When Jesus handed the morsel to Judas, it was a mark of special affection. There is tragedy here.
Completely impervious to the appeal of love. When we see Judas Iscariot conspire with Jesus' adversaries. This message is part of Chuck's brand new series called Compelled by the Cross. It's designed to prepare us for the Easter celebration coming soon.
Chuck begins today with prayer. At this busy time in our lives, our Father, we deliberately pause. We linger over the scene that is both tragic and true.
And before we point an accusing finger at Judas, we need to search our own hearts and realize that within each one of us there is the same sinful nature. The songwriter has put it well, we're prone to wander, Lord, we're prone to leave the God we love. There may be some right now within the sound of my voice pondering the thought of drifting away. Making a tragic decision that will change the direction or the course of his or her life, I pray that you will arrest their attention today, whoever they may be, whatever may be the temptation.
We know we all have it within us, this tendency toward turning away from truth. I pray that today will be an exception as we turn toward it. As we pause and listen especially well to what you have to say to us, not only about a man whose name has become familiar to us, albeit a study in tragedy, but as we hear words that apply even to our own lives. You have always been faithful. We've never known a day in our life when you turned your back on us or betrayed us. May we enter into these words personally and remember times in our own lives when you faithfully came to our rescue, met a need, brought encouragement, delivered us from bondage, longstanding addictions and habits. You've always been faithful. We give you thanks for that. And we do so in the name of Jesus, our master and faithful God.
Everyone said, Amen. Judas Iscariot. Why did he become a traitor? What was it that convinced him that he should betray the one who had done him no wrong, who had only shown him grace and love at every turn?
You know what's interesting? Not one of the gospel writers answers the question of motive, not one. So when there's nothing in the scriptures, you're left to speculate and you have to be careful there because none of the speculations may be true.
One of them might be more a possibility than another. But you cannot say with dogmatism, that's the reason. Some have said it would be covetousness and greed. Some would say jealousy. And others have said maybe it was just raw ambition.
Just a desire to come out on top. And that faded as well. And then there was the possibility of disillusionment. When you track the name Judas Iscariot, it's interesting, especially Iscariot. It's been pointed out by others that Judas was a closet zealot, political zealot. He longed to see the overthrow of Rome, and he thought in following Jesus, finally, he's with someone with enough power to do that. But Jesus' political interest was passive. In fact, there was even the occasion when he said, render to Caesar what is Caesar's and render to God what is God's.
Of all things, he suggested not dodging your taxes, but paying them. And zealots like Judas would look for any way possible to dodge that. What I am sure of is in the biblical text, Luke 22, verse 3. Please look again in the few words that begin the verse. I think we find the answer. Then Satan entered into Judas.
Rare words. Understand, Satan is not omnipresent. He can only be one place at one time. His many demons, innumerable number, they're invisible unless for some reason they choose to be visible. Being supernatural creatures, they could be either.
But they as well can only be one place, each one at one time. At this time, Satan is inside the head of Judas. That's a chilling thought. Judas became possessed by the archenemy of Christ. So, I suggest to you as a result of that, he was driven to betray the Savior. Think of the pickle that the enemies of Christ were in. Every time Jesus spoke, especially during Passover, the crowds were large. There was no time to kidnap him.
There would be a riot. And as soon as the teaching was over, somehow Jesus slipped away to an undisclosed location and they didn't know where he went. They needed help from the inside, ideally one of the twelve. I mean, this works out perfectly when we read after Satan has entered Judas Iscariot. We read right away in verse four, he went to the leading priests and the captains of the temple guard. He began to bargain with them about the plan. Of course, he's Satan possessed.
That's exactly what the enemy would want. And how delighted they were, we read it. They were delighted and they promised to give him money. Judas never tracked it all the way to the end. He never thought of the consequences of his actions. In fact, Judas would have realized that he's the one that lost in the deal. He didn't realize he was selling his own soul for 30 measly pieces of silver. At the end, he came to realize it and he's filled with remorse. But by then he's on his own.
Satan being the ultimate, ultimate coward. And by then left him. He had done his deed.
Who cares? And in his remorse, he dies of suicide. But before all that, before the consequences, everything seems to be working as planned. He sets forth a plan. He arranges it with the captain of the guards and the chief priests. And then he quickly moves back to the disciples. They know nothing of it. You now know more than any of the disciples were aware of at this time. And they would never have chosen Judas.
