Jesus Takes the Dirt
I want to look at this intersection of the most terrific person, Jesus Christ, and the most tragic person, Judas Iscariot. I invite you to turn to your Bibles to John chapter 13. We are going to received a word from God, by opening the Word of God. I want you to imagine that you know that you have less than a week to live. Imagine that you are healthy, well, and the reason you are going to die is because a pretend friend of yours, a betrayer, has for a few years been plotting against you. That have a plot to murder you. And then you are coming face-to-face with that person on the final days of your life, this is someone who you have loved, this is someone you have loved, served and someone you have been generous and kind towards and in return they have been nothing but a pretend friend. Some of us knows what it means to be betrayed by a friend, a spouse, a co-worker, business partner, or one of your children. So, as we read John chapter 13, I want us to see what exactly it means when Jesus loves us. John chapter 13, verses 1-5.
"It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end."
So this is a holiday season. When these come for us, these are generally joyous occasions. You get time off from work and spend it with family and friends. Think Christmas, Easter, your birthday. It’s a happy time, and people come together and break bread together and make memories. Jesus in the story line of John’s Gospel in the last week of the last week of his life. “Having loved” there is our theme.
John 13:2 "The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus."
Judas at this point has already made a covenant or agreement with Satan, that he is going to betray Jesus for thirty pieces of silver. That’s a few hundred bucks. We have to ask ourselves fearfully, what would I exchange our relationship Jesus for? Sex, money, fame, power, glory, independence, health? For Judas, it was a few hundred bucks. Judas has already made his decision on how he is going to treat Jesus. He is going to reject Jesus. How many of you have a son? This is the only time that this man’s name appears in the Bible and its that he raised a son that betrayed Jesus. I pray for us, and let us pray for our son’s a daughters that we do not or have not whose legacy is betraying the Lord Jesus Christ. You men who are here today, its not just you, its your children, and their children’s children who should carry the faith. Be thinking in terms of legacy and linage. I know that normally it is the women who raise the children, women who go to church, who serve the church, and it is the men who are absent. We need you men to be present to raise and love your children into a relationship with God. If you don’t you will automatically have children that enter a covenant with Satan and betray Jesus. If you don’t you will automatically have church that enter a covenant with Satan and betray Jesus.
John 13:3-5 "Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
First, let be talk a little about Jesus and Judas.
Question: Was Jesus a good friend of Judas. Yes. Did Jesus serve Judas? Yes. Did Jesus love Judas? Yes. Did Jesus feed Judas? Yes. Was Judas there when Jesus preached his sermons? Yes or no? Yes. Was he there when Jesus did his miracles? Yes or no? Yes. Judas had a privilege seat in the history of the world to witness the person and work, the words and the deeds, of Jesus. You can have all the facts and experienced with Jesus, but that doesn’t mean you will believe and accept Jesus. Judas, he had a front row seat, but He is ultimately going to betray Jesus with a kiss. Some may know someone who did the same to their spouse. He is then going to hand Jesus over to be murdered. Then Judas is going to hang himself and went to hell. We all say when a person dies, they went to a better place. Some don’t. Heaven in not just a place, it’s a person, and his name is Jesus Christ. If you don’t love Jesus, you won’t be going to be in the same place with him forever. Jesus speaks of hell more than anyone else in the Bible. We need to know this. For those who love Jesus, this life is as close to hell you will be. For those who do not love Jesus, this life is as close to Heaven you will be.
Judas gives us this terrible, worrying story. We can look at this one or two ways, religiously or repentantly. If you choose to look religiously, we will say “What a horrible man! Thank you God I am not like him.” Or we can look at it repentantly, saying “God, am I prone to follow in his example and suffer his fate. Please save me from myself. Jesus not only saves us from hell, he saves us from ourselves. Judas, he is unwilling to be saved.
Six lessons from Judas. 1. Sometimes you bear no responsibility for a person who betrays you, betrays Jesus, and wrecks their life and shipwrecks their faith. Some of you know what it is to love someone like Jesus loved Judas and to see them go on a path of self-destruction and utter destruction. They are drinking themselves to death, addicted, they are out of control, their life is self-destructive. You are or have watched it, and you love them and to be sure it is reasonable to ask, the question what else could I have done or said? In the example of Judas and Jesus there’s nothing else that could have been said or could have been done because Jesus is perfect. And Jesus had a perfect relationship with Judas. For some of you, I need to unburden you. If the holy spirit give you conviction that in a relationship you have contributed to someone’s pain, I want you to own that, repent of that, and move forward. But foremost of you, there are people that you love and are destroying themselves and you are carrying a burden that it not your burden to bear.
2. Sitting under good Bible teaching is not enough to believe it. For three years Judas went to the University of Jesus Christ. Every class he took was taught of Jesus Christ. Every lesson he learned came from the lips of Jesus Christ. Every question he asked was answered by Jesus Christ. And he didn’t believe any of it. Let me remind us of another passage. “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” (James 1:22). I can make sure that you get the word of God, but you have to make sure that the Word of God gets into you. Judas’ problem wasn’t with information but transformation. Because knowledge puffs up and love builds up. Judas didn’t love Jesus. I know you receive good Bible teachings here, but do you receive it? Is it just for information or transformation? If you don't, you are not only a person who is only a deceiver but self deceived.
