Who is the person you know who is least likely to stop following Jesus? Why? Is it their position or title? The length of time they’ve known Jesus?
Sober warning that titles and nearness are no guarantee. Hope that darkness doesn’t bring defeat but is used by God to achieve glory.
1. Titles don’t guarantee Truth
Titles are no guarantee of truthfulness
Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread drew near, which is called the Passover. 2 And the chief priests and the scribes were seeking how to put him to death, for they feared the people.
Israel's leaders are the ones who seek to put Jesus to death (v2). They are glad when they find a way to do it (v5)
The religious leaders had observed Jesus' ministry. They should have recognised Jesus as the Messiah and worshipped him BUT they love their position and power more than God. SO, they plot to kill Jesus but in secret for they are 'afraid of the crowds' (v2, 6)
Church leaders who compromise doctrine for 'influence' and acceptability. Church leaders who refuse to submit to discipline. Church leaders who won’t address abuse for fear of damaging reputations.
Test what leaders say against God’s Word
Test what leaders do against the fruits of the Spirit
Ask yourself when are you 'afraid of the crowds'?
Not just leaders who are tempted to compromise
2. Proximity isn’t the same as Love
Knowing about Jesus is not the same as loving him
3 Then Satan entered into Judas called Iscariot, who was of the number of the twelve. 4 He went away and conferred with the chief priests and officers how he might betray him to them. 5 And they were glad, and agreed to give him money. 6 So he consented and sought an opportunity to betray him to them in the absence of a crowd.
Judas was as close to Jesus as you could imagine 'one of the twelve' (v3). YET he betrayed him because he loved money more (v6)
Judas saw Jesus close up for three years, witnessing his miracles, his teaching, his compassion, his perfection BUT he didn't love Jesus OR rather he loved money more cf: John 12v4
Satan 'entered' Judas but only because he left the door open. Text says 'he consented' (v6), Jesus holds him responsible (v48)
1962 Decca Records invited a band to audition after hearing them in a club BUT decided not to sign them saying that guitar music was on its way out. The club was called the cavern club, the band ‘The Beatles’. Steve Ballmer CEO of Microsoft in the mid-2000s said: 'There's no chance the iPhone is going to get any significant market share'.
Judas would be here this morning, at midweek group, at the prayer meeting. Judas knew Jesus but proximity isn't the same as love. Closeness isn't the same as affection. I heard the gospel hundreds if not thousands of times before my heart did
1 Peter 5.8-9 ‘Be sober-minded, be watchful…’
3. Darkness doesn’t mean Defeat
Israel's leaders want Jesus dead and his closest friend is willing to betray him BUT everything is going to plan.
Jesus says (v53) 'this is the hour of darkness' BUT The Passover draws near (v1).
Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread drew near, which is called the Passover.
Humanly speaking these last 48 hours are a dark time BUT God will use the cowardice of the religious leaders and Judas' betrayal. The perfect lamb will be slain and by his blood we will live.
You may have heard the phrase ‘it is always darkest just before the dawn’. Origin = Thomas Fuller 17th Century theologian.
Missionaries expelled from China in the 1970s. Led to explosive growth in the Chinese church. Not just darkest before the dawn, the darkness causes the light
God is able to turn darkness into light, to redeem brokenness and pain
Titles don’t guarantee truth so test leaders by God’s word
Proximity isn’t the same as love so guard your heart
Darkness doesn’t mean defeat so hope in God