I mean, he's their trusted treasurer. So he comes back and what are they doing? They're preparing the meal for that last supper to see that in a little clearer light. Turn to John 13, beginning at verse 21. I'd really like you to turn if you've got a Bible, because I want to point out some things that you'll have to visualize. And it'll be helpful to have the biblical text in front of you. It's the time of Passover, the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and the table is set.
The disciples have done it since they were little Jewish boys with their mothers and fathers. They learned what went on the table. There were the bitter herbs. There was the unleavened bread. There were the bowls of carusheth, which is like our dip. This spoke of the mortar from which the bricks were made. And that's all picturing what took place back in the days of Egyptian slavery and their forefathers. You see, the Passover is the reminder of what their forefathers had endured in the slavery in Egypt.
So it was a reminder every year of that. And it's all set. Remember, the table is a tabletop without legs. So it's all the way to the floor. And you didn't sit in chairs around the table, you remember, from last time we were together. You reclined.
Pillows were provided by the one who owned the place. And you reclined on your left elbow, and you ate with your fingers and your hands. You took, drank from the chalice that was on the table, and you ate from the food that was there.
A strange meal. Judas came back just in time for the meal. Jesus has taken his place at the head of the table as the host.
Now watch closely. John 13 21. Jesus is deeply troubled. And he exclaimed, I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me.
That was unbelievable. It was a brand new thought to them. They were shocked. In fact, one wonders how much more they really heard. And I'll say that because of what takes place later. Something is so obvious to those of us who aren't shocked.
That took place there among those who were that you would have thought they would have realized, but they didn't. I'll get to that. One of you will betray me. Let me go back to the table and the reclining around it. When you recline on your elbow, your torso and your legs and feet go behind the person on your right. OK. I thought about demonstrating it over here, but I thought, no, that does not get it.
That's not a good idea at all. So you always have to use your your your brain here and picture it. So they're leaning, all leaning on their elbows, and they've all got their feet behind the person on their right around the table.
Close friends were to the host, right? Appropriately, that would be John. Now watch. Watch the passage.
It'll come to life for you. The disciples looked at each other, wondering who he could mean. The disciple Jesus loved.
That's John. That's the one who wrote this particular gospel from which we are reading. He was sitting next to Jesus.
It should read reclining. He was reclining next to Jesus. So his head is in the area of Jesus chest or beard, and he's able simply to lift his head up. He could even whisper what he says to Jesus and Jesus would hear him as Jesus is reclining and can look down and hear what John says.
But closely. So John is sitting or reclining next to Jesus at the table. They're all wondering who did it. Simon Peter motioned to him to ask, who's he talking about? So Simon is not near them. He's probably across the table. He's over there going.
Maybe not that dramatic, but you get the idea. And John goes, OK, so he leans up and says to Jesus, and you see it right here. So that disciple leaned over to Jesus, leaned over exactly. And he asked, Lord, who is it?
They had no idea. Least of all Judas. The trusted treasurer. Lord, who is it?
Now watch. Jesus responded. It is the one to whom I give the bread a dip in the bowl. There was a custom that an honored guest would be placed at the hosts left. And as a part of the meal, there would be a little sandwich prepared called in your Bible. Perhaps if you don't carry the new living, a morsel or the SOP. SOP was a piece of the unleavened bread is broken off.
Another piece broken off. The bitter herbs are stuffed between like a sandwich and you dip it into the cow chef. This dip like you would dip a corn chip into our dip today.
You would dip it and then you would hand that morsel to the honored guest. This is the greatest moment of grace offered to Judas personally. This is the last act of grace that would come his way. And Judas, Judas realizes what he's done. No one else realizes except Jesus, who knows exactly what's been going on being God. It's all clear to Jesus. It's clear to Judas.
And when he had dipped it. He gave it to Judas, son of Simon Iscariot. Notice when Judas had eaten the bread, Satan entered into him. You see, Satan can come and go.
He can possess and then leave a body and then come back again and leave the body. In this case, he came at the time the betrayal was planned with the captain of the guards and the chief priests and then departed. Judas went about his stuff, met at the table, is at the left of Jesus as the honored guest, is given the morsel. And if there's ever a weak moment in Judas experience, it's now. Jesus has given me the morsel. And it says, when Judas had eaten the bread, Satan entered into him. Of course, right then, at that weak moment, he came in and he's now pawn of the adversary. And that's why Jesus said to him, by the way, notice the ending of the grace.
