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The Long-Expected Traitor
John 13:18-19
Skip Heitzig

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John 13 (NKJV™)
18 "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.'
19 "Now I tell you before it comes, that when it does come to pass, you may believe that I am He.

New King James Version®, Copyright © 1982, Thomas Nelson, Inc. All rights reserved.

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Against All Odds

We have learned that Jesus’ whole life, ministry, and atoning sacrifice were foreseen and expected by the Old Testament writers. But did you know that His betrayer was also expected and anticipated? The prophets predicted him, and Jesus announced him. Judas had no idea he was fulfilling the Scriptures by being the turncoat—but he was. Let’s also ponder what Jesus knows about us and how we can be a joy and delight to His heart.

Did you know that you have a one in 136,011 chance of death by lightning strike? Your odds of winning the Powerball lottery are only one in 292 million. In this series, Skip Heitzig investigates a number of biblical prophecies that would be impossible for Jesus to fulfill unless He was God Himself. So whether you're a skeptic or you want to strengthen your faith, join us for Against All Odds.

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Outline

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  1. He Was Among the Followers (v. 2)


    1. On the Same Team

    2. Near the Same Lord


  2. He Was Against the Master (v. 18)


    1. Turned away His Heart

    2. Lifted up His Heel


  3. He Was Anticipated by Scripture (vv. 18-19)


    1. Quoting David

    2. Fulfilling Zechariah


Study Guide

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Connect Recap Notes: March 19, 2017
Speaker: Skip Heitizg
Teaching: "The Long-Expected Traitor"
Text: John 13:18-19

Path

We have learned that Jesus’ whole life, ministry, and atoning sacrifice were foreseen and expected by the Old Testament writers. But did you know that His betrayer was also foretold and anticipated? The prophets predicted him, and Jesus announced him. Judas had no idea he was fulfilling the Scriptures by being the turncoat—but he was. Josh McDowell noted that, over a 500-year period, twenty-nine prophecies were given about Jesus’ betrayal, death, and burial, and all were fulfilled within a twenty-four hour period—against all odds. Let’s consider what the Bible tells us about Jesus’ betrayer, Judas Iscariot:
  1. He Was Among the Followers (v. 2)

  2. He Was Against the Master (v. 18)

  3. He Was Anticipated by Scripture (vv. 18-19)
Points

He Was Among the Followers:
  • It"s surprising that anyone who walked with Jesus throughout His ministry, heard Him preach and teach, and watched Him heal people would not be loyal to Him. But Judas" name has become synonymous with betrayal.
  • Judas comes from the name Judah, meaning praise. His name, once honorable, became the most dishonorable of all time. Even so, he was on the same team as Jesus:
  • After a night of prayer, Jesus chose Judas as one of the twelve disciples (see Luke 6:12-16).
  • Jesus placed Judas as the treasurer of their group (see John 12:6; 13:29). This was a position of trust and because Judas held it, it was likely one of the reasons none of the others suspected Judas of treason.
  • Jesus positioned Judas (see John 13:21-30). At the Last Supper, Jesus named two guests of honor to sit on His right and left: John and Judas. Perhaps Jesus was giving Judas one last chance to change his mind about his course of action. At any rate, John leaned in to ask Jesus who His betrayer was and Jesus handed the condemning piece of bread to Judas.
  • Probe: John was right where Jesus wants us to be, leaning toward His heart, choosing Him and His ways. Judas leaned away, choosing his own path. Do you lean toward or away from Jesus?
He Was Against the Master:
  • Jesus made it clear that His betrayer would "lift up his heel" (v. 18) against Him—kicking Him away.
  • Not everyone sees Judas as a bad guy. Some see him as a misguided patriot or a well-intentioned follower, but Jesus referred to His betrayer as "a devil" (John 6:70) and the "son of perdition" (John 17:12).
  • Judas was not good but greedy—not a servant but a saboteur. He saw Jesus not as his Master but as a means to an end. He wanted to see Jesus crowned as king so he would have a high position in the kingdom. He wanted nothing to do with the cross, but you can"t have a crown without the cross.
  • Judas was also covetous. He stole from the group"s funds and criticized Mary for "wasting" expensive perfume on anointing Jesus" feet. He sounded pious in saying the money could have gone to the poor, but he really wanted to use the funds for himself (see John 12:1-7).
  • Jesus told Judas to leave Mary alone, and perhaps that was confirmation for him that he wasn"t going to get what he wanted by following Jesus" plan. It is possible that at that moment he determined to enact his own agenda, trying to force Jesus to step up and became a political savior.
  • Probe: Francis Bacon said, “A bad man is worse when he pretends to be a saint.” Why doesn’t it work for someone to act like a Christian on Sundays and then behave however they want the rest of the week? Are there areas where your personal agenda clashes with that of Jesus?
He Was Anticipated by Scripture:
  • Jesus quoted from Psalm 41:9, in which David likely described his own betrayal by a trusted counselor, Ahithophel, who sided with David"s son Absalom when he rebelled against his father (see 2 Samuel 15).
  • The difference is that David trusted Ahithophel, saying, "Even my own familiar friend in who I trusted, who ate my own bread, has lifted up his heel against me" (Psalm 41:9). Jesus left out the first phrase, making it clear that He never trusted Judas. He knew all along that Judas would betray Him (see John 6:70-71; 13:10).
  • If Jesus knew Judas would betray Him, why did He pick him in the first place? The answer is two-fold:
    • To fulfill Scripture (see John 13:18). Jesus had complete and total knowledge of Old Testament prophecy (see John 17:12).
    • To love anyone is make yourself vulnerable. There is a high probability that somewhere along the line, someone you love will hurt you—even betray you. We see this probable pain and implicit risk in marriage vows: for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, till death do us part.
  • There are other incredibly specific predictions about the details of Judas" treason. Matthew 26:14-16 points back to Zechariah 11:12-13, which describes the end of the ministry of a good shepherd, including prophetic details about haggling over the price, the amount of money involved and the type of metal, and throwing the funds into the house of the Lord, as Judas later did in his remorse.
  • Probe: What is the only way to avoid the risks that come with loving someone? Why is it better to choose to love anyway? What do Jesus and Paul say about forgiveness (see Matthew 6:12; Ephesians 4:32)?
Practice