3. The Church has wheat and tares. Jesus says that there are what and tares, meaning that as you look out at a field, you will see crops and weeds growing together. And some of us, we are not sure, is that crop or a weed. So it is with the church of Christ. Some people hold look at the disciples and say, well, look at Judas he was a hypocrite. Well, he wasn’t a believer to begin with. He was really an unbeliever. Sometimes it is hard for us to know. I am sure this was a stunning moment for the disciples. In just a moment they will see Judas for who he is. It’s stunning. He was apart of our little church, he was a leader, he went to Bible college, memorized bible verses! Judas, works for satan. Yes, wheat ant tare grow in the same field and that is why Jesus tells us that he will sort it all out in the end. In the meanwhile, our job is to love people as Jesus did.
4. Your heart follows your wallet. He is the bookkeeper of Jesus’ ministry, and the entire time the Bible reveals else where that he has been stealing from the ministry account. Jesus knew this. I believe that hard words produce soft people and that soft words produce hard people. So, I am going to give us a hard word. How many of you have stolen from Jesus? How much has you stolen from Jesus. How much belongs to him that you have kept for yourself. The problem with Judas was that he saw it as his Monet not Jesus’ money. As a result he took what belonged to Jesus. You and I are prone to do this same thing. We have to be very careful that as we look at Judas we say, “Thank God I am not like that!” Jesus told a parable where a guy said exactly that, and that was his problem. When we look at the story we see Jesus and Judas and we have to ask ourselves, “am I Jesus or Judas?” The thing is that you are never Jesus, amen? If you read the Bible and think, here is Jesus, reminds me of me! You read it wrong. Jesus tells us this way, “where your treasure is, your what will be? Your heart! People say all the time, when I get my heart right, I will get my finances right. That’s not true. One way to straighten our your heart is to first strained out you finances. Judas was not a give, he was a taker. If God can get you to give, he can get you to for-give. Giving will transform you. Judas was not transformed, in part because he was not a giver. He didn’t understand giving, so he didn’t understand forgiving. So the man that didn’t give to the Lord, was not forgiven by the Lord.
5. You can fake your salvation. Judas did a good job at making us believe that he had salvation. So of us are like that. Judas went to church, you attend church, he learned the Bible, you learn the Bible, were in relationship with Godly people, you are in a relationship with Godly people. Paul tells the Corinthians to judge themselves, so today I will give you the gavel today. Judge for yourselves. Put yourself on trail and ask yourself “So I love the Lord Jesus Christ or am I faking it?” Judas could very well had faked it for three years.
6. The most important day of your life is the last day. Judas had some great days. He saw Jesus in the story-line of John’s gospel turn water int wine, he saw Jesus fed thousands with a boys lunch box contents, he saw Jesus water ski without a boat, He saw Jesus heal people without a copay or a deductible, that’s a miracle. Judas at this point has had an amazing life, he has stories, he can tell, On this day I saw this, and on this day I did that. The worst day was his lat day. The most important day of your life is the last day. Because that is the day that lunches you into eternity. Are you ready for your last day? I know that life seems long, and in ten thousands years, this life will seem very sort. Two lessons from Jesus: 1. Love is sometimes an emotion, but it is always an action. Love is sometimes what you feel, but it is always what you do. How do we know that Jesus loved Judas? It says, “Having loved them, he served them.” Husbands and fathers, I need you to hear this. Wives and mothers, I need you to hear this. Love is what you do. Love is what you do for the concern for the well being of the beloved. Here is what Jesus does, he serves them. Let me say this, Jesus is still serving people. Jesus fed them, he has been feeding you. Jesus housed them, he has been housing you. He protected them, he has been protecting you. Even if you are here believer or unbeliever, there are eleven believers here in the story, and one non-believer, and Jesus loved and served them all. Jesus is good, and serves all. But that doesn’t mean that things are OK. We might say, we have a job, we are healthy, my life is good, I thank God is pleased with me, I might not be the best person, but I feel God’s blessing on my life. Things must be fine. Things might not be fine. He wasn’t alright with Judas, so he might not be alright with you. He might just be loving and serving you giving you an invitation for a heart change.
