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The Three Betrayals of the Teacher

John  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  39:41
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Have you ever felt betrayed?
Someone you love and were close to after a period of time reveals themselves to be working against you? Maybe an employee steals from you, or a spouse cheats on you, or a friend talks about you behind your back. How did that feel? Jesus can walk with you in it. No one has been more betrayed than Jesus, and yet no one has remained so steadfast in his love as Jesus.
Your bulletins say the two betrayals of the teacher, but as I was studying this passage, I noticed a consistent pattern of betrayal against Jesus. I noticed there weren't only two betrayals, but three betrayals here in the first half of John 18.
John 18:1–5 ESV

When Jesus had spoken these words, he went out with his disciples across the brook Kidron, where there was a garden, which he and his disciples entered. Now Judas, who betrayed him, also knew the place, for Jesus often met there with his disciples. So Judas, having procured a band of soldiers and some officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, went there with lanterns and torches and weapons. Then Jesus, knowing all that would happen to him, came forward and said to them, “Whom do you seek?” They answered him, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus said to them, “I am he.” Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them.

This is betrayal #1.
Betrayal #1: Judas' Betrayal
And John makes the point here that even though Jesus is being betrayed with a kiss, even though they are arresting him in secret Jesus is very intentional about following through with what the Father commanded him to do. There are a few notable things about this passage:
First: the parallel John draws here between Jesus and King David simply by including a small detail:
John 18:1 ESV

When Jesus had spoken these words, he went out with his disciples across the brook Kidron, where there was a garden, which he and his disciples entered.

This sounds an awful lot like 2 Sam 15, when David is forced to flee from his son Absalom as he invades Jerusalem and he runs into a man names Ittai (Isaiah's middle name) and 2 Samuel describes the retreat of the kind like this:
2 Samuel 15:18–23 ESV

And all his servants passed by him, and all the Cherethites, and all the Pelethites, and all the six hundred Gittites who had followed him from Gath, passed on before the king. Then the king said to Ittai the Gittite, “Why do you also go with us? Go back and stay with the king, for you are a foreigner and also an exile from your home. You came only yesterday, and shall I today make you wander about with us, since I go I know not where? Go back and take your brothers with you, and may the LORD show steadfast love and faithfulness to you.” But Ittai answered the king, “As the LORD lives, and as my lord the king lives, wherever my lord the king shall be, whether for death or for life, there also will your servant be.” And David said to Ittai, “Go then, pass on.” So Ittai the Gittite passed on with all his men and all the little ones who were with him. And all the land wept aloud as all the people passed by, and the king crossed the brook Kidron, and all the people passed on toward the wilderness.

Do you see where John's parallel comes from? Like David, Jesus is the king betrayed by one of his beloeved, going into exile in the wilderness. And this is because Jesus is our king. There's a movement in our culture to try to accept Jesus as a friend or a good teacher, but strip him of the authority due to our God and our King. Not only is Jesus our savior, but he is also our God and King, and John makes sure we know it.
So Jesus intentionally goes to the place where Judas knows he is going to be at night, after dark, away from the city so that he could be betrayed and arrested.
Both Jews and Romans showed up to the arrest, thus indicting the whole world with his blood. We are all guilty of this sin. We all have sin-stained hands. No one escapes the curse of sin-stained hands covered in his blood unless they are covered by his blood. And we must run to the king to cleanse us of our rebellion and betrayal against him.
Here comes betrayal #2:
John 18:6–11 ESV

When Jesus said to them, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground. So he asked them again, “Whom do you seek?” And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he. So, if you seek me, let these men go.” This was to fulfill the word that he had spoken: “Of those whom you gave me I have lost not one.” Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant and cut off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.) So Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword into its sheath; shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given me?”

Jesus uses the divine name to show his power here. "Who are you looking for?" "Jesus of Nazareth." "I am." (ego eimi). They fall down. This is to point again to Jesus' amazing obedience to the Father. It isn't for lack of power that he is arrested. He was determined to complete the mission given to him by the Father.
But do you see betrayal number two in this?
Betrayal #2: Peter draws his sword.
Right after Jesus petitions for the release of his disciples and prepares to go and perform the act that qualifies him as our great high priest, to be the substitionary atonement both immediately here and the next day, Peter takes out his sword. This is the same stuff he got rebuked for earlier in Jesus' ministry.
Remember, Jesus predicts his own death, and Peter says, "Lord, this will never happen to you!" And Jesus says, "get behind me Satan! You're a stumbling block! You're thinking about earthly things, not heavenly things!"
And still, Peter draws a sword here, betraying all that Jesus came to accomplish, slicing off an ear. Seriously, how bad do you have to be with a sword to hit just an ear. One commentator says this:

The blow was as clumsy as Peter’s courage was great; the tactic was as pointless as Peter’s misunderstanding was total. John agrees with Luke in noting that it was Malchus’ right ear that was severed, and with Matthew in recording Jesus’ command to put away the sword (cf. also Je. 47:6). But in Matthew this command is followed by a paraenetic conclusion: ‘for all who draw the sword will die by the sword’. Here John’s report focuses all the attention on Jesus Christ himself: Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me? Peter’s bravery is not only useless, it is a denial of the work to which Jesus has just consecrated himself—and entirely in line with the Synoptic evidence as to the failure of the disciples to comprehend the passion when it was announced to them (Mk. 8:31–33 par.; cf. Jn. 13:6–10).