Connect Up: Judas’ betrayal came because he put his own agenda ahead of God’s. He had a critical eye and ahypocritical heart. How can we make sure not to make the same mistake?

Connect In: Some people play the game, acting like Christians at church but acting the exact opposite elsewhere. But for every star that falls, billions stay in their place and shine brightly. Who are some shiningstars in your life? Take time to thank God for them.

Connect Out: Knowing that all love, aside from the love of God in Christ, carries inherent risk, how can you reach out to people who have been hurt by love in the name of Jesus? What can you tell them about the impact of God’s ability and desire to forgive sin and heal bitterness and pain?

Detailed Notes

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  1. Introduction
    1. People try to predict the future
    2. God knows the future because He controls it
      1. He makes detailed predictions
      2. We can examine them objectively
      3. The more detailed the predictions, the more impressive it is when they are fulfilled
    3. For one person to fulfill all the prophecies Jesus did is a statistical impossibility from a man's perspective
      1. Jesus came not to destroy the prophets, but to fulfill them (see Matthew 5:17)
      2. Fulfill means to complete, accomplish, or verify by a prediction
      3. Jesus came to verify the law and the prophets
    4. One of those prophecies was that the Messiah would be betrayed
      1. Twenty-nine prophecies about the betrayal, death, and burial of Jesus, all written over 500 years
      2. All fulfilled in a twenty-four-hour period in the New Testament
    5. Judas Iscariot is the most infamous traitor in history
  2. He Was Among the Followers (v. 2)
    1. On the Same Team
      1. Jesus chose Judas to be on His team
      2. His name has become a synonym for treachery, hypocrisy, and betrayal
        1. His name was once an honorable name, meaning praise
        2. Probably named after Judas Maccabeus, one of the heroes of Jewish history
          1. Son of the leader who revolted against the Syrians when they came to oppress Israel
          2. That family rededicated the temple
        3. A common name
          1. Jesus had a stepbrother named Judas
          2. Jesus had another disciple named Judas
        4. List of disciples in the New Testament (see Matthew 10:2-4; Mark 3:16-19; Luke 6:13-16)
          1. Peter is always listed first
          2. Judas Iscariot is always listed last
      3. Jesus chose His disciples after a night of prayer (see Luke 6:12-16)
    2. Near the Same Lord
      1. For three years, Judas walked and talked with the living Son of God
      2. Judas was given a prominent place around Jesus
        1. He was the treasurer, the keeper of the money box
        2. This is one of the reasons none of the other apostles suspected him of being a traitor
        3. When Jesus announced there was a betrayer among them at the Last Supper, they all asked, "Is it I?" (see Matthew 26:21-25; Mark 14:18-19)
      3. Jesus positioned Judas
        1. Judas sat in a prominent place at the Last Supper: on Jesus' left side (see John 13:21-30)
          1. They sat at a triclinium—a u-shaped, three-sided table
          2. Reclined on their left elbow, leaving their right hand free
          3. John was to Jesus' right, leaning left toward His breast
        2. At Passover, the places of honor were at the right and left hands of the host
          1. James and John's mother requested that her sons be given these positions in Christ's kingdom (see Matthew 20:20-21)
          2. Positioned offered by the host
        3. When John asked Jesus who the betrayer was, Jesus answered that it was the one to whom He gave the bread
          1. He gave it to Judas
          2. The only person He could have reached to give bread to was the person sitting to His left
          3. Judas had to be the one seated on the left side
      4. Jesus must have come to Judas before the dinner and asked him to sit there
        1. It was as if Jesus was making one last reach for his heart
        2. John was where Jesus wants us to be
        3. Jesus does not want to just be in your midst; He wants to be in your heart
        4. Are you leaning toward Jesus like John, or away from Him like Judas?
  3. He Was Against the Master (v. 18)
    1. Lifted up His Heel
      1. Some people don't think Judas was a bad guy
        1. They make Judas out to be a misunderstood hero who was trying to save Jesus from Himself
        2. Jesus called Judas a devil and the son of perdition (see John 6:70; 17:12)
      2. Judas didn't serve Christ; he sabotaged Him
        1. Judas saw Jesus as his servant who would give him what he wanted
        2. Judas, like many Jews, expected a political Messiah who would deliver them from Roman oppression
        3. Perhaps Judas betrayed Jesus to force Him to conquer or be conquered
    2. Turned away His Heart
      1. Judas had no place for the cross
        1. He didn't want the cross; he wanted a crown
        2. You have to go to the cross to wear the crown
      2. He was covetous (see John 12:3-8)
        1. When Mary poured perfume on Jesus' feet, Judas rebuked her, saying it should have been sold and the money given to the poor
        2. He did not care about the poor; he wanted to steal from the money box
        3. Jesus rebuked him, which could have been what pushed him over the edge in his betrayal
  4. He Was Anticipated by Scripture (vv. 18-19)
    1. Quoting David
      1. Psalm 41:9
      2. It's believed David wrote this psalm when he was betrayed by Ahithophel, his trusted advisor (see 2 Samuel 15)
      3. In quoting David, Jesus left out the phrase "Even my own familiar friend in whom I trusted"
        1. Jesus never trusted Judas
        2. He always knew it was Judas (see John 6:64; 13:10-11)
      4. If Jesus knew Judas so well, why did He pick him?
        1. To fulfill Scripture (see John 17:12)
        2. To love anyone is to make yourself vulnerable
          1. When you give someone your love, it's almost guaranteed that you will get hurt
          2. Anyone can love an ideal person; the challenge is to love the real person
          3. Though you have been hurt, love anyway
          4. Forgive those who have hurt you (see Matthew 6:12)
    2. Fulfilling Zechariah
      1. Zechariah 11:11-13; Matthew 26:14-16
      2. Zechariah predicted Jesus would be betrayed for thirty pieces of silver 520 years before it happened
        1. A good shepherd would be betrayed
        2. Haggling over the price (see Matthew 26:15)
        3. Metal would be silver
        4. Amount would be thirty pieces
          1. In the Old Testament, thirty pieces of silver was the price to repay someone whose servant had been gored by an ox
          2. Jesus is called the Servant of God (see Philippians 2:8)
        5. Once the money was paid, it would be thrown into the house of the Lord and used to buy a potter's field (see Matthew 27:3-8)
  5. Closing
    1. There are people who come to church who are like Judas
      1. They play the game and know the rules, fitting right in
      2. Outside, they lie, curse, scheme, gossip, grumble, complain, barhop, cheat on their spouses, and deny their Lord
    2. Fallings stars are rare
      1. For every one that falls, there are billions that don't
      2. Solid believers don't fall
Figures referenced: Francis Bacon, Leonardo da Vinci, Judas Maccabeus, Josh McDowell

