MEMORY VERSE: Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me.” (Psalm 41:9)
TEXT: John 18:1-18; 25-27
Betrayal and denial are some of the negative characters common to human beings. The fact that these negative characters are common in our days do not make them acceptable unto mankind. No one desired to be betrayed, we all abhor denials. If these negative characters are not acceptable to man, it is equally not acceptable to God Almighty, the citadel of righteousness.
Another point that we have to bear in mind as we study this topic is that, betrayal and denial are some of the evil choices that human beings made in the course of their lives. We are looking at these two negative spiritual characters that do not befit the people that had been identified with Christ.
CHRIST AS A PRECIOUS CHOICE BEFORE THE DISCIPLES
Christ presented Himself as a precious choice to the disciples in that, according to the word of God, He chose the disciples, the disciples in turn should have chosen to identify themselves with Jesus Christ
They were going in and out with Jesus Christ, they were part of His glorious ministry on earth. They witnessed countless miracles done by our Lord Jesus Christ. They had been identified with our Lord Jesus Christ.
The events in John Chapter 13, revealed that after Jesus Christ ate the last supper with the disciples, He washed the feet of disciples one by one and towel their wet feet with the towel He tied round about Himself. He commanded them to do the same to each other. “If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example that ye should do as I have done to you.” (John 13:14-15) He also washed the feet of Judas Iscariot. Specifically He gave them a new commandment to love one another. “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” (John 13:34) They should have chosen to extend the same love to Jesus Christ
Jesus Christ’s predicted warning that Judas Iscariot will betray Him, and the predicted warning that Peter will deny Him supposed to guide them in righteous choice of action.
In John chapter 17, Jesus took time to pray for the disciples and prepared their minds for His arrest and His death on the Cross.
With all these preparation of the disciples in love, in righteousness, in prayer and in admonition, instead of choosing Jesus Christ in righteousness and holiness, some of the disciples still embark on betraying and denying Jesus Christ.
CHOICES OF THE DISCIPLES AT THE CRUCIAL MOMENTS—John 18:15-18, 25-27
- Judas betrayed Jesus Christ. We know that Judas was a pretender, hypocrite and a thief but he was one of the chosen disciples of Jesus Christ. He chose to sell his Master, Jesus Christ for thirty pieces of silver Matthew 26:14-16. But the same sinful back-ground was noticed of a woman called Rahab in the Bible. She was a prostitute, when the grace was available to her, she chose salvation instead of death. She made it to the hall of faith in the Hebrew 11:31 “By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace.”
- In Gethsemane, Peter and two sons of Zebedee, which were the three disciples that were supposed to be watching in prayer with our Lord Jesus Christ, slept off. “And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour?” Matthew 26:40
- Three times denials of Peter denied Jesus Christ three times
- John 18:17 Then saith the damsel that kept the door unto Peter, Art not thou also one of this man’s disciples? He saith, I am not
- John 18:25-27—He denied Jesus Christ two times again and the cock crew.
- Disloyalty of Peter to the mission of Christ. The fisherman that had been transformed to become fisher-of-men abandoned his post and told his fellow disciples, said, I am going a-fishing! John 21:3
- Faithlessness of Thomas the Didymus who refused to believe that Jesus Christ had resurrected John 20:25, 27-29 Thomas was around when Jesus raised Lazarus from the grave after four days in the grave, yet he did not believe that Jesus Christ had resurrected.
The challenge to every one of us today, is that after been taught in the wisdom of God by seasoned men of God, after the grace of God had been extended to us to have a copy of a bible, that we are not hindered to read on our own at any point in time, what spiritual choices are we making today? Is the fear of God residing in our hearts? Are we embracing the truth and obeying the precepts of God or are we still denying and betraying Him with our characters and negative choices we are making today in our Christian live journey? 2 Corinthian 13:5 Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves.
CHRIST’S CHOICE OF VOLUNTARY SUBMISSION TO DEATH—John 18:4-6
Christ has power to deliver Himself from the people that tried to arrest Him. He could possibly destroy them but He chose not to use it. In John 18:6 “As soon then as he had said unto them, I am he, they went backward, and fell to the ground.”
Peter attacked the enemy, and cut off the ear of Malchus, but Jesus Christ restrained him, and divinely heal the ear of Malchus. John 18:11 “Then said Jesus unto Peter, Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?”
Prophet Isaiah prophesied about His voluntary submission to death as the ultimate sacrifice for our salvation. Isaiah 53:4, 7 “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.” “He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.”
At Gesthemane our Lord Jesus Christ sought the face of God, praying that the cup of agony of death might be taken away from Him, but He added, not my will but the will of the Heavenly Father mighty be done. He yielded to the desire of His Father to be a sacrificial Lamb of God for the salvation of the whole world. Matthew 26:39, 42
Jesus Christ considered the preciousness of the glory of the salvation of mankind, He endured the agony of the Cross. Hebrews 12:2 “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Brethren, we should learn from our Lord Jesus Christ, we should not allow painful trials, and inconveniences of the world drag us to make sinful choices. We should not allow the love of money and love of pleasure to take eternity away from us.
Many roads can lead to a city on earth, but there is only one road that leads to the Kingdom of God, and it is the road of righteousness. Jeremiah 6:16 Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein. Our spiritual sense of judgment must not be impaired. Our eyes of understanding shall be enlightened. Our spiritual priorities must be placed right before the Lord so that we choose righteousness and holiness for the glory of God. May the Lord help us, in Jesus name, Amen.