Chronicle of the Lord’s Supper: The Night He Was Betrayed
January 2nd, 1966 @ 7:30 PM
THE NIGHT HE WAS BETRAYED
Dr. W. A. Criswell
1-2-66 7:30 p.m.
On WRR radio you are invited to share with us the reading of the Scriptures in the First Baptist Church in Dallas. We open our Bibles and read out loud God’s Holy Word together. Turn to Matthew, which is the First Gospel, turn to Matthew chapter 26, and we shall read from verses 20 through verse 30. Matthew chapter 26, beginning at verse 20 and reading through verse 30. And the title of the message tonight is The Night He Was Betrayed. Matthew 26, beginning at verse 20, reading through verse 30 and sharing our Bibles, all of us read it out loud together:
Now when the even was come, He sat down with the twelve.
And as they did eat, He said, Verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray Me.
And they were exceeding sorrowful, and began every one of them to say unto Him, Lord, is it I?
And He answered and said, He that dippeth his hand with Me in the dish, the same shall betray Me.
The Son of Man goeth as it is written of Him: but woe unto that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It had been good for that man if he had not been born.
Then Judas, which betrayed Him, answered and said, Master, is it I? He said unto him, Thou hast said.
And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is My body.
And He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it:
For this is My blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.
But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom. And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the Mount of Olives.
Tonight, in keeping with this holy service of breaking bread and sharing the cup, I thought that I would try to recount the background in the life of our Lord that led to the institution of this holy memorial service. After the Lord had finished His ministry in the days of His flesh, a little over three years, beginning in Judea, He made a last, long trip to Jerusalem, at which time, at the Passover Feast, He was delivered unto death [Matthew 26:17].
And in making the journey to Jerusalem, instead of going straight to the city, which would have been just a few miles, He rather turned His face northward and went through Samaria and Galilee, then over the Jordan into Perea, and so back over Jordan by Jericho, and up finally through Bethany into the Holy City [John 12:1]—as though for one last and final time, He was preaching the gospel of the kingdom before He died and telling the people of the good news of the love and grace of God [Matthew 4:17].
Now having made this journey through Samaria and into Galilee and across the Jordan east into Perea, as He was walking through some city or some town, there came a young man in the broad open daylight, unashamed, and knelt down before the Lord Jesus and said, “Master, good Master, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” [Mark 10:17]. Nicodemus came to see the Lord by night [John 3:1-2]. Joseph of Arimathea did not come out openly, publicly for the Savior until he asked for His body taken down from the cross [Matthew 27:57-60]. But this young man, a ruler, and rich, and young with every heavenly endowment, unashamed where the eyes of the whole world could see him; he ran into the way, and knelt down at the feet of Jesus, and asked the way to eternal life. The story does not end gladly. He turned aside and away. He loved the wrong world. But Jesus, looking upon him, fine and noble from the days of childhood, standing at the threshold of highest manhood, Jesus loved him [Mark 10:17-23].
And as He walked the way through Perea, He said to His disciples that He was on His way to Jerusalem to die, to be crucified [Mark 10:32-34]. So crossing back over Jordan to the west and coming to Jericho, one of the oldest cities in the world, and as He entered into the city of Jericho, there was a blind man named Bartimeus, the son of Timeus; Bartimeus. And when he asked why it was throngs were passing by, they said, “Jesus, the Prophet of Nazareth, passes by.” And he cried out to the top of his voice, “Jesus, Jesus, Thou Son of David, have mercy on me” [Mark 10:46-47]. And the friends around him said, “Be still. Hush. He hasn’t time for beggars and blind. Shut up, shut up!” But the Lord had heard him as he cried the louder, and He stopped and bid Bartimeus to come. And in the graciousness of that moment, Bartimeus received his sight, and he looked upon God’s great earth [Mark 1:48-52].
Then as the Lord passed through Jericho, there was a man of little stature who wanted to see Him, and his name was Zaccheus. And because of the throng and the crowd, he couldn’t look over the shoulders of those who stood in the way. So he ran ahead and climbed up a tree that he might look down upon Jesus the Son of God. And Jesus finds the lost sinner wherever he is, even up in a tree. And when the Lord came, He looked up and said to Zaccheus, “Zaccheus, come down, for today shall I spend these hours in thy house” [Luke 19:1-5]. And the Lord brought salvation and glory to the family of Zaccheus [Luke 19:9-10].