Cross references: 2 Samuel 15; Psalm 41:9; Zechariah 11:11-13; Matthew 5:17; 6:12; 10:2-4; 20:20-21; 26:14-16, 21-25; 27:3-8; Mark 3:16-19; 14:18-19; Luke 6:12-16; John 6:64, 70; 12:3-8; 13:10-11, 21-30; 17:12; Philippians 2:8

Topic: Prophecy

Transcript

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Hello, and welcome to this teaching from Skip Heitzig of Calvary Albuquerque. We pray that God uses this message to reach people around the world with His love. If this message encourages you, we'd love to hear about it. Email us at mystory@calvaryabq.org. And if you'd like to support this ministry financially, you can give online securely at calvaryabq.org/give.
In our series, "Against All Odds," we've learned that Jesus' whole life, ministry, and sacrifice were predicted hundreds of years in advance. But did you know that his betrayer was also expected? In the message, "The Long-Expected Traitor," Skip shares that though Judas had no idea that he was fulfilling scripture by being a turncoat, that's exactly what he did. Now we invite you to open your bibles to John chapter 13 as Skip begins.
Would you please turn in your bibles to the Gospel of John chapter 13 as we are continuing a series we call, "Against All Odds." John's gospel chapter 13, I want to bring a message called "The Long-Expected Traitor." This is John chapter 13.
"After Jesus washed His disciples' feet," and in verse 17, he said to them, "If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them. 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. Now I tell you, before it comes to pass, so that when it does come to pass, you may believe that I am He."
Every minute of every day, people all around the world are trying to predict the future. They're doing so in a number of ways. Some are inside of casinos, placing their bets, trying to figure out what their chances are of winning. Other people are at the stock market, trying to predict which stocks are going to rise, which ones are going to fall.
Still others are in doctors' offices trying to give an estimated time of how long a patient has to live if they go through an operation or take this medication. And still others are in news agencies, studying meteorological charts, trying to discern what the weather will be like in the next few days, or a week or two.
We have been looking at the God who knows the future. And we have a hard time. In fact, it's impossible for us to know the future. God, however, does know the future because He controls the future. And so in the Bible, we have noticed that He makes predictions that have an enormous amount of detail built into them, so we can examine them objectively. And prophecies lend themselves to statistical analysis.
It's one thing to make a general prediction. It's another thing to make a detailed one. If I were to say to a young lady, you're going to meet somebody tall, dark and handsome, that's not a big stretch. It's probably going to happen. If I say, tomorrow, it's going to rain somewhere, you're not going to be impressed. But if I add details to a prediction, you would be impressed.
For example, if somebody were to predict the next president of the United States will be a Republican female age 51 from Rhode Island with the first name Zora who married a man named Blake who was born in Woodstown, New Jersey, that she was born in the town of Big Bear Lake, California, with a foot-wide birth mark on her back, stands five foot two inches tall, weighs 111 pounds, has 11 letters in her last name, her father is from Grenada, her mother is from Panama, she has blue eyes--
Oh, and one more thing. If the prophecy predicts the exact fingerprint pattern of the new president, you would be impressed. The chances of that happening would be one chance in 1.6 times 10 to the 45th power. Now we have been looking at several predictions over the last several weeks, and we have told you the odds of one person in history fulfilling them, and we've gone through a litany of that on several occasions.
The more details you add to a prediction, you decrease the odds of the fulfillment of those predictions exponentially. It's one thing to make one prediction. It could be some kind of coincidence that it comes to pass. But when you start stacking the details, it's different. So much so, we have made a note that for one person to fulfill all of those predictions that Jesus fulfilled is a statistic impossibility. Now it's a statistic impossibility from man's perspective. Without God, it's impossible. With God, all things are possible.
We also need to add the fact that Jesus Himself made the announcement in the Sermon on the Mount. He said, "I did not come to destroy the law in the prophets. I came to fulfill them." The word "fulfill" means to complete, or to accomplish, or to verify by a prediction. I have come to verify those predictions that were made in the law in the prophets.
And one of the prophetic scriptures, one of the announcements that would happen, one of the predictions is that Jesus, or the Messiah, the coming one, would be betrayed. And there are a few scriptures that spoke of that betrayal.
According to Josh McDowell, he noted that there are 29 prophecies that fit a special category, 29. Those 29 predict Jesus' betrayal, Jesus' death, and Jesus' burial. Those 29 predictions were made at various times over a 500-year time span, five centuries. Between 1000 BC and 500 BC, those 29 predictions were made. But all 29 were fulfilled in a single 24-hour period.
And the odds or the chances of those coming true would be about the same as a person winning 16 lotteries in a row, so this is "Against All Odds."
And today, we're examining the betrayer, Judas Iscariot. You know his name. You've read about him. Most everyone has heard his name. He is the most infamous traitor in all of history. In John chapter 13, I want to make just three notable characteristics about him.
First of all he, was among the followers. He was in their midst. Jesus chose him to be part of the team. Would you go back to verse two of John 13 and just make a note of that? It says, "Supper being ended," this is the Last Supper, "the devil having already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray Him." Sitting at that table, along with Peter, and James, and John, was Judas Iscariot, and he had been with them for three years.
