The Night He Was Betrayed

The Night He Was Betrayed

March 6th, 1988 @ 10:50 AM

1 Corinthians 10:16

The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?
Print Sermon
Downloadable Media
Share This Sermon
Play Audio

Show References:


Dr. W. A. Criswell

John 13:26-30

3-6-88    10:50 a.m.



And thank you wonderful choir and orchestra.  And we are no less grateful for the throngs of you who share this hour on radio and on television.  You are a part now of our dear First Baptist Church in Dallas.  This is the pastor bringing the message entitled The Night He Was Betrayed.  As you can see, in front of me are the elements of the Lord’s Supper, and the message is a presentation of that setting, a chronology of the events that led before and after the institution of this sacred ordinance. 

The Lord’s Supper is the centerpiece in the Christian worship of Christ.  From the passage in 1 Corinthians 10:16, there are those who call it the holy communion:

The bread which we break, is it not the koinōnia—

the communion, the fellowship—

with Jesus our Lord?  And the cup which we drink, is it not the communion—

the fellowship, the koinōnia

with the grace and love and presence of Jesus, our Lord?

[1 Corinthians 10:16]


There are those who call it the eschatological, the communion of our blessed Savior and the promise of His wonderful coming.  The service is infinitely meaningful to all of us, who have found refuge in the promise of the presence and the coming salvation we have in Him. 

It begins in the last journey of our Lord to Jerusalem.  Walking down on the other side of the Jordan in Perea, we are introduced to the rich young ruler who loved the world more than he loved God, and turned aside from the invitation to follow Jesus [Mark 10:17-22; Luke 18:18-23].  Then in the story, our Lord crosses the Jordan River and comes to one of the oldest city in the world, the ancient city of Jericho, and there He heals blind Bartimeus [Mark 10:46-52; Luke 18:35-43].  And then He is invited to be a guest in the home of Zaccheus, a hated Roman publican, tax collector [Luke 19:1-7]

Then the next day, Sunday, He is in Bethany.  And on that day He comes into Jerusalem in a royal, triumphal entry.  In such shouting acclaim, He becomes an object of increasing hatred and dislike on the part of those who refused His messianic claims, the rulers of the temple and of the people.  And when the people shout and rejoice in the coming of their promised Messiah [Luke 19:37-38], these who hated Him and rejected Him said, “Do You hear what these are saying?  Tell Your disciples to turn aside from such exclamations and acclamations of joy and gladness” [Luke 19:39].  And our Lord replies, “If these were to be still, the very stones would shout out their rejoicing and their gladness” [Luke 19:40]. 

So closed that Sunday of His triumphal entry into Jerusalem, when He offered Himself as the promised, prophetic Messiah, Savior of the nation [Matthew 21:4-5].  The next day, on Monday, coming into the city, being an hungered, He sees a fig tree filled with heavy foliage, which would be a sign that the figs in their ripened season had come.  But when He came to the tree, it was barren [Matthew 21:17-19; Mark 11:12-14, 20-21].  And the fig tree, being a sign of the nation of Israel and being empty, it was cursed, a prophecy of the coming judgment of God upon the people who refused His love and proffered grace [Luke 19:44].

It was then that He entered the temple, and for the second time, He cleansed the temple [Mark 11:15-17].  It had been turned into a house of merchandise, a personal, political privilege and preference.  He overturned the moneychangers’ tables; He drove out those that sold oxen and doves and animals; and in the cleansing of the temple, those that had heretofore hated and despised Him, now were infuriated with Him.  There was no lengths to which they refused to go to destroy Him.  And they plotted how they could encompass it [Mark 11:18]. 

On the next day, Tuesday, you have that inevitable confrontation between our Lord and the rulers of the temple [Matthew 21:23, 46]; they dare not lay hands upon Him.  They dare not arrest Him.  The Bible says, “The common people heard Him gladly” [Mark 12:37].

He was loved by the people, adored by those to whom He had brought blessings of health and happiness.  So the rulers of the temple dared not openly arrest Him.  But in their ingenious plotting, they thought possibly to trick Him into compromise that would bring dislike on the part of the people.  So first to accost Him was the Sanhedrin.  And they, coming up to the Lord, said, “By what authority do You do these things?” [Mark 11:28].  And our Lord replied, “I will ask you a question; and if you will answer My question, I will answer yours.”  And the question of our Lord was, “The baptism of John, was it from heaven, or was it from men?” [Mark 11:29-30].  And they took counsel together saying, “If we say the baptism of John was from heaven; then He will ask, ‘Why did you not receive his testimony?  He testified of Me.’ If we say the baptism of John was of men; we will infuriate the throngs, because all men everywhere accept John the Baptist as a prophet from God.”  So the leaders of the Sanhedrin said to the Lord, “We cannot say.  We do not know.” And the Lord replied, “Neither will I answer your question, the authority by which I do these things,” in the name of God [Mark 11:31-33].