Then the Lord, walking along the way, told a parable to those who thought that the kingdom of heaven was immediately to appear. The great popularity of Jesus, and His power to heal, and His marvelous words of wisdom—they thought the apocalyptic descent of the kingdom of heaven was at hand [Luke 19:11]. And then as He walked through the crowds leaving Jericho, He told the parable of the pounds [Luke 19:12-27]. They were given each one pound. And one came and said, “Master I have taken thy pound and look at the gain I have wrought; ten pounds I bring to thee.” And the Lord said, “Thou shalt be ruler over ten cities” [Luke 19:15-17]. And another said, “Lord, thy pound hath gained five other pounds.” And the master said, “Thou shalt be ruler over five cities” [Luke 19: 18-19]. All of which is the Master’s way of saying that in heaven, in glory, there are differences of reward.
There will be somebody who will sit on the right hand of our Savior; there will be somebody who will sit on the left hand of our Savior [Mark 10:35-40]. There are some who shall be greatly honored, and there are some, as Paul says, who will be saved just by the skin of their teeth, just as if by fire, as though they ran naked out of a house that was burning [1 Corinthians 3:15]. They shall have no reward at all, just be there, just there. The parable of the pounds, and in it the Lord gives a clear intimation and avowal to those listening that the kingdom of heaven shall not descend immediately [Luke 19:11-27]. There is a time and a time, and already it has been two thousand years.
Then the Lord made His way up through Bethany and Bethphage, and finally stood at the brow of Olivet on Sunday [Mark 11:1]. And that was the message this morning. Standing there, throngs on every side; this is the day of the presentation of Israel’s promised King! This is the royal triumph. This is the triumph of victory, the entrance of glory, when the Son of Man comes to the kingdom and comes to the temple. And He enters Jerusalem amid the acclaim and the cries of shouting and Hosanna and glory to God [Mark 11:7-11; Luke 19:35-40]. This is Sunday, the first day of the week.
Then on Monday, the Lord returning back to Bethany Sunday evening, then on Monday, the Lord came to the temple again, and on the way He saw a fig tree, barren, just leaves. And He cursed the fig tree [Mark 11:12-14]. The fig tree in the Bible is a sign and a symbol of the nation of Israel. “And they brought not forth fruit unto God, and the Lord said, I shall cast them aside and choose a people who shall bear fruit unto God” [Matthew 21:43]. And having cursed the fig tree, He went to the temple, and for the second time He cleansed the temple [Mark 11:15-16]. Oh, with what hatred, and with what bitterness, and with what acrimony, and with what words of violent castigation did the rulers of the people, the Sadducees, the Pharisees, the Sanhedrin, the officers of the temple, did they see the Lord throw over their money tables, drive out their traffic in birds and beasts and sacrifices! “My house,” said the Lord, “shall be called a house of prayer, and you have made it a house of merchandising, and trading, and selling, and gain” [Mark 11:17-18].
Then the Lord turned aside and listened to two of His disciples, Philip and Andrew. There were such throngs and such crowds around Jesus that a visitor could not even get to see Him. So some Greeks coming from afar––I’ve often wondered who they were. Were they philosophers from Athens? Were they great intellectual giants of their day, having heard of the Prophet of Nazareth? They came, and not able to get to Jesus, they came to Philip. And Philip brought them to Andrew, and those Greeks said, “Sir, we would see Jesus” [John 12:20-21].
And when Philip and Andrew brought the message to the Lord [John 12:22], thronged on every side, it brought to the Lord the vision of the great worldwide Gentile kingdom that should include saved men of every nation and tribe and language under the sun. And when the Lord heard the request of those Greeks [John 12:20-21], He said, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, shall draw all men unto Me [John 12:32]. If a grain of wheat fall in the ground and die, it bringeth forth much fruit” [John 12:24]. And the Lord shall die, that the harvest of the world and especially the Gentiles might be offered unto God [John 4:35]. This is on Monday.
Then on Tuesday the Lord returns to the temple. This is the day following the day that He cleansed the temple. And when the Lord enters the temple, He is immediately accosted by all of the religious leaders of the nation. First, He is accosted by the Sanhedrin, and formally He is asked, “By what authority do You do these things?” [Mark 11:28]. And the Lord says, “I will answer your question if you will answer one of My questions first. The baptism of John, John the Baptist, was it of men, or did it come from God?” [Mark 11:29-30]. And those Sanhedrinists meet together and they say,
How shall we reply? If we say that John the Baptist invented His baptism and it is a concoction of His own mind, and it comes from men, the people will stone us. For all men everywhere received John the Baptist as a prophet. But if we say to the Lord that his baptism was from heaven, that God ordained him and sent him with this holy rite, then He will say to us, Well, then why don’t you believe him?