If you were to look up in a thesaurus, a word finder, if you were to look up words like "traitor" or "betray," you will find the name Judas. And that is because his name has become a synonym for treachery, hypocrisy, disloyalty, betrayal. And that's really about the only place you'll find his name. Have you ever met a Judas? Have you ever had anybody come up to you and go, hi, my name's Judas. That's like the name Adolf. I mean, you're just not going to find that.
I've never dedicated a baby named Judas from this pulpit. Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce the little Judas to you. I've never done that. I've met a Judah, or a Jude, the shortened form, but not a Judas. You've never met somebody named Judas. You haven't seen a dog named Judas. And that's because of the treachery that he brought to bear in the gospel accounts.
Now I heard a story about a husband and a wife, they were at home. And one night, a thief broke into their bedroom. They were there in the bedroom. The husband and wife saw the thief. And the thief said, well, now that you've see me, I have to shoot you. And so he took the gun out, and he pointed the gun at the woman. And he said, now you need to tell me your name. I always like to know my victim's name before I shoot them. She said, my name is Elizabeth.
And he looked shocked. He said, Elizabeth, that was my mother's name. I can't pull the trigger. I can't shoot you. And then he turned his gun toward the husband and said, what's your name. And he looked down at the gun, and looked over at his wife, and then looked at the thief. And he said in a shocked stutter, my name is Joe, but all my close friends call me Elizabeth.
[LAUGHTER]
See, Joe had the same problem that Judas had. His name was OK at one time, but not now. Now he wants to go by a different name.
Now Judas was an honorable name. The word means "praise," like the tribe of Judah. Praise, beautiful name. Probably Judas was even named after one of the heroes in Jewish history by the name of Judas Maccabeus. Some of you have heard that name. Judas Maccabeus was the son of the leader who revolted against the Seleucid Syrians when they came to oppress Israel. And that family became the family that rededicated the temple.
So Judas Maccabeus loomed large in their history, and it was a common name. So common a name, did you know that Jesus had a brother named Judas? I should say a step-brother. Joseph and Mary had children after Jesus was virgin born, and one of them was named Judas. It was a common name.
Not only that, but I don't know if you know that not one, but two of the apostles were named Judas. We only know of one because of his infamy. But there was another one among that 12 that was named Judas. And sometimes you read about it in the New Testament. It will say, "Judas, not Iscariot," in parentheses, because his name, Judas Iscariot's name, has become so infamous, and that's because of his treachery.
Because of that, there are three times the New Testament lists all of the apostles by name, and there's something that is noteworthy. Peter is always named first. Judas is always named last.
So though his name meant praise, this was not a praiseworthy man. Though his name was an honorable name, he was not an honorable man, but he's among the followers. How did he get there? He got there because Jesus picked him, right? He chose him. After spending a night in prayer, Jesus went and picked the inner circle out of all of the disciples to be called his 12. Luke chapter 6 tells us this.
"He went out to a mountain to pray, continued all night in prayer to God. And when it was day, He called the disciples to himself. And from them, He chose 12, whom He also named apostles." And then the list comes Peter, James, John, the others, finally, "and Judas Iscariot, who also became the traitor."
So think of it. For three years, for three years, this man Judas walked and talked with the living Son of God. For three years, he was among them. He was with Jesus. He sat under the stars with Jesus. He ate meals with Him. He listened to His sermons. He was there when He gave the Sermon on the Mount. He saw Him raise dead people, heal blind people.
In fact, Judas was sent on his own preaching mission along with the other 11 to the towns around Galilee. He was that close to Jesus as to be picked by Him.
Not only was he picked by Jesus. He was placed by Jesus. He was given a prominent place among the 12 disciples. Do you know what his position was? He was the treasurer. He kept the money box, the Bible tells us. He was given that special responsibility by Christ himself, so I can only figure Judas had a real keen business mind. He was like the chief accountant.
Now what's interesting about that is there was another money guy among the 12, Matthew, the tax collector. You'd think, well, he would have been a good guy to look over the money box, but it was Judas that was chosen. This is one of the reasons none of the other apostles suspected Judas at all, which is interesting. You might think, Peter, I always thought it was him. I knew it by that hoodie he wears, and that sinister look he has. That's a traitor.
No one suspected Judas at all, all the way up to the end. In fact, when Jesus at the Last Supper, another gospel records, announces that there is a betrayer sitting at the table. There's one question all of the apostles ask. You know what it was? Is it I, Lord? Is it I, Lord? None of them, said is it him? They didn't know it was Judas. He was so good at covering things up, nobody knew his dark side. So Jesus picked him, Jesus placed him.
There is something else to make a note of. Jesus positioned him, and I mean at the Last Supper. As I've studied this text and others for years, I've come to believe that it was Judas who sat in a very prominent position with Christ at the Last Supper, that Judas was sitting right next to him at his left side. That's what I've come to believe. I want you to look at verse 21 of John 13.
"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.' Then the disciples looked at one another, perplexed about whom He spoke." Now there was leaning on Jesus' bosom one of his disciples whom Jesus loved. Who was that? That's John. He's called the disciple whom Jesus loved. Again, make note John is writing this.
[LAUGHTER]
