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Bread for Betrayal

1 Corinthians 11:23-29 (KJV)
23 For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread:
24 And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.
25 After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.
26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.
27 Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.
28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.
29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. 

This passage has become one of the most haunting, but at the same time most revealing passages in the Bible.  Whether or not we are serving communion at this reading (we’re not), it still has a powerful impact on us.  The situation is clear.  Jesus is in his favorite place to gather with his disciples.  From our vantage point, we know that Christ in now entering his week of passion—his capture, mock trial, crucifixion, burial, resurrection, ascension and glorification.  It is not clear that his disciples knew exactly what was ahead of them.  I do believe that they were beginning to comprehend the purpose and plan of Jesus.  

The time setting was significant.  “…the same night in which he was betrayed took bread.”  Paul, in writing this, did not say Monday night or Tuesday night.  He did not specify the fourteenth of the month—or whatever.  He associated the act of Jesus with the night of betrayal.  In other words, take note all you who read this, that this supreme act of Jesus took place against the backdrop of the worst act of betrayal in the annals of history.  It is in the worst circumstances that the best response can take place.  It is in the darkest night that the brightest beam of God’s grace and glory can shine forth.  

The body of Jesus was about to be broken; the blood of Jesus was about to be spilled.  Then, Jesus makes a statement that has caused much anxiety to the church over many centuries.  “Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread and drink this cup of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.” 

In a larger sense, this searing statement finds application to all of us who would take the Lord’s Supper in succeeding centuries.  But in a specific sense, Jesus had someone in mind.  If you recall, he referred to this person in the foot washing episode. 

John 13:1-11 (KJV)
1 Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end.
2 And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him;
3 Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God;
4 He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself.
5 After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded.
6 Then cometh he to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet?
7 Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter.
8 Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me.
9 Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head.
10 Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all.
11 For he knew who should betray him; therefore said he, Ye are not all clean.


First, I want to talk to you about adversity. 

How do we handle it? Paul Stoltz, in Adversity Quotient, says we are quitters, campers or climbers. Some of us fold the tent at the first sign of adversity and just quit. Others find out where their level of tolerance to normal adversity fluctuates and learn to live within that range. They are campers. The most successful among us, however, never discover anything that stops them. They keep climbing, battling against the most brutal opposition, until they plant their flag at the top. 

Whenever you see spiritually successful people, don’t admire their brilliance or covet their favorable environment. Instead, examine their adversity quotient. No saint achieves a consistent prayer life without adversity standing in the way. No parent enjoys victory in their home without adversity. No godly man or woman lives an overcoming life without adversity challenging every moment. No flaming evangel witnesses for Christ without adversity showing up at every opportunity. None of these people have a superior strain of the Holy Ghost. They don’t have a better plan. They don’t command more angels as ministering spirits. They simply refuse to allow adversity to win. 

The Apostolic church has the best plan in the world. We preach the life-transforming gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. We teach the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. We know that repentance, baptism in Jesus’ name and the infilling of the Holy Ghost constitutes full Bible salvation. We not only know these things theologically, we witness them experientially. Everything we need and want is in our relationship with God. If any of us have a problem, it is not in our plan, but in our diminished capacity for adversity. 

Expect adversity. “Be sober…for your adversary, the Devil, walketh about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” Jesus said, “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33. Every trap, snare and stumbling block is before you. Sickness, tragedy, trouble, rejection, human failure, temptation and opposition of every brand, stripe and form will menace you. Many foes are real. Many are imaginary. Many are unrealized threats. All constitute adversity. Every great revival was spawned in adversity. 

God may never take away the adversity, but he will do two things: 

He will give you an increased capacity to absorb it! There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. I Corinthians 10:13. Paul said, “None of these things move me.” Acts 20:24 . 

He will show you the way to victory over it! I John 4:4 says, Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.” By going on the offense, by committing yourself to spiritual disciplines, by looking to your goals rather than your goblins, you will destroy the material sources of your failures. 

We cannot improve our plan. We can, and must, improve our adversity quotient! 

What did Jesus do? 

If you read through the remainder of John 13, you will know precisely what Jesus knew about Judas.  But the most amazing thing about the reaction of Jesus was that in the very presence of a traitor, in the very revelation of who was going to be responsible for betraying his trust, Jesus did not act to protect himself.  He did not curse Judas.  He did not disrupt the plan of God from playing itself out. 