And still, despite Peter's betrayal here, Jesus loves him and keeps him safe here- not losing one that he has been given by the Father, like he prayed about in 17:12 and like he says in 6:39 after the feeding of the 5,000.
This is, of course a foreshadowing of the security that we experience in Jesus- it is total. There is nothing among those who love Jesus that should make him doubt the efficacy of his work.
John 18:12–18 ESV

So the band of soldiers and their captain and the officers of the Jews arrested Jesus and bound him. First they led him to Annas, for he was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was high priest that year. It was Caiaphas who had advised the Jews that it would be expedient that one man should die for the people.

Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple. Since that disciple was known to the high priest, he entered with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest, but Peter stood outside at the door. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to the servant girl who kept watch at the door, and brought Peter in. The servant girl at the door said to Peter, “You also are not one of this man’s disciples, are you?” He said, “I am not.” Now the servants and officers had made a charcoal fire, because it was cold, and they were standing and warming themselves. Peter also was with them, standing and warming himself.

Pay attention to that charcoal fire. It's important. It's a word only used twice in Scripture, and John will bring it up again and we'll talk about it in a few weeks. I won't tell you why it's important now, but know that it is.
Peter again makes his betrayal complete by denying Jesus. This is the third betrayal of Jesus on this night:
Betrayal #3: Peter denies Jesus.
And this is the test we face in our world- we are looked at with disdain- surely you don't seriously believe in magical sky fairies and ancient superstitions, do you? Peter, overwhelmed with the setting, gave in to fear and denied association with Jesus.
I suppose if you're counting, you could call this five betrayals of Jesus since we know Peter denies Jesus three times.
But first, I want to sort out some confusion I experienced while reading this passage for you:
They send Jesus to the Father-in-Law of the high priest, Annas, but verses 19-24 seem to confuse this:
John 18:19–24 ESV

The high priest then questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching. Jesus answered him, “I have spoken openly to the world. I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all Jews come together. I have said nothing in secret. Why do you ask me? Ask those who have heard me what I said to them; they know what I said.” When he had said these things, one of the officers standing by struck Jesus with his hand, saying, “Is that how you answer the high priest?” Jesus answered him, “If what I said is wrong, bear witness about the wrong; but if what I said is right, why do you strike me?” Annas then sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.

When I first read this, I was confused because nowhere in the text does it say that the high priest came to Annas' house, however, it says that the hight priest questioned Jesus, then they later sent him to the high priest.
What's going on?
Annas was high priest from AD 6-15 and while the function lasts only a while, the ceremonial title lasts for life, so he is still called a high priest.
And of course, Jesus responds here to the threats and intimidations openly (boldly- parresia), which gives me a good opportunity to address a question I had a couple weeks ago- is parresia related to piracy? The short answer is "no." The greek root for piracy is "peirates"- a pirate, or raider, or enemy.
Though this night being described, Jesus finds himself surrounded by enemies.
John 18:19–27 ESV

The high priest then questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching. Jesus answered him, “I have spoken openly to the world. I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all Jews come together. I have said nothing in secret. Why do you ask me? Ask those who have heard me what I said to them; they know what I said.” When he had said these things, one of the officers standing by struck Jesus with his hand, saying, “Is that how you answer the high priest?” Jesus answered him, “If what I said is wrong, bear witness about the wrong; but if what I said is right, why do you strike me?” Annas then sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.

Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. So they said to him, “You also are not one of his disciples, are you?” He denied it and said, “I am not.” One of the servants of the high priest, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, asked, “Did I not see you in the garden with him?” Peter again denied it, and at once a rooster crowed.

And like so many of us, Peter denies his Lord and betrays him, and immediately regrets it. he is immediately overcome with grief for it. And Matthew says he wept bitterly.
And we weep bitterly for our sins. But the important thing is that this is not where the story ends. Not for Peter and not for us. We can repent. We can turn. We can give our sin to Jesus in exchange for his righteousness. We can trust him for our salvation. Wretches though we are, we are beloved. "If we are faithless, he is faithful, for he cannot deny himself," Paul says.
So when you sin, yes, weep bitterly for a time. Your sin, my sin, killed Jesus, but God's power raised him from the dead. And Jesus' blood declares that if you in him, you are innocent. You are forgiven. You are loved. But if you aren't in Jesus, you are standing in judgement for the evil that you have done. If you are rejecting the grace offered to you by God, you are standing in his wrath.
What reason do you have not to repent today? If you've been betrayed, what reason do you have not to give your hurt and pain to Jesus? Forgiveness is life-giving. Heaven is going to be a wonderful place and Hell is hot, and forever is a long time. Give your sins to Jesus, trust in him for salvation. Stop betraying him. Receive grace. Receive the Holy Spirit in baptism. Receive peace and joy.
Keep coming back, and we'll talk about why the charcoal fire is significant in a few weeks.

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