Just thought you ought to remember that. I'm the one Jesus loved. Me, John. But I love that he writes that about himself. The disciple that Jesus loved was leaning on Jesus' bosom. Verse 24, "Simon Peter therefore motioned to him to ask Him who it was of whom He spoke," because he's right next to Him.
"Then leaning back on Jesus breast, he said to Him, 'Lord who is it?' 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. Now after the piece of bread, Satan entered him. Then Jesus said to him, 'What you do, do quickly.'
But no one at the table knew for what reason He said this to him. 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. Having received the piece of bread, he then went out immediately, and it was night."
With all due respect to Leonardo da Vinci, who gave us that famous painting The Last Supper, it's a great painting, but it's so inaccurate. Because you know the painting, everybody sort of leaning toward Jesus, facing the camera, kind of off to one side. And as nice as that picture is, and as lofty in the art world as it has become, it doesn't paint the accurate picture.
They weren't sitting on chairs at a table like you and I have a meal. They were at a triclinium, a u-shaped table called a triclinium, three-sided table. And in those days, they would not sit in chairs, but recline on their left elbow, typically with their right hand free to grab food, to pass it around. But they were in a relaxed, reclined position so that as they were reclining, John would have been to Jesus right, leaning left toward Jesus' breast. And then Jesus would have been reclining toward somebody else.
Now you'll notice in verse 26 that Jesus said, "'It is he to whom I shall give a piece of bread.' And having dipped the bread, He gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon."
Did you know that at a meal like Passover, there were places of honor to be given by the host, typically. And the place of honor was the right hand and the left hand. You remember Mrs. Zebedee who came to Jesus one time? She goes, I have a small request. I want my two boys to sit at your right and left hand in the kingdom. Those were places of honor.
So at the Last Supper, John, invited presumably by Jesus to sit at his right hand, was leaning toward Jesus breast. So all he had to do is cock his head a little bit and go, so who is it? And Jesus could simply look and say, "The one to whom I give a piece of bread." Jesus took a piece of bread and passed it to someone. And in that u-shaped table, the one he could reach would be the person on his left, and I believe that was Judas Iscariot.
So you have John leaning left into Jesus' breast, Jesus leaning left into Judas' breast, Judas leaning left into somebody else's bosom. He dipped the bread, and He gave it to Judas, which must have meant that before the evening started, our Lord went not just to John, but to Judas, and said, Judas, I want you to sit right next to me tonight.
Jesus knew all about this creep, but He invites him right next to Him, as if perhaps one final reach out to say, it doesn't have to be this way. You don't have to do this. Reaching for his heart.
Now I can't say that for certain, but I do know this for certain. John was right where Jesus wants us to be, leaning toward Him, toward His heart, being able to just talk to Him so intimately. Jesus does not just want to be in your midst. He wants to be in your heart. He wants to be in the center of your life. And John was in the right place, leaning toward Jesus.
Here's my question for you. Are you like John, leaning toward Jesus, or are you more like Judas, leaning away from Jesus? It's a good question for evaluation. Which way am I inclined in my leaning? So Judas was among the followers.
A second noteworthy thing about this text is he was against the master. He was against the master. In verse 18, we noted that Jesus quotes an Old Testament prophecy, which we'll look at in a moment, but notice it. "He who eats bread with me has lifted up his heel against me." What a picture that is, of somebody lifting up their heel like kicking you away. I want nothing to do with them.
Did you know that there are some people who actually think Judas Iscariot wasn't a bad guy, that he was a good guy? Yeah, he has been recast throughout history. And you will note this around Easter time when they have those kooky television specials about the real story of Jesus and His followers. And they'll make something up from some crazy source that they found and make a whole documentary to subvert any traditional faith in Jesus Christ.
And many of them make Judas out to be this misunderstood hero, who is trying to save Jesus from Himself. But Jesus got Himself into trouble, wouldn't listen to Judas. They make him out to be the hero, Judas. It goes all the way back to a play in a movie in the '60s called Jesus Christ Superstar, and a book that was put out by Hugh Schonfield called The Passover Plot. Those are sources that try to cast Judas as the good guy.
I just want you to know Judas was not a good guy. Jesus in John 6 calls him a devil. How's that for a title? There's a devil among you. In his prayer to the Father in John 17, our Lord Jesus called him "the son of perdition." So he's not a good guy. He was a greedy guy, but he was not a good guy. He didn't serve Christ. He sabotaged Christ. He didn't see Jesus as his master. He looked to Jesus as his servant that would help him out.
Now, we don't know for sure, but we do know that Judas, like many other Jews, expected a political Messiah, not a Savior who would die for people. They wanted some deliverer who would take them out of the oppression that Rome had brought to them. And perhaps Judas betrayed Jesus to force Jesus into a place where he would have to conquer Rome or be conquered. We don't know for sure.
But one thing we do know for sure, Judas had no place for the cross. He didn't want a cross. He wanted a crown. And he wanted to be one who would have authority. If there's going to be a kingdom, he wanted to be first in line. The thing is, you have to go to the cross to wear the crown. There was no cross in his thinking.
But there's more than that. Judas was covetous. He was a money guy. We know that. He kept the treasury. But we get insight into who Judas was a few nights before this when our Lord, with His disciples, is at the home of Mary, and Martha, Lazarus, and they're in Bethany. And you know the story, how Mary takes this very expensive vial of oil ointment, breaks it open and pours it on Jesus' feet. It was very expensive, and it was quite a sacrifice. And the whole room was filled with this beautiful odor, aroma.
