Sunday, January 22, 2012

John 13 21 to 32

21 When Jesus had thus said, he was troubled in spirit, and testified, and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me.
22 Then the disciples looked one on another, doubting of whom he spake.
23 Now there was leaning on Jesus' bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved.
24 Simon Peter therefore beckoned to him, that he should ask who it should be of whom he spake.
25 He then lying on Jesus' breast saith unto him, Lord, who is it?
26 Jesus answered, He it is, to whom I shall give a sop, when I have dipped it. And when he had dipped the sop, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon.
27 And after the sop Satan entered into him. Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly.
28 Now no man at the table knew for what intent he spake this unto him.
29 For some of them thought, because Judas had the bag, that Jesus had said unto him, Buy those things that we have need of against the feast; or, that he should give something to the poor.
30 He then having received the sop went immediately out: and it was night.
31 Therefore, when he was gone out, Jesus said, Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in him.
32 If God be glorified in him, God shall also glorify him in himself, and shall straightway glorify him.

Key Observation:
Jesus gives permission to Judas to betray Him, and this confounds me with sovereignty and free will working together.

Simon Peter leads the way in asking, but asks John, because John, as the best friend of Jesus is sitting right next to Jesus and is thus in-between Peter and Jesus. John asks the question, which evidently is answered in a low enough tone that most of those present, especially Judas, do not hear the reply.

I do not know what Judas thought when Jesus gave His permission to Judas to betray Him. Did Judas realize what was behind the statement: “That thou doest, do quickly”? I do know that Satan was already in Judas, tempting him to do that which Judas had already been considering. As previously mentioned, I think that Judas reacted to the money that Mary had spent on the perfume, more than a year’s wages, evidently deciding this was the last straw, for Matthew tells of Judas going to the leaders to betray Jesus directly after this.

How beautifully God has interwoven the will of man with the sovereignty of God. Psalm 109 really is a prophetic foretelling of Judas, and we learn that Satan entered Judas from Luke 22. But from John, we learn that Judas was already a thief, and habitually stole money (John 12:6). So which is more important—the sovereignty of God, or the will and nature of Judas? I do not think it answerable, but rather I think that we see them harmonizing together in some intangible or unknowable way to the glory of God, that He might be completely sovereign, and that Judas might be held completely responsible for his betrayal.

I do not believe man is made to explain this mystery of God—the harmonizing of responsibility and sovereignty; Tozer says somewhere (I have not had much luck in retrieving it) that if we insist on lifting either responsibility or sovereignty too high, we diminish the one at the expense of the other. I do believe that, as the Bible presents both, and I do believe it is my duty and obligation to choose to believe what the Word says, no matter the difficulty in resolving what John Piper and Roger Olson both confess as paradoxes of their different systematic theologies.

Explain the Trinity to me—you can’t. Explain to me how Jesus can be both fully man and God—you can’t. But we believe these doctrines in spite of their irresolvable difficulties. I do believe it is so with election and human responsibility—we must believe the Scriptures as they are presented, and leave room later for God to show His complete righteousness and the fallibility and responsibility of man. What a better testimony the church would have if we left the mysteries of God to God, and instead got back to our known and plain duties of loving each other and persuading men of the Christ!

Almost Persuaded

1. "Almost persuaded" now to believe;
"Almost persuaded" Christ to receive:
Seems now some soul will say,
"Go Spirit, go Thy way;
Some more convenient day
On Thee I'll call."

2. "Almost persuaded," come, come today;
"Almost persuaded," turn not away:
Jesus invites you here,
Angels are lingering near,
Prayers rise from hearts so dear,
O wanderer, come.

3. "Almost persuaded," harvest is past!
"Almost persuaded," doom comes at last!
"Almost" cannot avail,
"Almost" is but to fail!
Sad, sad, that bitter wail,
"Almost," but lost!

Lyrics: Philip Paul Bliss

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