Him, 'Lord, is it I?''' This is the kind of trouble Jesus took on for us.

3. BUT GOD ALSO WANTS US TO SEE GREAT SIGNS OF OUR SAVIOR'S LOVE.

[1] THE FIRST SIGN OF THE LORD'S LOVE WAS HOW JOHN LEANED.

*Verses vs. 22-23 give us this example of how the Lord loved John:

22. Then the disciples looked at one another, perplexed about whom He spoke.

23. Now there was leaning on Jesus' bosom one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved.

*Verse 23 doesn't call John by name, but most Bible scholars agree that it's talking about John. And the wonderful truth of God's love is that we can plug our names into that verse tonight, because Jesus loves us too! We all can say, "I am the one Jesus loves."

*Howard Parnell told the story of a little girl who had two brothers. One day, somebody asked her, "Who does your mommy love the most?" Without missing a beat, the little girl replied, "She loves Johnny the most because he’s the oldest. She loves Billy the most because he’s the youngest. And she loves me the most because I’m the only girl." (7)

*I'd say that little girl had a wise mommy. But you see, Jesus has an infinite supply of love. He has more than enough love to go around for us all!

[2] THE NEXT SIGN OF THE LORD'S LOVE WAS HOW JESUS LED HIS DISCIPLES.

*Jesus was troubled for His sheep, because He loved them. That's also why He led them. For example, in vs. 23-26 Jesus led them to the truth about Judas:

23. Now there was leaning on Jesus' bosom one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved.

24. Simon Peter therefore motioned to him to ask who it was of whom He spoke.

25. Then, leaning back on Jesus' breast, he said to Him, "Lord, who is it?''

26. Jesus answered, "It is he to whom I shall give a piece of bread when I have dipped it.'' And having dipped the bread, He gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon.

*Each of the 11 true disciples was mortified that he might be one who betrayed Jesus. But the Lord led them to the truth, and Jesus is leading us too. Whenever the Lord's sheep have a problem, the Good Shepherd loves them and leads them in the right way to go.

[3] THIRD SIGN OF THE LORD'S LOVE WAS HOW HE LET THE TRAITOR GO.

*In vs. 26-30:

26. Jesus answered, "It is he to whom I shall give a piece of bread when I have dipped it.'' And having dipped the bread, He gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon.

27. Now after the piece of bread, Satan entered him. Then Jesus said to him, "What you do, do quickly.''

28. But no one at the table knew for what reason He said this to him.

29. For some thought, because Judas had the money box, that Jesus had said to him, "Buy those things we need for the feast,'' or that he should give something to the poor.

30. Having received the piece of bread, he then went out immediately. And it was night.

*Judas was such a good actor that none of the other disciples knew he was the traitor. But Jesus knew, as He always had. And we know that the Lord could have stopped Judas from his treachery.

*Why didn't Jesus stop Judas? It was for our sake! It was for our sake that the Lord let Judas do his dirty work. It was for our sake, because the Lord's plan was always to die on the cross for our sins.

*In Acts 3-4 Peter and John were arrested and threatened by the Jewish rulers. After they were released, the church began to pray. And in Acts 4:24-28, they opened their prayer with these words:

24. . . "Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them,

25. who by the mouth of Your servant David have said: 'Why did the nations rage, and the people plot vain things?

26. the kings of the earth took their stand, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord and against His Christ.'

27. For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together

28. to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done."

*And it was for our sake! The cross was for our sake. And it is the greatest sign of our Savior's love for us!

4. BUT GOD ALSO WANTS US TO SEE JESUS GETTING THE GLORY HE DESERVES.

*In vs. 31-32:

31. So, when he (Judas) had gone out, Jesus said, "Now the Son of Man is glorified, and God is glorified in Him.

32. If God is glorified in Him, God will also glorify Him in Himself, and glorify Him immediately.

*We see God’s glory 5 times in these verses. That’s a lot of glory. And there should be a lot of glory for the Lord Jesus Christ! John Phillips explained that "the departure of Judas was the first step in the last lap of the journey toward the cross and all that lay beyond. The Lord saw beyond the dark valley, to the glory crowned peaks beyond. He saw the rainbow high on the storm clouds.

*Golgotha was not the end; Glory was the goal. Jesus was on his way home! The road was dark and steep. The cross stood astride the way, but death and the tomb were to be conquered. Sin and Satan were vanquished." And Jesus Christ, the Son of man was glorified, because He is the one who was able to conquer sin and death! (8)

CONCLUSION:

*Jesus Christ is the one who loved us enough to die for our sins! And He is the Risen Savior who loves us enough to save our souls! Christianity, you see, is never about us earning God's love. It's about us responding to the love God already has for us! It's about us responding in faith to the love God had for us before the beginning of time!

*So, put your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, and begin to "see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone" (Hebrews 2:9).

*Put your trust in Jesus Christ, and give Him the glory He deserves. As Paul said in Galatians 6:14: "God forbid that I should glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world." Glory be to God!

(1) Adapted from "BARCLAY'S DAILY BIBLE STUDY SERIES (NT)" by William Barclay, Revised Edition - Copyright 1975 William Barclay - First published by the Saint Andrew Press, Edinburgh, Scotland - The Westminster Press, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - The Shame of Disloyalty and the Glory of Fidelity - John 13:18-20

(2) "The World's Worst Predictions" - Sources: SermonCentral sermon "The Promise" by Guy Caley - 2 Peter 1:19-21

(3) JOYFUL NEWSLETTER - 1/2000 - P.2 - "The Lord's Laughter" - Contributed by Dr. John Bardsley - Source: "Dynamic Illustrations" - Topic: Future

(4) Original source unknown

(5) Sources:

https://accordingtothescriptures.org/prophecy/353prophecies.html

http://www.newtestamentchristians.com/bible-study-resources/351-old-testament-prophecies-fulfilled-in-jesus-christ/

https://www.hopefaithprayer.com/scriptures/old-testament-prophecies-jesus/

(6) Resources:

-Britannica reports that the first historical record of Crucifixion was about 519 BC when "Darius I, king of Persia, crucified 3,000 political opponents in Babylon" (Encyclopaedia Britannica, crucifixion)

-Some further detail is given in "The Eerdman's Bible Dictionary", Rev. Ed., 1975: CROSS ... Crucifixion is first attested among the Persians (cf. Herodotus, Hist. i.128.2; iii.132.2, 159.1), perhaps derived from the Assyrian impalement. It was later employed by the Greeks, especially Alexander the Great, and by the Carthaginians, from whom the Romans adapted the practice as a punishment for slaves and non-citizens, and occasionaly for citizens guilty of treason. Although in the Old Testament the corpses of blasphemers or idolaters punished by stoning might be handged "on a tree" as further humiliation (Deut. 21:23), actual crucifixion was not introduced in Palestine until Hellenistic times. The Seleucid Antiochus IV Epiphanes crucified those Jews who would not accept hellenization (Josephus Ant. xii.240-41; cf 1 Macc. 1:44-50).

http://www.bible.ca/d-history-archeology-crucifixion-cross.htm

(7) SermonCentral illustration contributed by Howard Parnell

(8) Adapted from "Exploring the Gospel of John" by John Phillips, Kregal Publications, Grand Rapids - "The Lord of Life" - John 13:31-33

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