Hurry and do what you're going to do. None of the others at the table knew what Jesus meant. Since Judas was their treasurer, some thought Jesus was telling him to go and pay for the food or to give some money to the poor. You say, how could they think that? Remember, they're stunned over the fact that one of them is a betrayer. I'm not sure they even heard Jesus. He doesn't say he shouted that. He could have said it softly to Judas. Go after it.
Get on with it. Get out. And we read, Judas left at once. And it was night.
Night was never darker. Midnight in Judas' soul. William Barkley writes, when Jesus handed the morsel to Judas, it was a mark of special affection.
Apparently, Jesus was so much in the habit of doing this that it seemed nothing unusual to the other disciples. There is tragedy here. Again and again, Jesus appealed to that dark heart and again and again, Judas remained unmoved. God save us, writes Barkley, from being completely impervious to the appeal of love. I love that line. It applies to some of you.
Quite likely. You have had one opportunity after another, after another, of receiving the grace of God and the love of the Savior. You've heard the gospel. You've even attended this service in other days. And you have heard me give the gospel message and you continue to reject it. This may be the day of your morsel. This may be the final occasion for you to hear the message of hope and forgiveness and love and grace. It was for Judas. He wasted no time.
He slipped away from his place at the table and went out into the night. And the rest, we know, led to the betrayal. I thought about this for quite some time. I see two or three areas of application that I think are are are worth mentioning. Each one has a has a word of caution. Each of the three lessons includes a cautionary word to all of us.
Here's the first. Too much time spent with evil invites closer ties with the enemy of your souls. Too much time spent with evil invites closer ties with the enemy of your souls. As you and I look back on our lives, we got into trouble most likely when we ran with the wrong group. Paul writes an interesting statement in that great chapter on the resurrection. First Corinthians 15, 33.
He refers to this very thing. Be not deceived. Evil company corrupts good morals. Who are you running with these days? Who are you spending your time with? Do they encourage your walk of faith?
Are you a better woman or man because of that companionship? What wonders what Judas did in his spare time? Interesting.
He found his way very easily to the temple and the captain of the guards. He got right in, didn't he? You wonder if he had met them before. Speculation, I realize. Too much time spent with evil invites closer ties with the enemy of your soul. You're listening to Insight for Living. We're midway through a study in Luke Chapter 22 in which Chuck Swindoll is describing the dramatic betrayal by Judas. There's much more that Chuck wants to show us.
He's titled his message On the Trail of a Traitor. I can't think of a better way to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus than hearing these brand new messages from Chuck. This six part series is called Compelled by the Cross and you can access related resources by going to insightworld.org slash studies. You might be surprised to learn that Chuck wrote an in-depth book about the final week in the life of Jesus.
It's called The Darkness and the Dawn. And if you're looking for a meaningful way to heighten your understanding and celebration of Easter, this book is the perfect choice. The subtitle is Empowered by the Tragedy and Triumph of the Cross. That's really the grand irony of the cross. Yes, his death was tragic.
But in those awful moments of a cruel crucifixion, Jesus unleashed his power to mankind. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who wishes to celebrate the resurrection in a fresh and meaningful way. Again, Chuck's book is called The Darkness and the Dawn, and you can purchase a copy right now by going to insight.org slash store or call us. If you're listening in the United States, call 800-772-8888. This daily program is made possible because people just like you give voluntary donations. And we're especially grateful for our regular monthly givers. We call them monthly companions of grace. If you're on this team of monthly givers, let me express our profound thanks for your trust and confidence in Insight for Living. Through your gifts, you're providing a constant source of reliable Bible teaching for people who've come to rely on Chuck's daily presence. To become a monthly companion right now, call us.
If you're listening in the United States, call 800-772-8888, or you can join the team by signing up online at insight.org slash donate. Take it from Chuck Swindoll. There's nothing quite like the beauty of the great frontier. Wide open skies, pristine glaciers with various shades of blue and turquoise mingled within them, towering pine trees and all manner of wildlife. I'll tell you, Alaska is truly a masterpiece of God's creation. I've been to a lot of places and seen a lot of things, but honestly, nothing compares to the beauty in Alaska.
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The tour to Alaska is paid for and made possible by only those who choose to attend. I'm Bill Meyer. Join us again next time when Chuck Swindoll continues to describe the betrayal of Judas right here on Insight for Living. The preceding message on the trail of a trader was copyrighted in 2022 and 2023, and the sound recording was copyrighted in 2023 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights are reserved worldwide. Duplication of copyrighted material for commercial use is strictly prohibited.
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