Having frustrated the Sanhedrin, the Pharisees then accost Him, and they do it in a sly and tricky way.  They say to Him, “Is it lawful for us, who are the children of God, is it lawful for us to give tribute to Caesar” [Mark 12:14], a heathen, pagan Roman emperor?”  You see, if He says it is lawful, it is right, to give tribute to Caesar, then He infuriates the throng.  If He says it is not lawful to give tribute to Caesar, then they can accuse Him before the Roman government and have Him arrested immediately.  But our Lord replied in a marvelous way, “You see this coin?”  A Roman coin, “What is Caesar’s give to Caesar, and what is God’s give to God” [Mark 12:15-17].  They could in no wise impeach such a marvelous answer. 

They having been frustrated, the Pharisees, next accost Him are the Sadducees [Mark 12:18]; these are the worldly humanists, secularists.  Even though the Scriptures give to us the hope of a resurrection from the dead, they scoffed at the thought.  And they had a pet theory, a pet story: how could there be a resurrection of the dead when this man had a wife, and he died and by the levirate law of marriage [Deuteronomy 25:5-6], his brother had to take the wife and the widow and raise up children lest the family perish from the face of the earth.  So the first man had her, and he died; and the second man had her, and he died; and the third man had her—the third brother had her, and he died—and the fourth brother had her, and he died; and the fifth brother; and the sixth brother; and finally the seventh brother had her, and then he died [Mark 12:19-22].  “Now, in the resurrection, whose wife shall she be?” says those infidel Sadducees who refused to believe in the resurrection of the dead [Mark 12:23].  And our Lord replied, “In the resurrection we are going to be like angels” [Mark 12:24-25], like Gabriel, like Michael, like God. “But as concerning the resurrection, did you never read where the Lord God Jehovah said, I am the Lord God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob?  And God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.  God lives, and we shall live also” [Mark 12:25-27].  Frustrated, annihilated, the Sadducees went away. 

And then accosted Him the scribes and the lawyers and they said to Him, “Lord, which is the greatest commandment of the law?” [Matthew 22:36].  That had been debated in the Talmud for generations, and whichever one He said would be an insult to those who chose another.  But our Lord replied in an incomparable way:


The first and the greatest of all these commandments is this,

We are to love God with all our hearts, and our minds, and our strength, and our souls. 

And the second commandment is near—

it is like this:

You are to love your neighbor as yourself.

[Matthew 22:37-39]


“Then who is my neighbor?” And the Lord replied the story of that Good Samaritan.  “He is my neighbor who needs my helping hand” [Luke 10:29-37].  Oh, what a marvelous Lord!  What a glorious Savior and leader is He!  No wonder the Bible says, “From that day on no man dare ask Him any question” [Mark 12:34].

That’s Tuesday: the next day, on Wednesday, in the city of Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, a beautiful feast was prepared for our Lord [Matthew 26:6-13].  And at that feast, Mary, the sister of Martha and of Lazarus whom He raised from the dead [John 11:43-44]—she took expensive, spikenard ointment and poured it on Him and dried His feet with her hair [John 12:3], a preciously, beautiful, enduring thing to do out of love for raising her brother from the grave.  But Judas, seeing the waste, as he called it, of that ointment of spikenard, said, “Why was it not sold and the money given to the poor? [Matthew 26:9].  Not because he cared for the poor, but because he held the bag,” he was the treasurer, “and he took what was placed therein, stole it for himself” [John 12:4-6].  And the Lord rebuked Judas for what he had said concerning the devoted gift, an expression of love of that beautiful sister Mary [Matthew 26:6-13; John 12:2-7].  And stunned by the rebuke of the Lord and hearing His prophecy that in two days He would be crucified [Matthew 26:2], he sought to get out of the disaster what he could.  And going to the leaders of the temple, he bargained to deliver the Lord into their hands, away from the people, for thirty pieces of silver [Matthew 26:14-16]. 

That’s Wednesday—on Thursday in the afternoon, our Lord sends Peter and John to prepare for the Paschal meal, the Passover supper [Luke 22:7-13].  And that night in an upper room, Jesus gathers with His twelve apostles to eat the Passover lamb together [Luke 22:14].  When they come into the room and are being seated, there is a quarrel among the twelve concerning their ambitious places in the kingdom of our Lord occasioned by their being seated there.  Our Lord rebukes them for their personal aggrandizement and earthly ambition [Luke 22:24-26]

For us to try to be above people, however our calling may be, is of all things hurtful to you, to them, to everybody.  The only great ambition we ought to have in life is, “Lord, help me to be the best friend and the best servant, the best helper, the best encourager that I can be, to be a blessing.” 

Rebuking their earthly, personal ambition, the Lord disrobed.  There’s not anything in God’s world that will humble a man like being naked.  That’s a strange thing.  It just is.  And He girded Himself with a towel, and He began to wash the disciples’ feet and to dry their feet with a towel [John 13:5].

There are some who look upon that as an ordinance to be observed by the church, washing feet.  I would have no objection to it at all.  I would like to be the first to wash the feet of my brothers.  The reason we do not observe it as an ordinance is because we follow the New Testament, and in the New Testament the washing of feet was not an ordinance.  There were only two ordinances observed by the New Testament church, the initial ordinance of baptism [Matthew 28:19] and the recurring ordinance of the Lord’s Supper [1 Corinthians 11:23-26].  And we try to be a New Testament church. 

