Compline – Sermon 83

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



Tonight’s reading focuses on one of the principle characters and key events of Holy week. – The Betrayal of Jesus by Judas Iscariot

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

Betrayal by the crowd – by strangers – is bad enough – but betrayal by someone close to you can be nothing less than heart breaking


point 1     Betrayal and forgiveness

The bond of friendship between Jesus and Judas was strong – After all Judas had spent the last 31/2 years of his life with Jesus – they must have walked hundreds of miles together – slept under the stars together – He was one of the 12 – chosen and trusted – who was given special teaching on who Jesus is and why He came

Judas also saw and witnessed many of Jesus’ miracles – the wedding at Cana – the feeding of the 5000 – he saw the lame man walk – the blind man see – he was there when Jesus called Lazarus out of his tomb – and only hours before – Jesus had washed his feet –

During their meal in the upper room – Judas was inclined to Jesus’ left and John to His right –

They could easily talk to one another without attracting the attention of the other disciples – or allowing any of them to hear or understand what was said –

Jesus’ first announcement of a betrayer disturbed the group – but – Judas – wasn’t named – instead Jesus continued to treat him as He treated the others – in the hope that he might admit his sin – and change his mind –

No one knew from Jesus’ attitude what Judas was about to do –

Then when John – egged on by Peter – probed Jesus further to name His betrayer – Jesus gave Judas another chance to come clean –

“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 another is an act of great friendship – a bit like proposing a toast to someone – so again Jesus was offering Judas a way back –

Jesus gave the bread to Judas – and he accepted it – he must have realized then – that Jesus knew everything – and that the truth of his actions were laid bare –

“do quickly what you have to do” – He said –

Judas left – and – John finished the verse with the words – “it was night” –

Judas’ walk in – perpetual darkness had begun – If he hadn’t known then – surely he would have realized later that the friend he was to betray was non other than God Himself – eventually the Guilt and burden he would have to bear – would be too much.

Throughout that night – and over the next 3 days – it will seem as if the darkness has triumphed – Judas lead the soldiers towards Jesus – and betrayed Him again – with a kiss – Jesus was arrested – brought to trial and finally beaten and nailed to a cross to die – but on that third day – the light returned – and darkness was defeated –

As Jesus puts it – “the Son of Man is glorified –and in Him God is glorified – In the days to come Christ’s death and resurrection will become – a light that will shine brighter than anything seen before –

Jesus shows us that the only way to respond to betrayal – is to turn the shock and anger of it into love and compassion – He didn’t let his anger at sin turn into anger towards the sinner – He tried to help Judas turn back from the path he had chosen – before it was too late –

If we are betrayed we have to stay out of the dark – take our pain to the light – to Jesus – who has already experienced it – and who will help us respond

The real sin of Judas was not in the doubting or the actual betrayal of Jesus – but in his failure to understand God’s forgiveness – Peter – who later betrayed Jesus – three times – was able to face his weakness – and receive forgiveness –

Our response too – must always be to seek and accept the forgiveness of God –

No matter how far we’ve strayed – Jesus offers us a way back – 


So in this Holy Week – As we offer ourselves to God – Lets – let go of our pride and take Jesus’ offer of forgiveness and love

Closing prayer