by Michael Green
February 4, 2016
John 13:21-30 (ESV): 21 After saying these things, Jesus was troubled in his spirit, and testified, “Truly, truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” 22 The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he spoke. 23 One of his disciples, whom Jesus loved, was reclining at table at Jesus' side, 24 so Simon Peter motioned to him to ask Jesus of whom he was speaking. 25 So that disciple, leaning back against Jesus, said to him, “Lord, who is it?”26 Jesus answered, “It is he to whom I will give this morsel of bread when I have dipped it.” So when he had dipped the morsel, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot.27 Then after he had taken the morsel, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, “What you are going to do, do quickly.” 28 Now no one at the table knew why he said this to him.29 Some thought that, because Judas had the moneybag, Jesus was telling him, “Buy what we need for the feast,” or that he should give something to the poor. 30 So, after receiving the morsel of bread, he immediately went out. And it was night.
Jesus preached to multitudes, but He spent most of his time with twelve men. They ate with Him, traveled with Him and witnessed His many miracles. Jesus confided in His disciples many great truths about the kingdom of heaven, not least of which was the fact that He is the Son of God. At this point in the Gospel of John, the disciples have seen Jesus heal a man that was born blind and another that was crippled; feed many thousands with five loaves of bread and two fish; and walk on water. Among His many other miracles that had already taken place, Jesus had also brought a man back to life that had been dead for several days.
The miracles of Jesus combined with His teachings and life left an indelible impact on eleven of those twelve men. And then, there was Judas. Given the frequency with which Jesus offered living water from heaven, Judas’ clothes would have been drenched. Hair dripping and sandals squeaking, he lived in 100% humidity where it was cloudy with a chance of rain all of the time. And yet, his soul was sopping dry. It was arid as a desert.
It is a scary reminder that we can be inundated with the Gospel, especially in our Jesus-drenched region of the country, and remain the same inside. We can be surrounded by Gospel truths, but never truly transformed within by the Spirit of God. But, as long as you have breath in your lungs, there is an invitation to put your faith in Jesus Christ. Reread these words of Christ.
John 7:37-38 (ESV): "37 On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’”
One last thing that I find incredibly fascinating about this passage is the layers of differing perspectives taking place simultaneously. Satan is at work in Judas to bring about evil. Judas has resisted the invitations of the Savior many times, and is fully responsible for his sin. The Jewish leaders are hatching schemes. And, Pontius Pilate will eventually pronounce the death sentence.
Yet, God is fully in control. None of this in any way takes Jesus by surprise. It has been predicted by Old Testament prophecy and the power of the people to thwart God’s purposes actually ends up being an illusion. The evil that they ultimately accomplished is used by God to bring about the holiest of purposes, punishing the Son of God for the sins of mankind in order to bring us back into union with God. They are responsible for their sins, but God is sovereign even over evil. As Jesus has already stated in John 10:18, no one takes His life from Him. He lays it down freely to accomplish the purposes of God the Father.
Josh makes sure we sing songs at Capstone that present great Gospel truths. One such song is Sovereign Over Us by Aaron Keyes. In it is the line below.
Even what the enemy means for evil, You turn it for our good.
You turn it for our good and for Your glory.
Even evil is wrapped up in God’s overarching plan for creation. We are responsible for the evil, but God is sovereign over it and uses it to accomplish His good, pleasing and perfect will. Mankind is that powerless, and God is that powerful.