For John the Baptist bore witness to Jesus, the Son of God. So they turned and said to the Lord after their conference, the Sanhedrin, they said, “We are not able to reply. We do not know where John the Baptist got his authority to baptize, whether of men or of God.” And the Lord Jesus said, “Neither will I tell you then where I got My authority to do the things that I do” [Mark 11:33].
Then upon that occasion, why, the Pharisees and the Herodians gathered [Mark 12:13]. They were mortal enemies! The Herodians were a sect, a party, in the nation that wanted the rule of Herod’s family to become regnant. It finally came to pass through their efforts. Herod Agrippa I was king over all Judah and all Palestine when James the brother of John was slain by the edge of the sword [Acts 12:1-2], and Herod Agrippa II was the king before whom Paul made his great apology and defense [Acts 26:1-29]. The Herodians were those who wanted the family of Herod to come back and they have a kingdom over the Jewish people. Now the Pharisees were just the opposite. They hated the Herodians, and the Romans, and the whole vile enslavement. But upon this occasion they gathered together in a joint hatred of the Lord Jesus.
So the Pharisees and the Herodians come to the Lord, and they say, “Master, we want to ask You a question. We know You are a man of God. We know You come from heaven, and we know You are wise unto all answers. Now, Master, tell us, is it right to give tribute to Caesar, or not?” [Mark 12:13-14].
Oh, how fine introduction, and how plain, and how simple a question! “Shall we give tribute to Caesar, or not?” [Mark 12:15]. They thought they had Him on the horns of a dilemma. Whichever way He answered, they would crush Him. If the Lord said, “Yes, we ought to give tribute to Caesar,” the whole nation would rise up against Him. “So you believe in the enslavement of God’s people and the iron heel of Rome?” Or if the Lord had said, “No, it is not right to give tribute to Caesar,” then they would have arrested Him on the spot, and arraigned Him before the Roman government. “This is a man guilty of insurrection, for He teaches the people not to pay taxes to the government.”
And the Lord replied, “Bring Me a piece of the tribute money,” a Roman coin [Mark 12:15]. And they brought Him a piece of the tribute money, a Roman coin. And He asked them, “Whose image is on this coin, the money that you use in the land?” And they said, “Caesar’s.” And the Lord replied, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and give to God the things that are God’s.” And they were astonished at His answer [Mark 12:15-17].
And the Sadducees, standing by, seeing the Lord Jesus answer so wisely and astutely those Pharisees, the Sadducees came up with a question that they knew would crush the Lord [Mark 12:18-23]. The Sadducees had used that like Samson used the jawbone of an ass to slay the Philistines [Judges 15:15-16]. So the Sadducees, who do not believe in angels, and do not believe in an afterlife, and do not believe in immortality, and do not believe in the resurrection of the dead, and do not believe in heaven, the Sadducees who were the cynics and the critics of their day, they had a stock story by which they had slain their enemies ever since there was a Sadducee. And it was an old, old thing. And it went like this:
As you know, we have in our nation the levirate marriage, which says if a man dies and he has no child, no heir, then his brother is to take the widow and to raise up a child unto the dead brother. And if he does not have an issue, then his brother is to take her and to raise up a son in his name, lest his name perish from the earth.
[Mark 12:18-19; Deuteronomy 25:5-6]
So the Sadducees say:
Now there were seven brothers: and the first one married this wife and he died and he had no son. And the second married that wife and he died and had no son. And the third took her and the fourth and the fifth and the sixth and the seventh; and all seven of them were married to that one woman. And last of all, the woman died. Now You say You believe in the resurrection, now You say You believe in immortality, You say You believe in heaven—in heaven, whose wife is she going to be, for all seven of them had her?
“Ha ha, ha ha!” said the Sadducee. “Ha ha ha ha! Now what are You going to say about the resurrection?” Man, they’d been saying that old question ever since there was a Sadducee. And the Lord looked at them and said, “Ye do greatly err not knowing the Word of God” [Mark 12:24]. Why, they were professionals in the Word of God. Why, they were the leaders in the Sanhedrin. Why, they practically owned the temple. “You do greatly err not knowing the Scriptures or the power of God.” And here you have an example of a great doctrine built on the tense of a verb in the Holy Bible. Talk about inspiration [2 Timothy 3:16]. The very tenses of the verbs are inspired. And the Lord said, “Have you never read, have you never read where God said ‘I am the Lord God of Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob?’ God is not the God of the dead, but of the living” [Mark 12:26-27]. Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob; God is the God—not was the God—God is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob! They live in His sight [Mark 12:26-27].
