#8 (The 12 Disciples Series)
"JUDE – THE REALIST!"
(Also called: "Lebbaeus & Thaddaeus")
TEXTS: John 14:15-24; Luke 16:19-31
INTRO: If only God would listen to me! I could win the world for Jesus if God would only follow my evangelistic plan, it would go something like this:
1. First we would have Jesus come down physically to this planet and get rid of all the terrorists by a hand gesture and then have Jesus rule as king over the whole planet!
2. Second we would have Jesus multiply all the food resources in the world so that no one goes hungry.
3. We would broadcast on world-wide TV Jesus speaking with a single command and healing all the sick people so all the hospitals would empty out at once, no more sick people.
4. Jesus would give gold to everyone thus making everyone rich.
5. Every person would miraculously receive a brand new Cadillac.
6. Jesus would destroy every evil political system and dictator.
This was pretty much the plan the disciples had for Jesus (except the Cadillac & TV broadcast). Jude was the realist of the group. When Jesus talked about going away and leaving them and only revealing Himself to them and not the world Judas (not Iscariot) protested Jesus' plan, in essence saying:
"GET REAL JESUS, WHY ONLY TO US? WE ALREADY BELIEVE, HOW ABOUT ALL THOSE UNBELIEVERS? DO A GREAT MIRACLE FOR THEM SO THEY WILL BELIEVE! THIS IS NO PLAN TO BUILD YOUR KINGDOM, WE NEED TO SOMETHING DRAMATIC!"
Yet the Bible teaches that miracles alone are not sufficient to make followers of Jesus Christ, it takes something more than that!
PROP SENT: The Bible teaches that faith and obedience to God's Word are required to be a true follower of Jesus Christ. This is the greatest reality!
I. THE REAL PLAN! John 14:15-21
A. Cross 14:16-20
1. Jesus shares with all His disciples His plan for saving the world, it includes the cross and then leaving them behind while He goes back to heaven!
a. This was not their idea of saving the world, their ideas included some of the suggestions I mentioned in my introduction.
b. Jesus promised them however that He would not leave them orphaned, He would send them “another” (meaning: “someone just like Him”) … the Holy Spirit that would empower them and help them.
c. Jesus does promise them that He will appear to them however before He goes back to heaven, but He will NOT APPEAR to the world before He goes back, this is the issue that brought out “Judas the realist” to question Jesus’ plan!
2. What kind of crazy plan did God devise for saving mankind? Why not just open the heavens and tell off all the sinners and make everyone get saved?
a. For one thing, this wouldn't be love, it would be coercion!
b. People forced this way would resent having to serve God!
3. Jesus' plan was so much better, show His love by paying the price for our sins and then invite in love those who wish to fellowship with Him to come, our choice!
a. The condition of coming was simply faith, something both rich and poor could give!
b. His first coming was an invitation; the second coming will be to set things straight!
c. He came to reveal Himself to those who respond by faith FIRST, faith thus is a requirement.
4. This “cross” concept just didn’t sit well with “Judas the realist!”
a. It still doesn’t sit well with realists today!
b. Most people today who are
“realists” have a hard time understanding the concept of salvation by the cross
c. What we need according to realists is better education, better jobs, better politicians, and better health … then the world will be saved.
B. Commands ,21
1. Jesus' plan for them while He is gone is for them to obey His Word, and to help them with this He will give them His Holy Spirit!
2. Jesus clearly connects “loving Him” with “obeying His commands!”
3. Their obedience to His Word would keep them close to Him, this is the fruit of love and obedience:
ILLUS: LIKE THE LITTLE BOY WHO WAS FOUND BY A POLICE OFFICER RIDING HIS BIKE AROUND THE BLOCK IN CIRCLES ALL DAY LONG. THE LITTLE BOY WAS RIDING ALL DAY FURIOUSLY. FINALLY THE POLICE OFFICER STOPPED THE BOY AND ASKED HIM WHY HE WAS GOING ROUND AND ROUND ALL THE TIME. THE BOY SAID HE WAS RUNNING AWAY FROM HOME, HE WAS MAD AT HIS MOM! THE CONFUSED POLICEMAN THEN ASKED BY HE WENT AROUND THE BLOCK OVER AND OVER AGAIN IF HE WAS RUNNING AWAY FROM HOME! THE BOY'S ANSWER WAS INTERESTING: HE SAID, "BECAUSE MY MOM SAID THAT I'M NOT ALLOWED TO CROSS THE STREET!" THE LITTLE BOY'S OBEDIENCE TO HIS MOM KEPT HIM CLOSE TO HOME AND CLOSE TO HIS MOTHER'S LOVE EVEN WHEN HE WAS MAD AT HER, THUS HE WAS SAFE! – SOURCE UNKNOWN
4. Judas for the most part ignored this part of what Jesus was trying to tell them, his concern was more about Jesus' plan to reveal Himself to them but not show Himself to the world later on.
a. To Judas Jesus’ plan didn't seem very realistic, why would people obey Jesus if they didn't ever see Him!?
b. Judas’ question was an attempt to say to Jesus, “Don’t you think we should consider another more realistic program Jesus?”