After the Lord had washed their feet, He spoke to them.  And as they were eating the Paschal supper, John, who leaned on His bosom—they reclined at the table like this; and in the reclining of John, who was on His right—his head was next to the heart of the Lord.  And when the Lord made the sorrowful announcement that one of them would betray Him, John said, “Lord, who is it? [John 13:21-25].  Who could it be?”  And the Lord replied, “He to whom I give this sop” [John 13:26]. 

And He took of the bread, and dipped it in the broth, and gave it to Judas [John 13:26].  And Judas immediately went out.  The Bible pointedly writes, “And it was night” [John 13:30].  Anytime, anywhere, any place, any hour we turn aside from our Lord, we turn into the blackness of night [John 13: 30].

And after Judas had left [John 13:30], then our Lord instituted His memorial supper.  He took bread, unleavened bread, and broke it, thanked God, blessed God, gave thanks, and broke it.  And they all ate of that broken loaf.  Then He took the cup, drank first Himself, then blessed it.  That’s why there are many who call this the Eucharist—the Eucharist, eucharisteō, “giving thanks.”  He gave thanks and they all drank of that one cup.  Then they sang a hymn and went out [Matthew 26:26-30].  And that is the institution of this memorial supper. 

While they were there in the upper room after the institution of the supper, our Lord spoke to them those incomparably precious words in John 14, 15, and 16:


If I go away, I will come again, to receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there you may be also…

Peace I leave with you, My peace give I unto you; not as the world giveth.  Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

[John 14:3, 27]


Then somewhere between the upper room and Gethsemane, He knelt and prayed the real Lord’s Prayer, the seventeenth chapter of the Gospel of John [John 17:1-26]—then the agony of Gethsemane [Luke 22:44].  And in that awesome moment in Gethsemane, Judas came and kissed Him either on the hand or on the cheek.  That was the sign for the temple guard to seize Him [Matthew 26:47-49].  And in the early dawn of Friday, they arrested Him, brought Him before Annas [John 18:12-13], brought Him before Caiaphas [John 18:24], and finally before Pontius Pilate.  And there He was condemned to die [John 18:28-40]. 

At nine o’clock that morning of Friday, they raised the cross on which the Son of God was nailed.  And at three o’clock that afternoon, He died [Matthew 27:45-50].  One could not but be moved by the sacrifice of our Lord, so innocent, so lamb-like—dying for us [1 Corinthians 15:3], paying the penalty for our sins, “The wages of sin is death” [Romans 6:23], and “The soul that sins shall die” [Ezekiel 18:4, 20].  And He took upon Him the penalty of our sins.  He died in our stead [2 Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 2:20], so that we might be cleansed, washed, pure and white [Psalm 51:7], and stand before God justified, honored, redeemed, saved [Romans 4:25].  Oh, what a glorious goodness in Christ loving us!  I cannot help but think of that old Negro spiritual,


Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

Were you there?

Oh, sometimes it makes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.

Were you there when they crucified my Lord?


Were you there when they nailed Him to the tree?

Were you there?

Were you there when He bowed His head and died?

Were you there?

Oh, sometimes it makes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.

Were you there when He bowed His head and died?

[“Were You There?” traditional Negro spiritual, 1860]


This He did for me.  One of the most remarkable conversions in Christendom is that of Count Zinzendorf, a wayward, worldly nobleman.  But standing in Dusseldorf Art Gallery before that Ecce Homo—or “Behold the Man,”—Jesus being crucified and the caption underneath, Hoc facio pro te; quid facies pro me?  “This have I done for thee; what has thou done for Me?”  And the young Count that day bowed His head and gave His life to the Lord.  This is the Moravian missionary movement out of which John Wesley converted and to which the gospel message has been brought to the ends of the earth.  Hoc facio pro te, “This have I done for you,” quid facies pro me?  “What has thou done for Me?” 

O Lord, if I had a thousand lives, and I devoted them all to Thee, it would not be compensatory with what I owe.  Great God in heaven, what Thou hast done for me.  May the strength of my days and all that I have or possess be Thine, Lord, forever and ever, amen.

Now, may we bow our heads in prayer?  Precious Savior, O God, how much we owe to Thee; our hope of heaven, the multitudinously infinite blessings of this life, the friendship we have with Thee, the pilgrim journey, every step of the way blessed by Thee.  O Lord Christ, that there might be less and less of me, more and more of Thee until there be nothing of me and everything of Thee.  Thank You, Lord, for dying in my place and opening the doors of heaven, in Thy saving name, amen. 

In a moment we stand to sing our appeal and while we sing it, a family you, coming into the fellowship of our dear church, a one somebody you, accepting Jesus as your Savior [Romans 10:9-13], a throng of you, dedicating your hearts to the Lord, as God shall press the appeal to your soul, make the decision now.  And in this moment, on the first note of the first stanza, come and stand with us.  In the balcony round, in the throng on this lower floor: “Pastor, this is God’s day for me, and I’m coming.” 

May angels attend on the way as you answer with your life, while we stand and while we sing.