Jesus was acting in accord with Bible prophecy. 

Psalm 41:7-9 (KJV)
7 All that hate me whisper together against me: against me do they devise my hurt.
8 An evil disease, say they, cleaveth fast unto him: and now that he lieth he shall rise up no more.
9 Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me.

Yet, even though he knew what was happening, he still had options open to him.  

1) He could have called out Judas and stopped him from the act of betrayal.  That’s what most of us would have done.  We don’t like to be hurt, we don’t like to be threatened, we don’t like it when someone does something against us.  We scream.  We fight.  We counterattack.  We demand that they cease and desist.  We get up in arms.  We call 9-11, call out the national guard, call the media hot-line, whatever.  We do know that we are not going to sit back and take it.  We believe in the old saying “Don’t get mad, get even!” 

2) He could have ignored him.  Jesus may not have done anything proactive to stop Judas, but he could have ignored him.  He could have shut him out from the banquet.  Many people react to adversity or personal attack by our enemies by a self-righteous exclusionary technique.  The individual we don’t like—or that we know doesn’t like us—we treat as a non-person.  They don’t even exist as far as we’re concerned.  “I’m not going to hurt you—I just going to draw a circle around me and my friends and leave you on the outside.”  

3)  Jesus reached out to him.  And, in case Judas didn’t respond, Jesus broke bread with his disciples.  Breaking bread meant that Jesus continued to minister to people.  Jesus marched to the beat of a distant drummer.  He did not see this as a personal problem with one man.  He recognized that there was a much bigger plan at stake here.  The most incredible fact was that the betrayal of Judas was going to launch the very drama of redemption. 

Without the burial, there would be no resureection.

Without the death there would be no burial.

Without the capture, there would be no death.

Without the betrayal, there would be no capture. 

Some of us weary God with asking foolish and unlearned questions.  Why?  Why?  Why?  Why did this happen to me?  Why can’t things be better for me?  Why did this person do me wrong when I didn’t do anything to deserve it?  Why did this person get cancer and this other person didn’t?  Why did this person find a husband or wife and I didn’t?  

Do you know the danger of these kinds of questions?  Because mankind has a tendency to supply answers for them when the answer is not forthcoming.  And, our answer is usually accusatory against God!  

But, dismissing offense and reaching out in love and grace has always been the Christ way. 

Matthew 5:38-44 (KJV)
38 Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:
39 But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.
40 And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also.
41 And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.
42 Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.
43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; 

When Jesus came face to face with the man who would betray him, he disdained the dagger.  He broke bread.  In the face of his greatest adversity, he held out the bread and the cup.  I am convinced that Jesus was tested to a far greater extent in his encounter with Judas the traitor than he was with the Jewish high priest or the Roman executioners.  


I take you to Joseph, a figure of Christ in typology.  The betrayal of Joseph happened many years before.  Now he was in a position of great authority.  His brothers—the same ones who sold him into slavery—were gathered around him.  How did he respond? 

Genesis 45:1-8 (KJV)
1 Then Joseph could not refrain himself before all them that stood by him; and he cried, Cause every man to go out from me. And there stood no man with him, while Joseph made himself known unto his brethren.
2 And he wept aloud: and the Egyptians and the house of Pharaoh heard.
3 And Joseph said unto his brethren, I am Joseph; doth my father yet live? And his brethren could not answer him; for they were troubled at his presence.
4 And Joseph said unto his brethren, Come near to me, I pray you. And they came near. And he said, I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt.
5 Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life.
6 For these two years hath the famine been in the land: and yet there are five years, in the which there shall neither be earing nor harvest.
7 And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance.
8 So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God: and he hath made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt. 

When you are given betrayal, offer bread.

When you are threatened, maligned, hurt or attacked, offer bread.

When you think you cannot make it one more step, offer bread. 

Jesus knew that by offering bread, he was giving salvation to the world.  

Isaiah 30:18-26 (KJV)
20 And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity, and the water of affliction, yet shall not thy teachers be removed into a corner any more, but thine eyes shall see thy teachers:
21 And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.

23 Then shall he give the rain of thy seed, that thou shalt sow the ground withal; and bread of the increase of the earth, and it shall be fat and plenteous: in that day shall thy cattle feed in large pastures.

26 Moreover the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be sevenfold, as the light of seven days, in the day that the LORD bindeth up the breach of his people, and healeth the stroke of their wound.

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