Friday, September 5, 2014

Which one of us? Conclusion

Yesterday we paused just as Jesus handed a sop to Judas Iscariot. Some folks may not know the term, nowadays . . . here in the Southland, it's still used today. We use bits of bread to "sop" up the gravy or remnants of a great meal from our plates. In Bible times it was the same -- it was "a bit, a morsel" like in Ruth 2:14, where the word is used to mean a morsel of bread that was dipped before it was eaten.

It must have been deadly quiet when Jesus handed it to him. There was tremendous significance in what was happening -- that morsel of bread, that sop, stood for something.

Let's dive in!
Let's look at the letters S - O - P and think about what they might stand for in this case . . .
First, we could say that they stand for a Satan Owned Person. In the very next verse, John tells us that "after the sop Satan entered into him." Before a Christian can betray our Lord, we have to give way to the devil, to give in to him. When we quit fighting against Satan, we begin surrendering to him, and there is no in-between here; we must either be filled with Jesus or we will be full of Satan. Christ told us that we can't serve both, right?

It could also mean Skilled On Pretending. Verse 28 says, "Now no one at the meal understood why Jesus said this to him." When we mortals look at each other, we have trouble telling who is for real, and who is not. We can't read hearts as Jesus can. Humans are really good at disguising our hearts, and people may think that we are spiritual, but we are not. People may think that we are living holy, spirit-filled lives, but our secret sins are hidden just below the surface. Judas was a really "great pretender" -- he pretended to be a disciple that loved Jesus, but he was there in the room for the wrong reason.

Those letters could also stand for Steadily Occupied Position. In John 13:29 we see this:

                       Since Judas had charge of the money, some thought Jesus was telling
                       him to buy what was needed for the festival, or to give something to
                       the poor.

We can see that some of them didn't realize at first that Judas was the betrayer. He had held his position of treasurer for so long that they just thought of him that way.

If we look in John 17, we see what else the letters can stand for: Son of Perdition. Let's check out the 12th verse of that chapter:

                      While I was with them, I was keeping them in Your name which
                       You have given Me; and I guarded them and not one of them perished
                       but the son of perdition, so that the Scripture would be fulfilled.

Judas had pretended for an awfully long time.
He had done it for so long that he didn't even know himself that he'd become a pawn of the devil. He didn't fully realize the impact of his sinful plan. Perhaps he was thinking that they might whip Jesus, or maybe he thought they would throw him in prison for a short while and then release Him. It may be that Judas hadn't a clue that his betrayal would cause Jesus to die. But Jesus knew.

Those letters could mean Settled On Price. If we look in Matthew 26:15, we can see that Judas was only after the money -- he was paid thirty pieces of silver. Did you know that silver, in scripture, is almost always used as a symbol of judgment? If we look further back, into the Old Testament law, thirty pieces of silver was the price paid for a slave that had been gored by an ox. So Jesus was sold as a slave . . . and then would be pierced by nails and spears.

The most important thing, I believe, is that these letters can stand for the fact that Judas was the Same Old Person. He had been following Jesus around, but it seems he had never been born again. Like many in our world today, he never fully knew Jesus, and would not know Jesus as his Savior, because he loved the world and money and his religion; he loved all of these more than he loved Jesus.

Here is the question that we must wrestle with: could any of us betray Jesus?
None of us are as holy as we want everyone else to think that we are. We are not as perfect as we sometimes make ourselves out to be, or as much as we'd like to think we are in our own minds.
We are all capable of betraying Him if we are not careful to daily walk with Him. We must talk with Him each day, and allow His Spirit to guide us. We must spend time in His word, so that the Spirit has tools to use, to keep us in His pathway. That's what it takes, to keep us from becoming the Lord's betrayer, just like Judas was.

I am indebted to several preachers who have used this concept of the letters "S-O-P" in sermons, for assistance in preparing this final study on our passage.

1 comment:

Belinda said...

I feel like a "SOP" sometimes. On the surface I'm all about Jesus, but just under the skin, I'm really doing my own thing. Meh.