Monday, September 7, 2015

John 13:18-30 comments: and it was night

18 ¶  I speak not of you all: I know whom I have chosen: but that the scripture may be fulfilled, He that eateth bread with me hath lifted up his heel against me. 19  Now I tell you before it come, that, when it is come to pass, ye may believe that I am he. 20  Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that receiveth whomsoever I send receiveth me; and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me. 21  When Jesus had thus said, he was troubled in spirit, and testified, and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me. 22  Then the disciples looked one on another, doubting of whom he spake. 23  Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved. 24  Simon Peter therefore beckoned to him, that he should ask who it should be of whom he spake. 25  He then lying on Jesus’ breast saith unto him, Lord, who is it? 26  Jesus answered, He it is, to whom I shall give a sop, when I have dipped it. And when he had dipped the sop, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. 27  And after the sop Satan entered into him. Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly. 28  Now no man at the table knew for what intent he spake this unto him. 29  For some of them thought, because Judas had the bag, that Jesus had said unto him, Buy those things that we have need of against the feast; or, that he should give something to the poor. 30  He then having received the sop went immediately out: and it was night.

Now, here is a curious thing. Christ said He was speaking only to those He had chosen. So, what would make us think that an unbeliever, particularly anyone who God knows will not receive Christ, would be able to receive the Bible? In the following passage it is so that only those whom God foreknew would be His did He predestinate to be like Christ at some point.

Romans 8:29  For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

It is by that seeing ahead of who will trust Christ that God chooses.

1Peter 1:2  Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.

He saw those people in Christ before the world of men and women was even formed.

Ephesians 1:4  According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:

And we are predestinated to something after we are saved as per Romans 8:29 and context. Here is a statement and then an explanation of the statement showing that we were called after we were predestinated after God knew we would love Him;

Romans 8:28  And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

    29 ¶  For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30  Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

Jesus quotes the following passage in the Old Testament, telling us how to apply it;

Psalm 41:9  Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me.

Obviously, Jesus is talking about Judas, who will betray Him. He then clearly states that He is foretelling what will happen to Him as evidence of who He is. Jesus says that to receive the person whom He has sent is the same as receiving Him and receiving Him is to receive God the Father. The “sent ones” are the apostles of the first century, the missionaries of every century, the evangelists, the itinerant preachers, and the common Christian who is sent by the Holy Ghost into the world to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. But, in this context, He is talking about these Apostles and separating them from the one who will betray Him.

Who was Jesus talking about they wondered? John, who was probably very young, had a special attachment to Christ. He is known as the disciple Jesus loved or the beloved, a type of the church. Christ is the Father’s beloved Son.

Mark 9:7  And there was a cloud that overshadowed them: and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him.

John is the disciple whom Jesus loved as shown in the passage being studied. The church is Christ’s beloved.

Ephesians 1:6  To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.

At that time they would have not been sitting in chairs to eat as we would. They would recline to eat. John was close to Jesus and Peter asked him to ask Jesus who it was that would betray Him.

Some people will accuse Jesus of sin here, which is in contradiction of who Jesus was and of what the Law given to Moses said about the sin of homosexual behavior.

Leviticus 20:13  If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.

And also denying the deep love of friendship that was possible between two men in the ancient Jewish world within the constraints of the law. See David speaking to Jonathan;

2Samuel 1:26  I am distressed for thee, my brother Jonathan: very pleasant hast thou been unto me: thy love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women.

Or the tenderness that does not lead to sin of a grown man for a youth and the concern and care this represented.

Daniel 1:6  Now among these were of the children of Judah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah:… 9  Now God had brought Daniel into favour and tender love with the prince of the eunuchs.

