Judas seemed like a guy who had it together. He had skills and connections. Peter blundered again and again. Women were much perplexed, but the tomb was open. Jesus drew near to two discouraged followers. He met them and revealed Himself. (Luke 22:3; Luke 24: Matthew 27:3)

Speaker: Thomas Schaller, John Love
Sermon 12690
Date: 2024-03-27
Time: Wed 7:00pm

 

P. Schaller –

Praise the Lord! Wow! Beautiful worship, huh. Excellent. Thank you, God. Beautiful week we’re having with the
play. You’ve done a great job with the play. Really great. Really good. Really. How many of you
were able to see it yesterday? We had a pretty full house. A lot of visitors and beautiful
message in that play. Wow. We’re thankful.

We have a couple visitors. I think we have Sharon back from Albania. Right here. Okay. She’s
been a missionary in Albania four years maybe? Four. Four and a half. And three days and! Then
Ben from Thailand who is right down on the front row here. Great to have him. Ben Munson
playing Jesus in the play was excellent last night. Wow. And Luke and then Miles. What a team
they are, huh? Laurel and Hardy! I mean they are a team. They did a great job and every part of
it. P. Steve wrote it.

Then, Leah the director and I won’t mention all the names that come to my mind. Just saying
the prayer and the Spirit of God in these days that we are living. We’re all sensitive to the tragic
collapse of the bridge here in Baltimore and looking at it and thinking about it and what
happened. We are sympathetic with the families who lost the husband or dad in the accident.
So, um, when we see something like that and it just resonates in our minds and there’s a lot of
thinking and processing that goes through our hearts when we see.

Jesus said when the tower of Siloam fell, – would you turn there with me and look at that for a
moment? Luke 13, we shared it in a staff meeting. I just want to say this because the Word is
our comforter. Jesus is saying regarding current events, two tragedies. Pilate slaughtering
Galileans and he’s saying do you think they were sinners above all the Galileans? Do you think
that somebody who is caught in a tragic event, do you think that’s because of them? And the
second one is vs. 4. And he said no in vs. 5.

So, what does come to our minds? Well, if we are alive on the earth today, it’s the grace of God
and then very importantly we have a play where we are communicating to the community and
by all means to say that Christ is the way. And this week of celebration, the teaching. There are
so many elements of the Easter story that we are saying in our hearts we want to hear it. We
want to grasp ahold of the meaning of it. We want to think about it and realize that God loves
us and that God sent his Son into the world for us.

There’s no ancient history compared to this one where we have so much that parallels our lives and so much to learn regarding this Passover week. And then that amazing resurrection of Christ from the dead and what it means
to us in our lives and how precious that is.

So, I want to draw your attention to one meditation I’ve had and this is in Luke. Jesse would you
mind grabbing my glasses over there for me? And we have – thank you. Luke 22. I made a short
– with some study today – a short comparison to Peter and Judas Iscariot. I want to share it
with you in the beginning here. Vs. 3. I think I could label our words right now by the title, “Don’t Be Afraid to Make Mistakes.” Don’t be afraid of life. Don’t be afraid of failure.

Judas Iscariot was from one point of view like the polished guy. He really was. He didn’t make any
blunder in the Gospels. When we read the Gospels, we don’t see him making any blunder. So, I
looked up the word “blunder.” It means to move unsteadily or confusedly. To make a mistake
through stupidly, ignorance, or carelessness. To utter stupidly or confusedly or thoughtlessly.
To make a stupid, careless, or thoughtless mistake.

Like Judas wasn’t that kind of guy. Actually, on the contrary, there are two forces that he had control over in his life. One was money. He had the money bag. That’s maybe kind of a mystery to us that Jesus would allow
him to have the money bag when he was a thief in his heart though there’s no evidence of him
stealing anything in the Gospels.

There’s no evidence that he said the wrong thing. There’s no evidence that he went in the wrong place or that he made a blunder. He wasn’t like that. He had the money and by the way, he’s the only disciple that has a last name. Iscariot. Also, I understand he’s the only disciple from Judea. The more honorable part of Israel. He was good,
polished, capable.

