- Sermon Notes
He’s Not Finished
As we continue our study in Matthew 26, we shift from a scene where a woman brings her best to Jesus because she knew He was worth her very best, to a disciple named Judas who thought Jesus was worth much less. So much less that he was willing to identify and betray Jesus so that that those planning to seize and kill Him could pursue His arrest.
Though Judas was handpicked as a disciple of Jesus and in close proximity to Jesus throughout His ministry. Though Judas had heard the sermon on the mount, heard both the Olivet and Upper Room Discourse, had seen the power Jesus displayed over sickness, disease, demons, and nature. Though he had heard and seen the reality of the most profound truth and teaching in history, he was unwilling to believe and apply the truth personally, even in the hour when it was the truth of God’s mercy and grace that he needed to turn to desperately.
Judas gave up on Jesus by turning on Him, instead of turning to Him. I believe wholeheartedly that if Judas had turned to Jesus, he would have been forgiven. This is important for us to see because there are failures, mistakes, setbacks, and decisions we make that can leave us feeling like there is no place for us when it comes to life with Jesus. But Jesus came to bring life despite our mistakes. And when we our decisions leave us dejected and diminished; we need to be reminded that Jesus is not finished. Judas gave up and turned away before seeing the culmination of what Jesus came, to conquer death and provide the only way for sinners to be saved.
Read: Matthew 26:14-30
We know from the beginning of Matthew chapter 26 and John 12 that a woman named Mary had brought her best to Jesus by pouring out a pound of costly perfume on Jesus’ head and feet. It was at that point that Judas calls the offering of her best being applied to Jesus, a “waste.” His stated desire was the perfume would have been of better use had it been sold and given to the poor. What we know from John 12 is that Judas did not say this because he wanted to give the money to the poor, but because he was a thief, in charge of the money box, and used to pilfer what was put into it.
It was at that point that Jesus rebuked and corrected Judas, telling him to “leave her alone,” that what she had done was “a good deed.” It is at that point Judas goes to the chief priests in order to find out what they are willing to give to him to betray Jesus.
I. Understand What Jesus Willingly Gave
Matthew 26:14-30, Then one of the twelve, named Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests, and said, “What are you willing to give me to betray Him to you?” And they weighed out thirty pieces of silver to him. From then on, he began looking for a good opportunity to betray Jesus.
- In seeing what took place, one of Jesus 12 disciples willing to turn his back and betray Jesus, the question that immediately comes to mind is, “why?”
- Why was he willing to betray Him? Why, after all he had seen and heard, why would he do this?
- Many attempts and assertions have been suggested or applied to answer the question “why would Judas do such a thing?”
- Of the assertions that have been put forth for reason behind Judas’ betrayal, none of them seem adequate for such a deed.
Illus. Assertions as to “why?”
- While certain assertions have been put forth, and some may be accurate in part, the only clear motivation we can see is what Judas was offered by the chief priests…money.
- Judas knew that the religious leaders had it in for Jesus. He knew they had the power to arrest Jesus, so that is where Judas went.
- Judas went to the religious leaders and asked what they were willing to offer him financially, and the price they were willing to pay and the amount Judas was willing to betray him for, was 30 pieces of silver.
- 30 pieces of silver was the price paid for the accidental death of a slave if they were killed accidentally by an ox according to Ex. 21:32. It is important to know that 30 pieces of silver was not a large sum of money but was what they were willing to pay.
- And though not a large sum of money, was the amount Judas was willing to take as his pay.
- It was also an amount that was prophesied in Zechariah 11:12, and spoken of in Matthew 27 as a prophecy regarding the Messiah, Jesus.
- As soon as Judas agreed, the money is weighed out immediately, and the pursuit of Judas life turned from following Jesus, to betraying Him as verse 16 tells us from then on he “began looking for a good opportunity to betray Jesus.”
- Still, we ask…why? It makes no sense…it seems so unreasonable. And it leads us to one of the most important conclusions we could come to in this life, that sin is never reasonable!
Quote – Many have sold Jesus for a less price than Judas received; a smile or a sneer has been sufficient to induce them to betray their Lord. (Charles Spurgeon)
Illus. Uneven exchange.