Then He said, “As touching the resurrection of the dead, and as touching the immortality of the life to come, there is no procreation in heaven,” he said, “but we shall be as the angels in glory” [Mark 12:25]. Michael the angel, Gabriel the angel, you will be you, and you will be you, and I shall be I. And we shall all be somebody unique, somebody separate, somebody identified, somebody personal in heaven. The only difference will be that in glory we will not be a sexed saint. There will not be a woman as such. There will not be a man as such. We will not live together in conjugal relationships [Mark 12:25]. For all of the procreation is passed in the grave. But in the glory that is to come, we shall be what we are in Christ: saints, saved, redeemed children of the Lord [1 Peter 1:18-19].
And a Pharisaic lawyer, a lawyer of the Pharisees, listening to the Lord as He answered, saw that the Lord was wise beyond anything he ever saw or heard in his life. And he said to the Lord, “Lord, all Thou dost answer wisely. Tell me, which is the great commandment of the law?” [Mark 12:28]. For, you see, those rabbis had done no other thing through the centuries than to say you can observe this law, and you can reject this law. But if you reject this one, why, you will be damned. And if you were to reject this one, though, you’d be saved. So they counterbalanced what a man could do and still be saved, and what he could not do and still get by with it. Just like so many Christians today: “What is the least that I can do? What is the very minimum that I could offer to God, the smallest?”
So the lawyer of the Pharisees says, “What is the great commandment?” [Mark 12:28]. And the Lord answered it. He answered every question that was asked Him. He said, “The first and great commandment is: Hear, O Israel; the Lord thy God is one God; and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all your heart, mind, soul, strength. And the second commandment is like unto it: thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself” [Mark 12:29-31]. And when the lawyer heard Jesus reply like that, he said, “Master, Thou hast well said, for to love God and to love a man’s neighbor is more than all ritual and rabbinical casuistry” [Mark 12:32-33]. And when the Lord heard him reply that way, He said, “Sir, thou art not far from the kingdom, at the door, at the door” [Mark 12:32-34]; that on Tuesday.
Then, on Tuesday afternoon, they left, and the Lord never returned to the temple again. They left, and as they walked by the temple, the disciples said, “Look at these tremendous stones, these great stones” [Mark 13:1]. And if you go to Jerusalem, the foundation which used to be hidden out of sight, the foundation stones of that temple can still be seen; tremendous stones. And the disciples pointed out those enormous stones to the Lord. And the Lord said, “Come and sit down by My side.” And the disciples sat down, and He prophesied the destruction of the temple, the scattering of the people of God through the nations of the earth, and the signs of His coming and the end of the world [Matthew 24:1-51], and then told them the parables of the five virgins wise and foolish [Matthew 25:1-13], and the parable of the great judgment of the sheep divided from the goats [Matthew 25:31-46]. That’s on Tuesday afternoon.
Then on Tuesday night, they made a dinner for the Lord in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper [Matthew 26:6-13]. And at that dinner there were His disciples. And as they broke bread, there came Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus, and she broke an alabaster box of ointment, spikenard [Mark 14:3]—very precious; costs so much that a man would work a solid year just to own that alabaster box, a year’s wages—and when she broke that alabaster box over the Lord, the perfume filled the house, and she worshipped at the feet of the Lord [John 12:3]. Judas––and he was the only one of the disciples who really understood those prophecies of the Lord, that He was to die [John 10:15-18]––Judas looked upon it and said, “What a waste, what a waste. Why wasn’t this ointment sold and the proceeds given to the poor?” [John `1:4-5]. Not because he cared anything about the poor, John said, but he carried the bag, he was the treasurer, and he took out of it [John 12:4-6].
You know when people say, “Why in the world, the waste of money?” this beautiful stained-glass window, and this beautiful sanctuary, and this glorious church; when people talk like that, I think of Judas: “Why this waste? Why was it not sold and the money given to the poor?” [John 12:4-6]. And the Lord said, “You will always have the poor, but Me you have not always, and she hath anointed Me for My burial. Leave her alone and wherever the gospel is preached”—I am fulfilling the prophecy this minute—“wherever the gospel is preached, there shall it be told what this sweet devout Mary of Bethany has done for Me” [Matthew 26:9-13]. Oh, it was a rebuke to Judas!