The second connection he had was politically, socially. ‘Cause he was able to leave and go and
make his connections with the authorities. And how many times did he meet them? And if he
meet them, what was it like? It was like no mistake. It was polished. You could say he was
professional. He was capable. He was empowered.

On the surface, he’s the guy that’s succeeding. Really. He’s the one that has the connections.
And when it was time to betray Christ, he knew where to go. He knew who to talk to and he
knew he could get thirty pieces of silver. That’s kind of like a profile of him. I have a piece on it
here.

It goes like this, “Among the apostles, the one absolutely stunning success was Judas and the
one thoroughly groveling failure was Peter. Judas was a success in the ways that most impress
us. He was successful both financially and politically. He cleverly arranged to control the money
of the apostolic band. He skillfully manipulated the political forces of the day to accomplish his
goal. Peter was a failure in ways that we most dread. He was impotent in a crisis.” That was
when Jesus needed him he wasn’t there. “Socially inept.” You know, we read the Gospels and
we see Peter blurting out something or saying – can’t you see him kind of stumbling along or
making mistakes, being in the wrong place kind or saying the wrong thing like on the Mount of
Transfiguration?

If you can say that’s like me, that’s a good thing. If you can say I can identify with Peter and to
be honest, that’s something like me. I can live with it. Now, here’s the last point. When it was
finally discovered in Judas’ life and his conscience that he made a mistake, he couldn’t live with
himself. When he realized he messed up, that was the end.

Read it with me. It’s actually in Matthew 27. It’s interesting because if you look at the end of 26:69 –
this is for Bible folks that are taking notes. You can make this note cause you don’t any longer
bring your Bibles to church! God have mercy on us! ‘Cause we got the screen over here. Matthew 26:69-
75, that’s Peter denying the Lord and messing up and he went out and wept bitterly. Now, 27:3
down through we see Judas and this is the one I want on the screen. 27:3, he did not repent to
God. He was just disappointed with himself. ‘Cause he was the guy that was kind of doing things
right. In a social setting, you’d feel more secure with Judas’ behavior than you would feel with
Peter’s behavior. Like Peter, we’re going to be with important people so just be quiet, okay?
Like don’t mess, don’t do that. Should I use this one? Okay.

Chapter 27:4, isn’t that a great job guys? Man. Broken. In trouble, in a crisis and you don’t care
about him. You betrayed innocent blood. That’s your problem. That’s not our problem. That’s
your problem. Vs. 5. Closing. Closing part. Peter, he knew what it was to mess up. And he went
out and he wept bitterly. But what did he do? What did he do? He was the failure. He was the
guy that messed up. What did he do? He faced it and he lived through it. He lived through the
mess. He lived through it. What did Judas do? He messed up and he can’t face it and he hanged
himself. That’s not the answer by the way. You still live. You live forever and that’s the tragedy
of that whole picture.

But in the psychological makeup of these two men, if you’re one of those that does mess up,
then congratulations. And if you are realistic and you are real and you are able to say it and go
before God because I believe that Judas could have been saved. How? The same way anybody
is. I mean apart from the sovereignty of God, but I’m saying in principle. I failed. I failed. So,
what are you going to do about it? I’m going to go to God. I’m going to face it and live through
it cause God will carry me through. God will save me. God forgives me. God gives me grace. I’m
going to learn life. I’m going to learn life maybe the way I should have learned life earlier but I
was too proud to let anybody know.

A third thing about Judas is this which I think is one very powerful, fascinating point and it is
when Jesus said one of you will betray me, nobody said is it Judas. Why? Because he covered it.
‘Cause you couldn’t read him. ‘Cause he was professional. ‘Cause he was really good at it. He would be
the guy that, you know, it just didn’t come to their minds. I don’t know why actually, but I’m
just playing with it a little bit and I want you to think with me about it.

And then finally say Judas became now the byword of a betrayer. The Judas goat. The goat
leading the other goats. The word, byword for a real failure. The ultimate kind of failure. The
lost person who cannot face the reality of my loss and that I need Jesus Christ and I need God
to save me. And Peter became the great apostle that we call our sons Peter. There’s a saying,
isn’t it? There will be a time when men will call their dogs Nero and Caesar and call their sons
James and Peter. We have a great story there.