- This is what Judas needed to know, see, and seek; not what the chief priest were willing to give him for Jesus, but what Jesus was willing to and going to give…His life on the cross.
- Judas would not see it, because he turned away too soon, asking what the others would give him to betray Jesus, not understanding the reality of what Jesus was willing to give, and that the only way to true victory in this life in into eternity was and is Jesus Christ.
- And in our lives currently, regarding all this world has to give and uneven exchanges and offers that come your way or tempt you to turn away from Jesus, it is imperative to look back to what Judas should have looked forward to and understand what Jesus willingly gave.
1 Corinthians 15:3-4, For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.
2 Corinthians 5:21, He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
- Judas was so set on the way he understood things to be personally, that he was unwilling to see what Jesus was willing to give.
- Our opportunity in this life is to understand that Jesus willing gave His life, so that by His death, we might have life.
Isaiah 53:5, He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.
Acts 4:12, Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.
- Settle on a Seat with Jesus
- The seat Judas should have settled into in his life, next to Jesus, is powerfully pictured when the disciples celebrate the Passover meal.
- As we looked at last week, the Passover was celebrated each year to commemorate God’s deliverance of Israel from their slavery in Egypt (Ex. 11-12).
- The Passover meal was eaten after sunset and before midnight. The Jewish day began at sundown, so, it is important to note that as the sun sets, this Passover meal, this last supper is on the same day Jesus would be crucified.
Matthew 26:20-25, Now when evening came, Jesus was reclining at the table with the twelve disciples.
- Reclining at the table symbolized the freedom the people had gained after their first Passover and subsequent release from slavery in Egypt.
- The meal was organized by drinking four cups of red wine, symbolizing the four-part promise of redemption found in Exodus 6:6-7.
Illus. Meal program.
- So, while enjoying the meal and celebrating the Passover, Jesus reveals to the twelve disciples that one of them will betray Him.
- I am not sure what the tone of the moment was when He said this, but with the typical tone being familial, endearing, relaxing, and laid back, it seems the situation changes with those words.
- In response to His words, the disciples, each one of the disciples began to ask if they were who Jesus was referring to.
- Ultimately, Judas speaks up, “surely, it is not I, Rabbi?” Jesus responded, “you have said it yourself.”
- In John 13, we see it play out a bit differently, in that, they began asking one another if it was them. And John, who is leaning up against Jesus asks Jesus who is it.
John 13:26, Jesus answered, “It is the one to whom I will give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.” Then, dipping the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas…
- Jesus dipped bread into the dish and handed it to Judas. Judas was the one who would betray Jesus. In Matthew, Jesus says to him, “you have said it yourself.”
- Judas was going to betray Jesus, we saw it take place, and here Jesus made it clear amongst His disciples.
- What is also clear, however, is where Judas was seated. He was one of His disciples, he had a seat at the table with Jesus, was offered a place amongst Jesus’ people, yet he was willing and ready to betray Jesus, despite the seat he had been given.
Illus. Judas’ Seat.
- Judas had a seat amongst the disciples of Jesus, but it was a seat he was not willing to settle into.
- And Jesus was still willing for Judas to have a seat at His table…But Judas would not settle into that seat.
- Judas could have chosen Jesus, he could have chosen to settle into, on and upon the seat Jesus would provide. But Judas chose not to.
- Judas chose to follow through with his betrayal of Jesus. Even at that point when Judas follows through with his betrayal of Jesus.
- Why would Jesus seat Judas amongst His disciples? Why would allow him to be in charge of the money amongst the disciples? Why would He call Him friend even to the end, when Judas was determined to betray Him? Likely, He was providing Judas a way out if he would take it…
1 Corinthians 10:13, No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.
Ephesians 2:4-7, But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
- When we came to Jesus, we were both loved and lifted up by the Lord. He raised us up together and seated us with Christ.
- In John 11, we see Lazarus raised from the dead. Then in John 12, he is seated with Christ around the table.
- The same is true for those of you in Christ, when you came to Him you were made alive by Him, and now you can come to His table.
Revelation 3:20, Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me. He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.