Well, one of the disciples named Judas pipes up. And he says-- now listen to how righteous this sounds-- why wasn't this oil sold for 300 denari and given to the poor? Oh, I think that's the kind of guy we want on staff. He's going to keep everybody accountable to the penny. But John gives us the footnote, tells us why. He said this. He said, "not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief. And he had the money box, and he used to take what was put in it."
So now we get a better picture of Judas Iscariot. Not a good guy, a greedy guy. Here's a guy with a critical eye and a hypocritical heart on Jesus' team. Francis Bacon once said, "A bad man is worse when he pretends to be a saint."
What I do love about that story is Jesus immediately turns to Judas and rebukes him publicly. And that could have set him off and pushed him over the edge in his betrayal. He said, "Let her alone. She has done this for my burial." So he was among the followers, and he was against the mass. There's a third and final notable trait of Judas Iscariot. He was anticipated by the scriptures. This was all predicted.
So go back to verse 18 and notice what Jesus does. He says, "I do not speak concerning all of you. I know whom I have chosen, but that the scriptures may be fulfilled," now he's showing that what Judas did was predicted, "he who eats bread with me has lifted up his heel against me. Now I tell you before it comes, that when it does come to pass, you may believe that I am He."
What does Jesus do? He's quoting, quoting an Old Testament scripture. Who's he quoting? His relative, King David. His ancestor, King David. In Psalm 41 verse 9, David writes this.
Now it is believed that when David wrote Psalm 41:9, what he was referring to was his own personal feeling of betrayal when a trusted counselor named Ahithophel betrayed him. You that know your bibles know that Ahithophel was a counselor of David who sided with Absalom, the son of David, who rebelled against his father. And Ahithophel, his buddy, his friend, betrayed him and sided with Absalom in that revolt. So David writes about that.
So Jesus pulls out Psalm 41 verse 9 because it fit perfectly. He, like His ancestor David, was also being betrayed. However, there's one part of it Jesus left out. In quoting Psalm 41:9, He leaves a phrase out, and that phrase is noteworthy. So you look at verse 18. I'm going to read to you Psalm 41:9. Notice the difference.
"Even my own familiar friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted up his heel against me." What Jesus left out was that phrase, "my friend in whom I trusted." You know why? Jesus didn't trust Judas. Jesus never trusted Judas. Jesus knew from the beginning it was Judas. In fact, He announces that it is Judas. All the way up, He gives hints until He finally gives the bread and shows the hand of Judas Iscariot.
Way back in John chapter 6, Jesus said, "Some of you do not believe," for Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray Him. And then in John 13 verse 10, He says to them, "You are clean, but not all of you." For He knew who would betray him. Therefore, He said, "You are not all clean."
So Jesus didn't trust him, so he didn't quote the part, "the one in whom I trusted." He didn't trust him, because he knew him, which brings up a question. If Jesus knew him so well, why did he pick him to begin with? And I'm not going to try to unravel all the Calvinistic, and Armenian arguments, and predestination, and free will, and all that. I'm just going to answer it two simple ways.
Number one, He picked him to fulfill scripture. Jesus had complete and total knowledge, complete awareness of prophecy, of His situation, of Judas Iscariot. And to fulfill prophecy, He did it. Like He says here, "that the scripture may be fulfilled." In John 17, he prays to His Father. Goes, "Father, of those you gave me, I lost none of them except for one, the son of perdition, that the scripture might be fulfilled."
But now I want to take it off that divine plane and take it to the human level for a moment. There's a second reason, and that is this. To love anyone at all is to make yourself vulnerable. Any time you will give your love away to anyone, you are taking a risk. You are becoming vulnerable. And it means the possibility, almost the guarantee, that you're going to be hurt.
I had somebody ask me, Skip, how can I love and not be hurt? I said, don't love. Don't even get involved with any person on any level in any relationship. Have no trust. Be a recluse. Live in the desert. Have a dog, but no person. Because you can't. To love at all, to commit at all, to have any relationship at all is to bring with it the possibility and almost the guarantee that somewhere along the line, you are going to be hurt.
And I'm sorry to be so cliche about this and quote that old song that I never really liked, but love hurts. That was from what, Nazareth was the group? And I will not sing it. It would ruin it all. I tried it the previous service. It was a bomb.
[LAUGHTER]
When people stand up in front and give their vows at a wedding, no one says, "For better or for best, for richer or for richest, in health and prosperity, until rapture do us part." It's, "In sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer, until death do us part." There's a lot of pain built into those words. Anybody can love an ideal person. The challenge is to love the real person. Jesus chose Judas knowing all along who this man was and what he would do, but He chose him anyway.
Can I just say to you, those of you who have been betrayed by someone-- and I know there's a lot of you have-- and because of that betrayal, because your heart has been broken, and even crushed, and trodden, you over time have learned to develop mechanisms around your life to become harder, maybe even bitter, to stay people away. And I just want to say, don't. Stop. Love anyway, knowing in advance you could be hurt, and probably will be. Love anyway.