So, uh, let’s help people. Let’s help people find God and let us not portray the image of
perfection or professionalism. Let’s us just do what we can and admit our problems and our
blundering and go on with God and find God. And when we find God – by the way. This is a
thing that Judas didn’t have. He didn’t have freedom. Do you know he didn’t have freedom.
Judas didn’t have freedom. What kind of freedom? He didn’t have the freedom to fail. If you
don’t have the freedom to fail, then you’re not free. He didn’t have freedom. He didn’t know
how to live in freedom. He was in a narrow world. And when that narrow world collapsed and
his reputation and everything about him collapsed, then all he had only one solution was to
hang himself.

But you and I are people that have freedom and we have the freedom to fail. And when we fail,
we get up again. And when we fail, we go on. Life isn’t about your profile. It’s about God’s
grace. It’s not about your success or mine. It’s about who is Jesus and what did Jesus do? What
does Jesus do and how we can move on in life with whatever happens in our life. And it says
Peter went out and wept bitterly. Jesus said I have prayed for you. Satan wants to beat you like
wheat but I have prayed for you and when you are converted, strengthen the brethren. Okay. Is
that edifying? Is it good? All right. Turn to your neighbor and just talk to them about it for a
moment and just say, what did he say? And just talk for a moment about it and worship the
Lord for it.

P. Love –

Okay. Praise God. What a good word. Amen. You’re not free until you have the
freedom to fail. I guess that makes us the “most free” church in Baltimore! Amen! I came under
such conviction when he was talking about Judas, because when I was in high school for two
years in a row I ran for class treasurer. I mean my slogan when I ran the campaign was, “Let
Love Handle Your Money.” But I have to say as the class treasurer, I was a lot like Judas. I’ll just
leave it at that. But thank God for his grace. Amen.

I just want to share a couple of thoughts to close tonight from Luke 24. It’s the story, it’s the
account that the play is based on. And as P. Schaller shared a few minutes ago, what a great
opening night last night. The chapel was almost full, and the response to the invitation many
people went forward and accepted Christ as their Savior. If that’s the first night, you can
imagine tomorrow night and Friday night and Saturday afternoon. Keep giving out those tickets.
Keep inviting folks that you meet cause you never know who might come.

Luke 24, just a quick overview here. Vs. 1-4. I thought about that. I wonder what that meant
that they were greatly or much perplexed. The Greek text brings out that the word actually
means that there was no way out for them. Think about that. Because of the one who said I am
the way, the truth, and the life was now in their minds gone. He died. So, they don’t have a
way. The word also spoke of the fact that they had no resources. Without Jesus, it left them
with perplexed hearts.

Sometimes as we move through life as believers, we can become perplexed. What’s the answer
to perplexed hearts? An open tomb. It’s the answer for people’s hearts today. When you think
of this story how it continues to unfold, Jesus revealed himself to Mary Magdalene and then
the two disciples on the road to Emmaus which was from Jerusalem to Emmaus about seven or
eight miles. They talked together of all the things that had happened. vs. 14-15. They didn’t
recognize him. Vs. 16-17. So, clearly, he could see how discouraged they were. Maybe
disillusioned. Vs. 18. I don’t know what Jesus was thinking. It’s like what are you talking about?
And then, what does it say?

The things concerning Jesus of Nazareth. So, here they are telling Jesus about the things about Jesus of Nazareth. And again, he hadn’t revealed himself to them. Vs. 21-22. I love the fact too that they said we envisioned how it was that God was going to deliver us and it didn’t happen that way. I think we’ve all been there. Haven’t we at one point?
At a time in our life at one point or another we think we know how God’s going to deliver us.
We have an idea of how it’s supposed to be done. We believe it’s going to happen this way, and
we forget that God’s ways are like God’s thoughts. They’re nothing like our thoughts and our
ways.

Again, they anticipated that Jesus would come and deliver them from Caesar. Jesus is thinking
you don’t need to be delivered from Caesar. You need to be delivered from Satan. They think
we need to be delivered from the power of Rome. Jesus again always doing something greater
than we can even think or imagine says, no. You need to be delivered from the power of sin.
God always does, doesn’t he, exceedingly, abundantly above all we can ask or think in Ephesians
3:20.