- And God, who is rich in mercy, offers us a seat. A seat with Christ in heavenly places. He offers us the certainty of salvation, but we must receive the Savior, Jesus, personally.
- Allow Jesus a Better Word
Romans 6:23, For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
- Judas chose the wages of His sin, rather than the free gift of eternal life.
- Judas declared it finished for himself. But if He would have allowed Jesus to bring a better word to him, and allowed Jesus word into his life, he would have understood that he did not need to pay his own way, and that Jesus had come to bring a better word and provide a better way.
Illus. Picking up the pieces.
Hebrews 12:24, Jesus [is] the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.
- When Cain killed Abel, God said “Abel’s blood cries out to me” (Gen. 4:10). What was it that Abel’s blood cried? Revenge, Justice, Judgement.
- But the blood of Jesus also cries out. Mercy. Forgiveness. Restoration. Grace. Jesus blood speaks a better word.
- Would you allow Jesus blood applied in and over your life to speak a better word?
- That is what Judas needed to do. He needed to understand why Jesus had come, understand what Jesus was going to do, settle on a seat with Him, and allow Jesus to bring and apply a better word into and upon his life.
Luke 19:10, For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.
Romans 10:13, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
- In verses 26 to 30, Jesus goes on to point them to the new covenant and a call to communion.
- For the Israelites, each element of the Passover meal had significant meaning associated with their salvation from Egypt. But here, on this Passover, Jesus would become the Lamb who was slain for the forgiveness of our sins.
- It is while at the table with His disciples that Jesus would reinterpret two elements at the Passover table that would bring showing that He was the completion and fulfillment of the Passover, sacrificed for the deliverance of mankind.
- He begins with the bread.
Matthew 26:26-30, While they were eating, Jesus took some bread, and after a blessing, He broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.”
- The bread being blessed and broken is matzoh (unleavened bread).
- In Scripture, leaven is of seen as symbolic of sin, thus, bread without leaven represents the body of our sinless Savior.
- It is a picture of the righteousness of our Savior, Jesus, which is a gift given, and nothing we could ever obtain on our own.
- The broken bread would speak of His body.
Isaiah 53:4-5, Surely, he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.
- Just as the Israelites would remember and commemorate when God saved them from the grip of slavery in Egypt. We remember and commemorate in communion our salvation from the grip of sin.
Luke 22:19, This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”
- Next is the cup, which spoke of His blood. The blood of Christ speaks a better word, the blood of the new covenant, which speaks the better word of grace, mercy, and the forgiveness of sins.
- The Passover remembers when Israel was redeemed out of slavery in Egypt when the blood of a lamb was applied to the doorposts and lintel of a house so that death would “Passover” that house and they would be saved by the blood.
Exodus 12:7, Moreover, they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses in which they eat it.
- It is the blood of Jesus that must be applied to our lives and drinking of the cup is the symbol of that very thing; that we have asked for the blood of Christ to be applied to our lives.
- The scripture says that the wages of sin is death; therefore, applying the blood of a lamb who was slain is a picture of applying the death of Christ to us so that our sins have been forgiven.
Matthew 26:27-28, And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you; for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins. But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.”
Then one of the twelve, named Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “What are you willing to give me to betray Him to you?” And they weighed out thirty pieces of silver to him. From then on he began looking for a good opportunity to betray Jesus. Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Where do You want us to prepare for You to eat the Passover?” And He said, “Go into the city to a certain man, and say to him, ‘The Teacher says, “My time is near; I am to keep the Passover at your house with My disciples.”’” The disciples did as Jesus had directed them; and they prepared the Passover. Now when evening came, Jesus was reclining at the table with the twelve disciples. As they were eating, He said, “Truly I say to you that one of you will betray Me.” Being deeply grieved, they each one began to say to Him, “Surely not I, Lord?” And He answered, “He who dipped his hand with Me in the bowl is the one who will betray Me. The Son of Man is to go, just as it is written of Him; but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had not been born.” And Judas, who was betraying Him, said, “Surely it is not I, Rabbi?” Jesus *said to him, “You have said it yourself.” While they were eating, Jesus took some bread, and after a blessing, He broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you; for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins. But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.” After singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.