Compline – Sermon 50

13th February 2011 Off By Derek Buckthorpe

Prayer to start

May the words of my lips and the thoughts of our hearts be graciously received for the Glory and Honour of our Lord Jesus Christ

AMEN

Introduction

I promise to tell the truth – the whole truth and nothing but the truth

Words a witness might say in a court of Law before admitting or testifying to something they have seen – or know to be true –

But outside the court of Law – how good are we at admitting the truth –

In our reading we are told of the dialogue between Jesus and His disciples – when He identifies Judas as His betrayer – in the upper room

“In very truth I tell you, one of you is going to betray me”

It’s a time of immense distress for Jesus – not because of what He knew was to come – but because He was grieving for His friend – who was about to throw His life away

 

point 1   Appeal of truth and Love

Judas had drifted into a life of deceit – earlier in the gospel – John talks about Judas “pilfering money from their common purse” – yet all the time he was pretending to be a faithful disciple –

We are not told why he stole the money or what he wanted it for – or indeed why someone who Jesus had personally chosen as His disciple – could end up having such a major role in Jesus’ death

Judas personifies – in a dramatic fashion what might be called “the problem of evil” – there are many examples – in our own society –

Non of us – not even John – can really comprehend – how anyone could do such a thing – its beyond understanding – that’s the problem with evil – we can’t justify it – we can only ask for forgiveness when we have done it –

But Jesus does not single out Judas as His betrayer – instead of pointing him out there and then – He says nothing and so offers Him a chance – to change his mind – to come to Him – quietly – without any bullying or shaming – and say – “yes I am the one” – but the appeal is met with silence –

Urged on by Peter – who wanted to know who the culprit was – perhaps worrying in case it was him – “the disciple who He loved” – reclined close to Jesus and asked Him to name the betrayer –

Jesus answers his question but in a round about way – to protect Judas from the scorn of the others

“It is the one to whom I give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish”

To dip a piece of bread in a common bowl and offer it to someone was to show them special honour – Jesus was now offering Judas an intimate gesture of love and friendship –

For a second time Jesus was offering Judas a way back –
If we can’t see for ourselves the truth of our self destructive actions – and then Jesus simply offers us His love –

No matter how far we have strayed – He pleads for our return – no guilt – no punishment – unconditional love and forgiveness

When Judas accepted the bread – he must have seen that Jesus knew everything – that the truth of his actions were laid bare – but again Judas said nothing –

by accepting the bread and saying nothing – Judas was in fact throwing Jesus’ offer of friendship and love back at Him – instead of accepting communion with Him – He was rejecting Him – and at that point Satan entered –

“do quickly what you have to do” – Jesus said this so as not to disturb His communion with the other disciples –

Judas leaves – and the time for the crucifixion is near – as John writes – the darkness has its day –

But the light still shines in the Upper Room
Jesus announces that it is time for the Son and the Father to be Glorified – In the days to come Christ’s death and resurrection will become – a light that will shine brighter than anything seen before – across the whole world –

Jesus calls us to the truth – He offers us a chance to see it and acknowledge it – and to accept that we have strayed from His path – but unlike the rooms of justice in our courts – no punishment is waiting for us – instead He gives us love and forgiveness –

 
Conclusion 

Through the power of the Holy Spirit may we always follow the His marvelous light – and see the truth through the loving eyes of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ –

Closing prayer

AMEN