Compline Address – Sermon 211

COMPLINE ADDRESS

 

Wednesday 4th April 2012

Bible References :

  • Add Text Link Here
  • Add Text Link Here
  • Add Text Link Here

Prayer to start

May the words of my lips and the thoughts of our heart be graciously received for the glory and honour of our Lord Jesus Christ

 

AMEN

 

INTRODUCTION

 

The subject of the verses just read is a painful one

 

It describes the last scene between Jesus and Judas Escariot  – before Judas betrays Him – they contain almost the last words between them –

 

In our readings tomorrow we will hear the last words that Jesus has for His faithful eleven – and to them He will give a new commandment – to love – as He loves  –

 

but for now – Jesus’  focus is on the lost sheep – the one who got away –

 

First Point  Jesus’ response to Betrayal

 

Imagine the scene – its shortly after the foot washing – Judas and the ‘disciple who He loved’   –  were seated close to Jesus –

 

There would be a lot of talking –  sharing – enjoying of their supper – going on – when suddenly Jesus  – declares to everyone  – that He is troubled in Spirit

 

‘ Very truly I tell you one of you will betray me’

 

The disciples looked at one another uncertain of whom He was speaking – a natural reaction of those who were innocent and had no idea of what was happening  –

 

but Jesus’ outburst – would be a signal to Judas – that  his secret was out – that Jesus knew what He was intending –

 

Jesus’ distress was not only because of what He knew was to come –  but also because he was grieving for His friend –

 

After all – they had spent some years together – Judas was one of the trusted 12 – who had been given special teaching and –  seen at first hand some of the miracles that Jesus had performed – the one who took on the finances of the group – and now he was about to throw his life away –

 

Jesus doesn’t name Judas – out loud – but allows Him to make his own response –

 

The two men were seated close to each other and  –  they could easily talk or whisper without attracting the attention of the other disciples or allowing them to hear what was said –

 

but Judas remains silent – not taking the opportunity to speak to Jesus –

 

Then the ‘disciple who Jesus loved’ – egged on by Peter – asked Jesus the question – that the others all wanted to put – and Jesus gave Judas another chance to come clean –

 

‘Lord, who is it?’

 

‘It is the one I give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish’

 

Dipping a piece of bread in the dish and passing it to someone is something  – you would do for a  special friend –

 

so again Jesus was giving Judas an opportunity  – to come to Him – to turn back – from his planned course –

 

Judas accepts the bread but again  – says nothing –

 

The conversation between Jesus and Judas almost appears to have been one way – Jesus offering everything –  and Judas saying nothing –

 

at this point John says – satan entered Judas –

 

The word satan in Hebrew means ‘accuser’ – someone who brings a charge or prosecution against someone else  – Judas is being used by the forces of darkness – to bring a charge against Jesus –  the messenger of light –

 

Jesus’  response was swift – and direct – ‘do quickly what you are going to do’.

 

Judas left –  and John finishes the verse with the words – ‘it was night’ – signifying that the confrontation between darkness and light was coming to a climax.

 

Point 2  Jesus’ amazing love

 

Jesus had come to Jerusalem  – knowing that the knives were out for Him – that here His enemies were determined to silence Him –

 

They even turned one of His closest followers against Him –

 

Yet He carried on refusing to be deflected from His path –

 

He went willing to His death – despite all that it cost Him – despite the emotional and physical trauma He endured – and the motive behind it all was love

 

love for us all  – love that heals  – changes and transforms –  a love that brings hope – joy and life to those who accept it –

 

And this  love –  will be the badge that future Christian Communities will wear before the watching world

 

Jesus’ love is unshakable – and would have melted the Judas’ heart if He had chosen to accept it –

 

Jesus shows us that the only way to respond to betrayal – is to turn shock and anger into love and compassion –

 

He was ready to help Judas turn back from the sinful path he had chosen – before it was too late – and we too must always seek His forgiveness – no matter how far we have strayed-

 

Ending

 

So in this Holy Week –  let’s remember the story of Judas  – and recognise that no matter how bad it gets –  the shepherd  will always be ready – to do His utmost to bring His lost sheep home

 

and  when it comes to our salvation – lets make sure that Jesus has the last word –

 

Prayer to Finish

 

AMEN