I read a testimony of a man, Christian man, whose wife is an alcoholic. And she admitted to him that she had an affair 10 years before this confession she gave to him, 10 years before, with his best friend, best friend. His heart was broken, crushed. It almost destroyed their marriage, turned the kids against her. Their friends isolated them. It was almost the end of their marriage.
But he said, I remembered something that Jesus taught His disciples to pray. "Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors." He said, I knew that at some point, I'm going to have to forgive. I have to do that. He said the first time he met that man, his best friend he hadn't seen in a while. The first time he saw him again said, something within me made me thrust my arm out toward him, and grab him, and shake his hand, and extend forgiveness to him.
And he writes this. "For the first time in my life, I knew what it was to forgive. I felt a tremendous sense of release, as an unbearable weight of bitterness was lifted from my heart." He said it was that experience of forgiveness to that man that helped him to fully forgive his wife, and the relationship was reconciled.
So Jesus quotes Psalm 41:9 of Ahithophel's betrayal of David, applies that now to himself with Judas Iscariot to show that the scripture was being fulfilled. It was anticipated by scripture.
And there were other parts of this betrayal that were also predicted. We don't have time to have you turn to them all, but I'll make mention of them. For example, the exact amount of betrayal is given, and the kind of metal used in that betrayal is given. In Matthew chapter 26, I'll read a couple of verses to you.
It says, "Then one of the 12 called Judas Iscariot went to the chief priests and said, 'What are you willing to give me if I deliver Him to you?' And they counted out to him 30 pieces of silver. So from that time, he sought opportunity to betray him."
What's amazing about that is 520 years before that event, a prophet named Zechariah wrote this poetic prophecy in Chapter 11 of the book of Zechariah talking about money being given to betray and end the ministry of what he calls, "a good shepherd." And this is what Zechariah writes.
Zechariah 11, verse 11 and 12. "Then I said to them, if it is agreeable to you, give me my wages. And if not, refrain. So they weighed out for me my wages, 30 pieces of silver. And the Lord said to me, 'Throw it to the potter," that princely price they set on me. So I took the 30 pieces of silver and threw them into the house of the Lord for the potter."
Did you hear that? There are some amazing details in that. Number one, it suggests there'll be a haggling over the price, and there was. Matthew tells us. Judas was saying, well, what are you going to give me for this? And there was some kind of an agreement and disagreement, and they settled on the price. Number two, that the metal involved would be not gold, not copper, which were common in metallurgy at the time, but silver, 30 pieces of silver.
Number three, the amount 30 pieces, not 20 pieces of silver, 30. Is that significant, 30 pieces of silver? Again, you Bible students will remember that in the Old Testament, 30 pieces of silver was the price to repay somebody whose servant had been gored by an ox.
So here's how it works. Let's say I have an ox. You're out in the field. You send your servant out to keep my ox away from your field, and the ox turns around and gores him. The law requires me to give you 30 pieces of silver. That's the price for a servant being gored by an ox. So it wasn't much.
Again, is that significant? Well, Jesus is called the servant of God. Paul the Apostle in Philippians said he became a servant and served God's will to the point of death, and he was treated as such.
And then the final detail is that once the money was paid, it would be thrown down in the house of the Lord and used to buy a potter's field. Matthew 27 tells us Judas was remorseful afterwards. He threw down the pieces of silver in the temple and departed, and went out and hanged himself. The priests said, what are we going to do with this money? We can't put it in the treasury. It's blood money. So they went and bought a potter's field. An amazing set of prophecies.
Now I want to close on a personal note. I've been in the ministry long enough to know that there are people that come to churches-- not all of them, thank God-- but there are some who come to churches who do exactly what Judas did 2,000 years ago. Oh, they play the game. They know the rules. They sit right down. They fit right in.
But outside the church, they lie, they curse, they scheme, they gossip, they grumble, they complain, they bar hop, they party, they cheat on their wives, they cheat on their husbands, all the while, like Judas, in effect, they deny their Lord. That's the spirit of Judas. What I'm thankful for is they are the exception, not the rule.
Now when you go out at night and look up at the heavens, if you ever see one of those shooting stars, a meteor, a falling star, what do you do? Well, I'll tell you what I do. I go, wow, ooh, aw. Hey, look. Check it out. I just saw a falling star. Now, why do we do that? Because they're rare, because stars normally don't fall. For every one falling star, there are billions of others who hang in there and shine brightly.
And I am honored and thankful for the solid believers who don't fall, who love their husbands, love their wives, love their family, love their church, live in integrity, keep their promises. Honored for those people, thankful for those people. I see so many around. Keep hanging in there. Keep being that example.
Heavenly Father, I think of Judas Iscariot at the Last Supper, in that place of privilege, that place of honor, to be given that piece of bread by Jesus, the living Son of God, to be in that place of splendor next to Him, to have Jesus leaning toward Judas, and for Judas not to have taken the lifeline that Jesus gave.
Lord, I pray if anyone is wandering from you, living a double life, living with a critical eye and a hypocritical heart, turn them back to you in Jesus' name. Amen.
[MUSIC PLAYING]
Jesus knows so much about us, and we should strive to be a joy and delight to Him as we live our lives. Does learning about God's perfect plan strengthen your faith in Him? Let us know. Email mystory@calvaryabq.org. And just a reminder, you can give financially to this work at calvaryabq.org/give. Thank you for listening to this message from Skip Heitzig of Calvary Albuquerque.