And then, vs. 25-27. What a Bible study that must have been. Can you imagine as the living
Word just takes illustration after example after illustration and example from the Old
Testament and talking about the Passover Lamb. Talking about the great day of Atonement.
Talking about the scapegoat in Leviticus 16. Talking perhaps about Abraham willing to offer his son,
Isaac. I can’t even begin to imagine the things that he must have said to them.

As he did, what happened? He opened their slow hearts to believe. How did he do it? With the
Scriptures. There is nothing quite like the Scriptures. I can honestly say if I came down to church
tonight and if all I heard, and if all I heard was you are not free unless you have the freedom to
fail, that would be enough for me. That will sustain me. That will carry me through the week. I’ll
get in my car and drive home and when I get to a bridge, I will drive extremely fast. Get to the
other side of it. That’s how I’m going across all bridges from now on. I’m sure you might think
that way, too.

But really. He opened the Scriptures! Isn’t it amazing? You think of the wise men. Remember
when the wise men were lead to find Jesus at his birth. Remember the star. It was a sign that
God used to lead them. But where did that star lead them? It lead them to Jerusalem, to Herod’s palace, and there they said to Herod where is he that is born King of the Jews? And
what did Herod do? He had enough sense to call for the scribes. And the scribes came forward
and he had the scribes open the Scripture and they said in Bethlehem of Judea according to the
prophet Micah.

Now, why is that important? Because the sign was used to bring them to Jerusalem, but only
the Scriptures can bring you to Jesus. The Word of God brings us to Jesus, right? I think
probably some of us had signs in our lives. I remember the sign that got my attention. Jail! It
was! I went to jail! And all kinds of events had been leading up until that time, and that was it.
That was my sign.

But believe me. When I was in jail, I didn’t cry out and accept Christ as my Savior. I had to go
back and find the people that were telling me about the Gospel, and they brought me to a Bible
study and that’s where I found Jesus through the Scriptures. What does God do for perplexed
hearts? He opens his tomb and we find it empty. What does he does for slow hearts to believe?
He opens the Scriptures. What does he do for discouraged hearts? The Bible says their eyes
were opened in vs. 31 and they knew him and then he vanished out of their sights.

If God doesn’t open our eyes, and I think it’s amazing as well when you think of this story,
here’s Jesus. What was on his agenda? He’s got to go to the cross. He’s got to shed his blood for
the remission of sins for the whole world. He’s got to defeat death. He’s got to defeat the devil.
He’s got to gloriously triumph over sin, death, and the devil. And you would think that would be
enough. No. Before he ascends, he’s got to go out of his way and he’s got to find these two
discouraged, disillusioned disciples so he can again open their eyes and open their hearts. And
eventually guess what it lead to? It lead to them in vs. 35, they went and they told the things
that were done along the way. He opened their lips and gave them joyful hearts.

There is a progression in this story that is just so amazing. God will never leave us perplexed. He
will never leave our hearts filled with fear and doubt and thinking we don’t have a way out or
thinking we don’t know what to do or we don’t know where to turn. He will never let that
happen. He will remind us that an open tomb – and by the way, someone said that stone had to
be rolled away so Jesus had to get out. Nonsense. That stone was rolled away so we could go in.
Find an empty tomb and then become witnesses for a resurrected Christ.

He’ll never leave us with perplexed hearts. He’ll never leave us with slow hearts to believe. He’ll
reveal himself to us through the Scriptures. He’ll never leave us with discouraged hearts. He’ll
open our eyes and finally that will lead to you and I opening our mouths and declaring he is
risen again from the dead. He’s alive,  he cares. And he loves people enough to go out of his
way and find them in their discouragement and to bring them back to the reality of who he is
and what he’s done for them. Amen. Amen. Let’s pray together. (Prayer)

Please enjoy these sermon notes from the messages preached at Greater Grace Church in Baltimore. These notes are provided to aid in your study and understanding of the Word. Note that these notes do not represent complete, word-for-word transcriptions. Also, they may contain omissions as well as some errors in spelling and structure, etc., as we attempt to provide them as soon as possible. Our hope is that these notes serve as a way to help you search and connect with messages on related subjects and passages. Thank you for your interest in the ministry of Greater Grace.