2. Jesus does what no one else would do. Philippians chapter two talks about his humility. Jesus lived in Glory, he is the eternal God. He is seated on the throne, and served by angels. Angels, they don’t even take time for coffee. Jesus gets down from his phone, gets down to the earth. That is humility. At dinner with his disciples, he gets off of his seat and gets down on his knees to serve. He did what no one else does. In those days, when you wanted to learn, you wouldn’t pick a school, but pick a teacher, and they would take you in a mentoring relationship, the kind of relationship that Jesus had with his disciples. The students job was to serve the master. They would do any task, except one. Wash the feet. That job was reserved to the lowest of slaves. In ancient times, travel looked like walking in dirt and sometimes behind a animal. So your feet would be caked in dust and dung. No body wanted to wash feet, but is was customary to wash your guests feet when they came to visit you. So, the lowest of slaves would have the unpleasant duty of cleaning the feet of the guests. The disciples were too proud to do this job. But, Jesus was humble enough to do this job. He came down from heaven to earth, and he goes to his seat to the floor to serve. To scrape the dung and the dirt off of the people that he created to worship him. And he washes the feet of Judas. This is one of the reason why I know that the Bible wasn’t constructed by human beings, no one could imagine of a humble, serving God. No one could imagine a God not only makes the earth, puts humanity on it, then have humanity betray him, then enter into the earth joining humanity, and then walking, not being carried like a king, to a place where he is hosting and paying for a dinner, to train people who are too proud to do the job of a slave, that he would get down on his knees and wash the feet of his betraying enemy. I have good news for you, Jesus is still serving people. Jesus is still loving his enemies and inviting them to be his friends. You might say, my needs are great, Jesus is willing to serve you my friend. The help I need from God, its embarrassing and discussing, Jesus is willing to serve you. Jesus loves you. He loved Judas. The Bible says by nature we are objects of wrath, we are all start out as enemies of God. We are all first like Judas. Jesus loves his enemies, he takes his enemies and makes them family. Jesus got off from his seat to serve Judas, but Jesus got down from heaven to serve you. You got on the floor to serve Judas, but he got on the cross to serve you. Jesus poured out water for Judas, but he poured out blood for you. Before we understand the good news of who Christ is and what He has done, we have to understand the bad news of who we are and what we have done. - The story continues…
John 13:6-8 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” “No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.”
Some of you, when Jesus comes to serve you, and you think your humble because you serve others, you are too proud to be served. Humility is not just about serving, its also being about being humble enough to be served. Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.” Jesus is like, I can wash your feet or you can go to hell. It’s a pharaphase, but what I love about Jesus is that he is real clear. Plan A: clean feet, Plan B: your soul stinkth forever. I take the dirt of the other disciples, but will let me clean you? I will to take the dirt you have, but will you let me? So Peter, being a real "genius," says…
John 13:9-11 “Then, Lord… ‘not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!”
How many of us when Jesus comes to serve us, we say no, then we say “Ok Jesus, you can serve me, but let me tell you how to do it.” You can serve me if you did it this way.
"Jesus answered, 'Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.' For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean."
Three lessons from Peter: 1. Peter is overt, Judas is covert. Peter, you always know what he is thinking. Judas, you do not know what he is thinking. Peter, you know what he is doing. Judas, you never know what he is doing. How many of us is covert? So of us, have secret lives, lies, and sins. Some of us wont come clean, so we need to be caught. There is a lot more hope for those who are overt, than who are covert. Even though Peter betrayed Jesus openly, he was like here is where I am, he is what I am thinking… we can work with that. With Judas, I am betraying Jesus in secret, you will not know who I am, or what I am planning. I would encourage you, be like Peter, faults, flaws, and all. Don’t be like Judas, hiding until it’s too late, and destruction has came to you.
2. To want-to precedes the how-to. Jesus says, “I want to clean you.” Peter says, “I want to be clean! But I don’t know how too.” Some of us are here today, people have told you. You need to do this, You need to do that, you need to stop doing that. They have given you the how too, but the problem is, you don’t have the want-to. To want-to precedes the how-too. If someone meets with me and says, I want to love my wife! Okay, we can do that. And if I give you 20 things to do, to love you wife, and you don’t want too, all the how too, means nothing to you. If you want to love God, want to love what is good, want to love his people, and his word, God will teach you how-too. But you need to check your heart, to see if you have the want-too. Jesus says, I will take the dirt, but will you let me?
John 13:12 "When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them."
3. Our deflective default is to make ourselves clean. Jesus says to his disciples, “I will make you clean.” But Peter says, “No thanks. I will make myself clean.” This is what we call, religion. Religion is our way of cleaning ourselves up before God. Different religions have different was of doing this, but is it all the same, in that it is ME TRYING TO CLEAN UP ME. He is want Jesus says, “I make you clean.” I will take the dirt. - Do you really understand what Christ has done for you? Many people know that Christ forgives, but not that he cleans. Many feel still defiled, unclean. We live guilty lives. - I have really good news for you, Jesus not only forgives, he cleanses you. I want that guilt, shame, and burden off of you. Don’t be an Adam or Eve. Hiding In you shame.
1 John 1:9 "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
If you allow yourself to be served by Jesus, confessing, laying it out before him, no matter the grossness of your situation, he will forgive you. He forgives, and he cleanses… from how much unrighteousness? ALL unrighteousness! It’s time for us to trade our religion for a relationship.
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Jesus took the dirt for us, but will you take Jesus? Jesus takes the dirt, but will you take Jesus?