Sermon – March 15, 2020

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John 13:21-30 – Sovereign and Good (mp3)

Predicting the future is hard work. Many in history have claimed to do so, but such claims are easily proven unreliable and unhelpful. Does Jesus fall into this category? Thankfully, no. Jesus not only predicts the future actions of free men, but is in sovereign control over it. He ordains even the events that lead to his death, showing that not only does he rule, but he rules well. Today, we look at John 13:21-30, as Jesus predicts Judas’ betrayal of him, and begin to think about what this might entail for us as we face an unusual global crisis. Jesus is good, friends, and we can trust in him even in the darkest of times!

1. Jesus knows the coming dark
One of the best ways to see how well Jesus knew what was going to happen is to look at how much the disciples didn’t understand. No one suspected Judas. They had spent the better part of three years by one another’s side: sleeping, eating, talking, arguing, joking, watching Jesus heal and teach. And they didn’t know. Yet, Jesus saw through the outside appearance of Judas, he knew what was in his very heart. We have very little understanding of what the future holds; Jesus knows all.

2. Jesus rules the coming dark
More than that, Jesus rules over the coming dark! He doesn’t just see it, like fortune tellers of old, with no control. Rather, by passing the morsel to Judas he allows Satan to enter and do his horrible work. Judas acts of his own consent; Satan pushes him to; but make no doubt, Jesus is in control. He is orchestrating his own death. After all, no one takes his life, but he lays it down of his own accord. Jesus doesn’t just know the future, but he directs and shapes it. He rules over it.

3. Jesus overcomes the coming dark
John makes one final ominous note in our passage: it was night. Night signifies all that is wrong in the world: sin, unbelief, wickedness, falleness, Satanic rule. Jesus is about to enter into the middle of that hornet’s nest. He will be surrounded by the dark: the enemy will bite and tear, friends will leave and scatter, hell and the grave will pull and entrap. Still, Jesus will overcome them all. And he does so, not for his own sake, but for ours!

So, then, what ought we do? First, we trust in Jesus’ sovereignty. The corona virus is making life difficult for many – and it will do so all the more as time continues. But Jesus is sovereign, good, and in full control. Other things may very well fail you, and likely already have. But Jesus will be good to the end. Trust in him.

Second, act wisely because Jesus is sovereign. Do not think that because God is sovereign that somehow your actions don’t matter. That would be true if God wanted your actions to effect the outcome of events. But the Bible doesn’t seem to be concerned so much with that. Instead, knowing that God controls all, we are freed from worrying about the outcome of events and instead focus on how we carry ourselves through such times. Jesus, after showing his sovereignty, will bring to the disciples a charge: love one another! So, let us live wisely and faithfully, certain of God’s good hand, and all the more as the days are evil.