The Horror of Horror Stories

Scripture: Matthew 26:17-30, NLT

17 On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Where do you want us to prepare the Passover meal for you?” 18 “As you go into the city,” he told them, “you will see a certain man. Tell him, ‘The Teacher says: My time has come, and I will eat the Passover meal with my disciples at your house.’” 19 So the disciples did as Jesus told them and prepared the Passover meal there. 20 When it was evening, Jesus sat down at the table with the Twelve. 21 While they were eating, he said, “I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me.” 22 Greatly distressed, each one asked in turn, “Am I the one, Lord?” 23 He replied, “One of you who has just eaten from this bowl with me will betray me. 24 For the Son of Man must die, as the Scriptures declared long ago. But how terrible it will be for the one who betrays him. It would be far better for that man if he had never been born!”

25 Judas, the one who would betray him, also asked, “Rabbi, am I the one?” And Jesus told him, “You have said it.”

26 As they were eating, Jesus took some bread and blessed it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, “Take this and eat it, for this is my body.” 27 And he took a cup of wine and gave thanks to God for it. He gave it to them and said, “Each of you drink from it, 28 for this is my blood, which confirms the covenant between God and his people. It is poured out as a sacrifice to forgive the sins of many. 29 Mark my words—I will not drink wine again until the day I drink it new with you in my Father’s Kingdom.”

30 Then they sang a hymn and went out to the Mount of Olives.

INTRODUCTION

A lengthy text today and one that lends itself to many subjects. We could talk about Passover or the Lord’s Supper and the New Covenant. We could talk about Jesus courage to sing the Hillel [Psalm 116] in the face of death but today I want us to focus on Judas and the tragic horror story that surround his brief life.

I. FIRST OF ALL: LOOK AT HIS SIN COVERED

Dr. Warren Wiersbe says that Judas sat to the left of Jesus and John on the right. Judas had to have been close because a part of the conversation he has with Jesus was unheard by the other disciples. First Jesus announces that one of the twelve will betray him [v.21] Greatly distressed each one asked, “Am I the one Lord?” They spoke out loud from all points of the table but Judas was sitting right beside Jesus.

Jesus then says in verse 24… For the Son of Man must die, as the Scriptures declared long ago. But how terrible it will be for the one who betrays him. It would be far better for that man if he had never been born!”

Then Judas must have whispered, “Rabbi, am I the one?” You will not that the eleven addressed Jesus as Lord and Judas called him Rabbi [Teacher/Master].

So we have this private conversation going on at the table. The other eleven had no clue that Judas was the traitor. If they had known, they would have done everything in their power to have stopped him. They did not know.

In Judas we see man’s ability to hid his sin, to cover his true self. Judas was so good at acting that no one knew. The writer of Hebrews says in chapter 3… Be careful then, dear brothers and sisters. Make sure that your own hearts are not evil and unbelieving, turning you away from the living God. You must warn each other every day, while it is still “today,” so that none of you will be deceived by sin and hardened against God.

Sin is deceptive in two ways: [1] First Judas deceived others by covering his motives [2] Judas was himself deceived in that he did not see the horror of his sin. You see it, the other 11 saw it but Judas did not see the horror of his sin. He does later, after the fact, but here at the table, he sees nothing wrong with his sin.

II. BUT DO NOTICE: JESUS CONFRONTS JUDAS WITH HIS SIN

The ERV translates verse 25…“Teacher, surely I am not the one you are talking about, am I?” Jesus answered, “Yes, it is you.” Notice how loving and gentle Jesus is in confronting Judas with his sin. Jesus doesn’t jump up on the table and point a finger at Judas and say, “Judas is a traitor…Judas is a traitor”…Jesus does not attempt to coerce Judas; Jesus used no pressure at all. Jesus confronts him with his sin and he made it clear that it was a horrible choice. Jesus said, “It would have been better for you that you had never been born.”

Remember this: when no one else sees our sin, Jesus sees not only the sin but the outcome. Why do we hid sin in the first place? It’s human nature. We want to put our best foot forward. We all work at making people think that we are better than we actually are but this acting does not work with Jesus. He had a term for actors, Jesus called them hypocrites.

III. THE THIRD THING I WANT YOU TO SEE IN THIS HORROR STORY IS: THE SIN CHERISHED.

All Judas had to do was “Let it go” but he couldn’t do it. My brother died at the age of 69 and his son at age 52. Both were chain smokers: all they had to do was “Let it go.” Elvis died of a drug overdose…He might be living today had he been able to “let go” of drugs. I think Judas had a plan, other than God’s plan. I think he was trying to force Jesus to take a stand and fight. Judas knew that Jesus had supernatural power and he wanted Him to use that power to gain political advantage. I think Judas was more into power than money. He refused to let go of his plan of his ambition for power.

Why don’t we let go of our sin? Deep down, we know what we are doing is wrong but we refuse to let go because of the pleasure our sin brings. There is pleasure in sin, otherwise temptation would lose its power but the pleasure is for a season; eventually, all the pleasure will turn to pain.

Judas refused to repent. He refused to let go of his sin.

IV. THE FOURTH AND FINAL THING I WANT YOU TO NOTICE IS THE: CONSEQUENCES OF SIN

Sin is deceitfully attractive. Paul said, “Even the devil can disguise himself as an angel of light.” The problem of sin is simple: we do not see it as it is. Jesus could see the hideous face of sin but we are blinded. Once we see sin the way he sees it, we can’t abandon it fast enough. Judas made a bad decision and then he reaped a horrible consequence. As Jesus said, “It would have been better had he never been born.”

Don’t picture Judas as the out and out rebel. He was not an overt trouble maker. No one in the group knew what he was capable of other than Jesus. Judas represents your smug church member, possibly a leader serving on some important committee. Judas is there every time the doors are open. Judas may be the treasurer. Judas goes out on church visitation. Judas teaches and preaches. Judas even cast out demons. So don’t get the idea that Judas is out there, Judas is in the building, he doesn’t miss. Judas is the church member who has never repented. The one who sees Jesus as a Teacher but not as LORD. Our churches are filled with the unsurrendered. These folks have their own personal agenda and it is hidden from all except Christ who sees the heart. Jesus said Himself, “Unless you repent, you will all like wise perish.”

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