And stung by that rebuke, he went out and on Wednesday all of the contractual agreements were made, and the thirty pieces of silver were weighed out and given to Judas to betray the Lord away from the crowd where the rioting mob might not interfere [Matthew 26:14-16]. So Judas conspired with the leaders of the temple to sell his Master for thirty pieces of silver. Then on Thursday was the day of the fourteenth of Nisan and the slaying of the Passover [Numbers 26:18]. And the Lord said to His disciples, “You go into the city, and there you will see a man carrying a pitcher of water on his shoulder” [Luke 22:7-10].
Now that was a sign. No man ever carried water. No man ever carried a pitcher of water. That was a woman’s work. But this was a sign, for the Lord was to eat the Passover with the disciples [Luke 22:11]. There was a price on His head and He had to do it furtively and secretly and clandestinely [John 11:53-54, 57]. So He sent the disciples into the city and that was the sign. They saw a man walking with a pitcher of water on his shoulder. “Follow him,” said the Lord, “and he will take you to an upper room where everything is in readiness,” and it was so. They entered into that upper room and saw everything in readiness [Luke 22:11-13]. And they sat down to eat the Passover that night, Thursday night [Luke 22:14].
And when they sat down there was an argument among them about who should be greatest [Luke 22:24-30]. You see it was precipitated by who was going to sit next to the Lord. “Who is going to be the greatest? Who is going to sit here? And who is going to sit here?” [Luke 22:24]. And it was then that the Lord took off His clothes, and wrapped Himself with a towel, and began to wash the disciples’ feet [John 13:4-14]. We’re to be the servants of one another, not the lords over each other [John 13:15-17]. And after He had washed their feet, He placed His garments back upon Him and sat down. And while they were eating, He said, “Verily, truly I say unto you, one of you shall deliver Me into the hands of these who put a price on My head tonight. One of you will betray Me” [John 13:21].
And they all were sorrowful and began to say, “Lord, surely not one of us. Lord, could it be I? I? Lord is it? Is it I?” [Matthew 26:22]. In that day, when they ate, they reclined. Their feet were out and they ate on their left elbow. And they ate like this. And John was seated to the Lord’s right, and, as he leaned on his elbow, his head was next to the bosom of the Lord Jesus. And Simon Peter who sat on that side of John, Simon Peter said to John, “John, ask the Lord: who is it going to betray Him?” So John asked the Master, “Lord, who is it among us?” And the Lord said to John, “He it is to whom I shall dip the bread in this broth and give it to him.” And the Lord took a piece of unleavened bread and dipped it in the broth and gave it to Judas; “And what thou doest, do quickly.” And Judas went out, and it was night [John 13:21-30].
And when Satan entered Judas and he had left to gather the company together to bring them to Gethsemane, there to betray the Master, after he was gone [Matthew 26:14-16, 21-25], why, the Lord took bread, and blessed it, and brake it. And gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” And He took the cup, and gave thanks and gave it to them saying, “All of you drink of it; for this is My blood of the new covenant, the new promise, which is shed for the remission of sins” [Matthew 26:26-28].
There is a fountain filled with blood
Drawn from Emmanuel’s veins,
And sinners plunged beneath the flood
Lose all their guilty stains.
The dying thief rejoiced to see
That fountain in his day,
And there may I, though vile as he,
Wash all my sins away.
Dear dying Lamb, Thy precious blood
Shall never lose its power,
Till all the ransomed church of God
Be saved to sin no more.
E’er since by faith I saw the stream
Thy flowing wounds supply,
Redeeming grace has been my theme
And shall be till I die.
Then in a nobler, sweeter song,
I’ll sing Thy power to save,
When this poor, lisping, stammering tongue
Lies silent in the grave.
[“There is a Fountain,” William Cowper]
For the remission of our sins [Matthew 26:28]; oh, come in faith to the Lord Jesus! [Ephesians 2:8]. We’re going to sing that song of William Cowper. We are going to sing that song, and while we sing it, somebody you, give himself in trust to Jesus. A family you, coming into the fellowship of the church; while we sing the song, come tonight. Come tonight. In the balcony round, on this lower floor; I shall be standing here, come. “Pastor, I give you my hand. I’ve given my heart to the Lord. I want to make known before men and angels the commitment of my life to Jesus, and here I am.” Or to put your life and your family in the fellowship of this precious church, or just one somebody you, come. Make it tonight. Make it now. When we stand in a moment, stand up coming. Do it. Do it now, while we stand and while we sing.