Pastor Jeremy Husby delivers a sermon entitled “Jesus Was Humiliated For You” based on Matthew 26:47-56 at Peace Lutheran Church in Hartford, Wisconsin.
Delivered on Sunday, July 23, 2018
Friend, do what you came for.
Judas had arranged a signal with those chief priests and elders of the people. The one I kiss is the man. Even if Jesus wasn’t omniscient, the all-knowing God, he would have known that this kiss from Judas was something different. The very word that Matthew used to describe it is only used a handful of times in the New Testament.
When the prodigal son, practicing his apology speech, wandered back home with hopes to become his father’s slave, his father ran out to meet him on the road, threw his arms around him, and kissed him because of how much he loved him.
When the Apostle Paul, preparing for another missionary journey, told the Ephesian elders that he would likely never see them again, they cried and embraced him and kissed him because of how much they loved him.
And, just days before this night in Gethsemane, when Jesus was staying at the house of Simon the Leper in Bethany, a woman came to him, knelt down in front of him, washed his feet with expensive perfume and her own hair, and would not stop kissing his feet because of how much she loved him.
This was the type of kiss that Judas gave to Jesus. The same kiss and embrace he had given him in the past. The same kiss he had received from Jesus when troubled times wreaked their havoc in his life. And yet, with this kiss, Judas betrayed Jesus and handed him over to his enemies for sure and certain death.
And, because he is omniscient, the all-knowing God, Jesus knew why Judas came to the garden that night, with the crowd from the chief priests and elders of the people, with their swords and clubs. He knew why Judas came in close and gave him this kiss. But he didn’t stop it. He didn’t call down twelve legions of angels to be at his defense and disposal. He knew it had to be this way. He knew the Scriptures had to be fulfilled, so there was only one thing for him to say. Friend, do what you came for.
Jesus’ words did not excuse Judas’ thoughts, words, and actions. Rather, Judas’ thoughts, words, and actions were the reason why it all had to happen this way. Not just on that night in the Garden of Gethsemane, but throughout his whole life.
Can you imagine the emotions Jesus must have felt 3 years earlier as he called Judas to be one of his closest companions? Among the rag-tag team of disciples, Judas must have blended in well enough; at times asking Jesus important, faith-filled questions, and putting his trust in Jesus’ response. Other times, like when that woman washed Jesus’ feet, Judas, as did the other disciples, expressed his misunderstanding of Jesus’ ministry.
The whole time, Jesus knew that Judas would betray him with a kiss and not only did he allow it to happen, but he allowed all the event of that evening to happen so that he could win forgiveness for that betrayal and for all of Judas’ sin.
With how much Jesus loved Judas and with how much Judas loved Jesus, one begins to wonder why Judas would have gone through with it. Yes, the Scriptures had to be fulfilled, but that wasn’t the priority on Judas’ mind. He also wasn’t some robot, programmed by God to carry out this task without any consideration for his own will or volition.
Judas, while not the omniscient, all-knowing God, did know who Jesus was and did know what the chief priests and elders of the people wanted to do with him once they could get their hands on him. And yet he not only allowed this betrayal to happen, but even did all he could, with secret midnight meetings, in full premeditated motive, to make it happen.
Do you ever try to come up with an excuse for Judas’ thoughts, words, and actions?
It was just a rash reaction, as the treasurer of the disciples’ bank account, to the woman breaking the alabaster jar of perfume and wasting it on Jesus’ feet.
He was just fulfilling the purpose for which he was put on this earth.
He was overcome by the temptations of the Devil.
He was confused.
He made a mistake and didn’t fully understand the repercussions.
Say what you want, but none of those excuses remove Judas’ fault and culpability for his sin. And, unfortunately, the same is true when you try to use those same excuses to remove your own fault and culpability for your sins.
One thing led to another and, before I knew it, it got out of hand.
I didn’t know how strong that last drink was going to be.
It started out so innocently and then I made a lapse in judgment.
I didn’t know what else to do.
It was a simple mistake. Everybody makes mistakes. Nobody’s perfect.
You know right from wrong. You know who Jesus is and that, when you sin, you are disobeying him. You know that you are not simply allowing sin to happen but, so often, you are, with full premeditated motive, making it happen.
Try as you might, you cannot excuse your sin away, diminish it, or sweep it under the rug. The only way to get rid of it is for your friend to do what he came for. You need Jesus to be humiliated for you.
Jesus’ humiliation was not simply some sort of embarrassment therapy he underwent as some spiritual journey throughout his years on this earth. His humiliation was him accomplishing a task that was outright inconceivable for the almighty God to undertake.
Jesus left the honor and praise of his throne in the glory of heaven to become an embryo in the womb of a woman. The sinless Son of God submitted himself to the authority and commands of sinful human parents. The author and very personification of the Word of God spent day and night studying, meditating on, and teaching the Scriptures in the Temple and its courts. The almighty God, the Sabaoth LORD, in control of the myriad armies of heaven, allowed humans with crude weapons to take him into custody. The one whose face exudes glory allowed it to, instead, be marred by fists and spit, cuts and bruises. The very Resurrection and Life in human form died the death of a common thief and was buried in someone else’s tomb.
He did it all, not to excuse your sin, diminish it, or sweep it under the rug; but to fulfill the most ancient prophecy in the Scriptures and conquer sin, death, and the Devil for you.
Knowing all that you would do, all the sinful thoughts, words, and actions that you have committed and all that you will commit in the future, Jesus was humiliated for you; to live his perfect life in your place and sacrifice that perfect life as payment for them all.
Friends, knowing who Jesus is and what he has done for you, do what you came here for today. Do not do what Judas did, seeing how greatly he sinned against his Jesus and, in despair and desperation, think that your sins are unforgivable as he did.
Instead, confess your sins to the one you have sinned against and repent of them. Kneel down in front of your Savior and, because you love him so much, lay everything you have at his feet. And, because he loves you so much, know that he did what he came for. Jesus was humiliated for you. He fulfilled the Scriptures. You are forgiven. Amen.