And while he yet spoke, behold a multitude, and he that was called Judas, one of the twelve, went before them…
I. LET US TARRY AWHILE, AND SEE OUR LORD UNGRATEFULLY AND DASTARDLY BETRAYED.
1. It is appointed that He must die, but how shall He fall into the hands of His adversaries? Shall they capture Him in conflict? It must not be, lest He appear an unwilling victim. Shall He flee before His foes until He can hide no longer? It is not meet that a sacrifice should be hunted to death. Shall He offer Himself to the foe? That were to excuse His murderers, or be a party to their crime. Shall He be taken accidentally or unawares? That would withdraw from His cup the necessary bitterness which made it wormwood mingled with gall.
(1) One reason for the appointment of the betrayal lay in the fact that it was ordained that man's sin should reach its culminating point in His death.
(2) Beyond a doubt, however, the main reason for this was that Christ might offer a perfect atonement for sin. We may usually read the sin in the punishment. Man betrayed his God. Therefore must Jesus find man a traitor to Him. There must be the counterpart of the sin in the suffering which He endured. You and I have often betrayed Christ. It seemed most fitting, then, that He who bore the chastisement of sin should be reminded of its ingratitude and treachery by the things which He suffered.
(3) Besides, brethren, that cup must be bitter to the last degree which is to be the equivalent for the wrath of God.
(4) Moreover, we feel persuaded that by thus suffering at the hand of a traitor the Lord became a faithful High Priest, able to sympathize with us when we fall under the like affliction.
2. Now let us look at the treason itself. You perceive how black it was.
(1) Judas was Christ's servant, what if I call him His confidential servant.
(2) Judas was more than this: he was a friend, a trusted friend.
(3) The world looked upon Judas as a colleague of our Lord's.
(4) Our Lord would look upon Judas as a representative man, the portraiture of many thousands who in after ages have imitated his crime.
3. Observe the manner in which Christ met this affliction.
(1) His calmness.
(2) His gentleness.
II. Grant me your attention while we make an estimate of the man by whom the Son of Man was betrayed — JUDAS THE BETRAYER.
1. I would call your attention, dear friends, to his position and public character.
(1) Judas was a preacher; nay, he was a foremost preacher, "he obtained part of this ministry," said the Apostle Peter.
(2) Judas took a very high degree officially. He had the distinguished honour of being entrusted with the Master's financial concerns, and this, after all, was no small degree to which to attain. The Lord, who knows how to use all sorts of gifts, perceived what gift the man had.
(3) You will observe that the character of Judas was openly an admirable one. I find not that he committed himself in any way. Not the slightest speck defiled his moral character so far as others could perceive. He was no boaster, like Peter.
2. But I call your attention to his real nature and sin. Judas was a man with a conscience. He could not afford to do without it. He was no Sadducee who could fling religion overboard; he had strong religious tendencies. But then it was a conscience that did not sit regularly on the throne; it reigned by fits and starts. Conscience was not the leading element. Avarice predominated over conscience.
3. The warning which Judas received, and the way in which he persevered.
4. The act itself. He sought out his own temptation. He did not wait for the devil to come to him; he went after the devil. He went to the chief priests and said, " What will ye give me?" Alas! some people's religion is grounded on that one question.
5. We conclude with the repentance of Judas. He did repent; but it was the repentance that worketh death. The man who repents of consequences does not repent. The ruffian repents of the gallows but not of the murders and that is no repentance at all. Human law, of course, must measure sin by consequences, but God's law does not. There is a pointsman on a railway who neglects his duty; there is a collision on the line, and people are killed; well, it is manslaughter to this man through his carelessness. But that pointsman, perhaps, many times before had neglected his duty, but no accident came of it, and then he walked home and said, "Well, I have done no wrong." Now the wrong, mark you, is never to be measured by the accident, but by the thing itself, and if you have committed an offence and you have escaped undetected it is lust as vile in God's eye; if you have done wrong and Providence has prevented the natural result of the wrong, the honour of that is with God, but you are as guilty as if your sin had been carried out to its fullest consequences, and the whole world set ablaze. Never measure sin by consequences, but repent of them as they are in themselves.
(C. H. Spurgeon.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And while he yet spake, behold a multitude, and he that was called Judas, one of the twelve, went before them, and drew near unto Jesus to kiss him.