An American heterosexual male can no more understand this morally correct affection any more than he can stand the idea of men in other cultures kissing each other on the cheek as a greeting or young girls walking down the street holding hands. He also cannot wrap his mind around General George Washington writing to the Chevalier de Chastellux, solder and philosopher, when he knew Chastellux would arrive at camp, “I love you…I shall embrace you when it happens with the warmth of perfect friendship.” (20) Nor can we understand the idea of the, “holy kiss,” between Christians in Romans 16:16; 1Corinthians 16:20; 2Corinthians 13:12; and 1Thessalonians 5:26.

This is very important in understanding the Bible. Your discernment must be able to separate what is given to you as a commandment that you are to follow as a Christian and a cultural practice that is alien to our time and place or specifically referenced to specific people at a specific place and time. It is not sin not to follow every line in the Bible as much of it isn’t written to you and you would be foolish to insist that if we don’t kiss each other we aren’t in obedience and submission to Christ.

More relevant to us is in the conservative Baptist tradition, for the sake of modesty, women typically wear long dresses to cover the legs as opposed to short, revealing dresses or form-fitting trousers, or even shorts. Modesty is a principle that God lays on the Christian’s heart. It is good. But, if you are looking back at the 1800’s or early 1900’s as a time when women in the church were more righteous in their dress then I would say to you that at that time you letting your hair hang down around your shoulders and wearing shoes that revealed the naked foot would have been scandalous and considered highly immoral as those things were for the marital bedroom or not to be exposed to public view. I’m not criticizing any conviction. I’m just saying be careful how you impose your convictions on other people. Your culture is not by necessity, Godly, simply because you are different, anymore than the cultures of the Bible require you to kiss each other or wear your hair down to your waist. Follow your convictions but be careful how you impose them on others.
By the way, Paul, writing to the Corinthians, tells them their insistence on women wearing long hair is a good thing. At the end of his talk he says, though, that if anyone wants to argue, they have no such custom or concern in the other churches. We know from the historian, Strabo, that the hill of Corinth, or Acrocorinth, contained a thousand short-haired temple prostitutes, so it would be important to the Corinthian Christians for their women to have long hair to distinguish them from those temple prostitutes.

1Corinthians 11:16  But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.

I certainly do not intend to wear a robe in my daily activities because the men of the Bible wore them in order to seem more righteous to others nor will I swap my car for a camel or a donkey. And, men, don’t even think about kissing me. That’s a warning.

 Jesus took a piece of unleavened bread and dipped it in the bitter broth, according to some a token of good will much like a toast in our day, and gave it to Judas Iscariot, whom He identified as the betrayer. As an example of a meal where food was eaten similarly, see Ruth 2:14.

Ruth 2:14  And Boaz said unto her, At mealtime come thou hither, and eat of the bread, and dip thy morsel in the vinegar. And she sat beside the reapers: and he reached her parched corn, and she did eat, and was sufficed, and left.

Satan then entered Judas, who was already prepared for his treason, and Jesus told him to do what he must do quickly. The others assumed that Judas was being sent on a mission peculiar to the work they did with Christ; to get provisions or to give to the poor. And it was night.

John 9:4  I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.  5  As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.

Paul wrote;

Romans 13:12  The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.

1Thessalonians 5:5  Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.

Peter wrote;

2Peter 3:10  But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

As Christ’s resurrection was revealed in the morning, we are waiting for Christ’s return for us, for the morning light to peek over the horizon;

Genesis 1:5  And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.

Psalm 30:4  Sing unto the LORD, O ye saints of his, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness. 5  For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.

Psalm 130:6  My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning: I say, more than they that watch for the morning.

2Peter 1:19  We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:

We live in the night of the world, as the Hebrew day started with the evening and then the morning (see the first chapter of Genesis). First, there is darkness. Then, there is light. We Christians are not of the darkness but of the light and we, of all people, are waiting for the morning light to come.

Judas has gone to betray Christ. The die is cast, in a manner of speaking. God’s plan to redeem mankind is about to begin in earnest.

(20) James Thomas Flexner, George Washington in the American Revolution (Boston: Little, Brown, & Co.) 477.

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