Additional Messages in this Series

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1/8/2017
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Against All Odds
Luke 24:13-35
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In this series, we examine together the remarkable nature of predictive biblical prophecy. The odds of one person in history fulfilling the precise prognostications of Old Testament prophecy about the Messiah are nothing short of staggering. One of the first groups to ever be wowed by it was a few of the disciples after the resurrection of Christ. Their experience went from sorrow to joy in a single afternoon. A similar examination of prophecy will do the same for us.
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1/15/2017
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Oh Little Town of Bethlehem
Matthew 2:1-9; Micah 5:2
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It was the Methodist preacher Phillips Brooks who gave the world the Christmas hymn “O Little Town of Bethlehem.” He was visiting the Holy Land, on road from Jerusalem to Bethlehem on Christmas Eve, when inspiration struck. Bethlehem was where King David was born and where his descendant Jesus Christ would be born. Because of Micah’s prediction made 700 years before Jesus’ birth, four details were anticipated.
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1/22/2017
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The World's Most Unusual Birth
Matthew 1:18-23; Isaiah 7:14
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We've seen how God repeatedly makes specific predictions about a coming Messiah throughout the books of the prophets, adding layers of details that exponentially decrease the odds of any success of their fulfillment. It's one of His unique traits (see Isaiah 41:21-24). Today we come to a prediction that is simply off the charts—the prediction that the Messiah would be virgin-born. We explore a bit of why the virgin birth is not an incidental but an absolute necessity.
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1/29/2017
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Messiah on the Run
Matthew 2:13-23
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Very few events from Jesus’ childhood are even mentioned in Scripture. Much of His upbringing is simply not known. However, three events from Jesus’ early youth are given comment by Matthew because they fulfill prophetic Scripture. These predictions and their subsequent fulfillment tell a larger story and paint a grim picture—and that is the general response of the world to God sending His Son to save.
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2/5/2017
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Why Did Jesus Come?
Matthew 12:18-21
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The prophets of the Old Testament gave hundreds of predictions over 1,500 years about the coming Messiah: where He would be born, how His birth would be different, where He would move to, and where He would be raised. They also predicted events and unique features of His life and ministry. But Matthew shows that Isaiah foretold His character and His conduct. He not only came to this world against all odds; He lived among people against all expectations.
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2/19/2017
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Learning to Tell Time
Galatians 4:3-5; Genesis 49
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We have been examining the amazing prophecies of the Old Testament and how Jesus Christ has fulfilled them. The prophets predicted His lineage, extraordinary birth, places of His residence, and character of His ministry. But why did Jesus come at the time that He did? Why not earlier? Why not later? Were there any indicators that pointed to His timely entrance into the world? Let me suggest there were five things that were just right.
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2/26/2017
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Believing the Miracle-Making Messiah
Matthew 11:1-6
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We have discovered that the evidence that Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah as predicted by the ancient prophets was compelling and even overwhelming. Yet not everyone believed in Jesus. And even Jesus’ own forerunner, John the Baptist, struggled with doubts. How can that be? And what evidence is helpful in reasoning through those doubts? Jesus indeed fulfilled Old Testament prophecies, but not all of them…yet! Let’s look together at how Jesus’ miracles provided solid evidence of His identity.
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3/12/2017
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The Visitation
Luke 19:28-44
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What do you suppose the odds would be of someone showing up exactly 483 years after it was predicted he would come? Then add to that the prediction that he would come riding a donkey. Then add to that the prediction that he would not be accepted but rather rejected and subsequently killed. Sound far-fetched? It isn’t. It happened and it’s astounding. Today we continue our series Against All Odds as we consider the stand-alone event Jesus referred to as "the visitation."
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3/26/2017
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Cross Examination
Psalm 22
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Today we begin to examine the cross in light of Old Testament prophecy. Even though the expectation of the Jews at the time of Christ was for a conquering Messiah, the Scripture also paints a picture of a suffering and dying Messiah. This means He would need to come two separate times. In their rejection of Jesus, the people were actually fulfilling the very Scriptures they denied as referring to Christ. Today let’s stand at the foot of the cross and not only examine the event, but also examine our hearts.
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4/2/2017
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The Servant
Isaiah 52-53
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Of all the Old Testament writings that predict the Messiah, Isaiah 53 is the Grand Canyon of the prophetic landscape. It captures the person and work of Christ with precise clarity, and it unfolds His atoning sacrifice on the cross like no other text. Hundreds of years before Jesus was born, His death was announced and detailed. Isaiah the prophet shows us that Jesus would be the perfect servant of the Father in dealing with the most serious problem of the human race.
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4/16/2017
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An Empty Tomb; A Full Life
Acts 2:22-32
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We have spent twelve weeks examining the remarkable nature of predictive prophecy. We’ve considered the chances of one person in history fulfilling the precise forecasts about the then-coming-Messiah made by the Old Testament prophets. The chances of over 300 predictions all coming true in one individual defies all the odds and challenges the willful unbelief of any detractor. Today, on this Easter Sunday, we especially rejoice that death has been conquered by the same predicted One whose life, death, and resurrection set Him apart from anyone else.
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There are 11 additional messages in this series.