5. What Judas was really saying was, “Show yourself physically to the whole world with power after you come back and then everyone will follow you without question!”
a. Jesus was appealing for people to follow Him because they believed in Him and in His Word.
b. If they are to follow Him they should obey His commands.
II. THE REALIST'S PUZZLE! John 14:22-24; Luke 16:19-31
A. Convincing? John 14:22
1. Judas the realist just isn't buying Jesus' plan, it didn't make sense, it just didn't seem like a realistic plan for winning the world!
a. “Come on Jesus, there has got to be a better way to do this?”
b. “Be real, if you want to get the word out show yourself to everyone!”
c. “If you want them to follow you show power, do miracles, be a king!”
2. Certainly Judas had a better way!
a. “Jesus, how about getting you a spot on the ‘Tonight show,’ millions will see you and become followers?”
b. “We'll make a movie; this is the way it is done today.”
c. “We'll build beautiful buildings that will create 'awe' in people.”
d. “We'll feed the poor, and heal the sick, this will get them all!”
3. Judas wasn't convinced Jesus’ plan would work, if just only believers see Him then how will anyone ever become a believer?
a. The realist is troubled by God's plan of salvation, why FAITH? Wouldn’t it be easier if God proved His existence? There are still those today that can’t understand this requirement of the “faith” thing, and why God doesn’t simply show up and prove Himself!
b. When God did prove it by sending Jesus in the flesh and doing the miracles such as raising the dead and feeding the multitudes and healing the sick the realists out there crucified Jesus rather than believe on Him! People still didn't believe even when they did get the miracles!!! Today people simply rationalize miracles away if they see or hear of one!
c. Most people would rather not think about God or the sacrifice Jesus made for them, they just ignore Christ and go about their business. Even a great sacrifice can be ignored, as the existing miracles can be!
ILLUS: LIKE A MAN NAMED JOHN GRIFFITH WHO WORKED A DRAWBRIDGE DURING THE DEPRESSION FOR THE RAILROAD OVER THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER. ONE DAY IN THE SUMMER OF 1937 HE DECIDED TO TAKE HIS 8 YEAR OLD SON GREG WITH HIM TO WORK. AT NOON JOHN RAISED THE HUGE BRIDGE TO LET SHIPS PASS THROUGH WHILE HE HAD LUNCH WITH HIS SON GREG. TIME PASSED QUICKLY AND AS HE CLEANED UP HIS SON LEFT TO PLAY. SUDDENLY HE WAS TAKEN BY SURPRISE TO HEAR THE SHRIEK OF A NEARBY TRAIN COMING AT HIGH SPEED. HE LOOKED AT HIS RR WATCH AND REALIZED THE MEMPHIS EXPRESS WITH 400 PEOPLE ON BOARD WAS STREAKING TOWARD THE BRIDGE. HE PANICKED REALIZING IT TOOK SOME TIME TO DROP THE BRIDGE USING THE HUGE WOODEN GEARS MADE FOR THIS PURPOSE. HE WOULD HAVE TO THROW THE SWITCH IMMEDIATELY OR THE BRIDGE WOULD NOT DROP IN TIME TO KEEP THE TRAIN AND 400 PEOPLE FROM PLUNGING TO THEIR DEATHS, BUT JUST AS HE WAS ABOUT TO THROW THE SWITCH HE HEARD HIS SON DOWN BELOW HOLLER – HIS SON GREG WAS CAUGHT IN THE GREAT GEAR AND COULDN'T GET OUT, HE HAD STUMBLED PLAYING NEAR THE GEAR AND HAD SOMEHOW LODGED HIS FOOT IN THE GEAR! THERE WAS NO TIME TO GO AND SAVE HIS SON, 400 OTHER PEOPLE WOULD DIE IF HE DID! WITH TEARS STREAMING DOWN HIS CHEEKS HE THREW THE SWITCH KNOWING IT WOULD KILL HIS SON BUT SAVE 400 OTHERS. AS THE TRAIN PASSED BY HE NOTICED PASSENGERS IN THE WINDOWS READING PAPERS, EATING, CHATTING AS IF NOTHING HAD HAPPENED – AND LIFTING HIS FIST AT THEIR INDIFFERENCE HE SAID, “I SACRIFICED MY SON FOR YOU, DON'T YOU CARE?!” JUST LIKE LAMENTATIONS 1:12 “IS IT NOTHING TO YOU, ALL WHO PASS BY?” NOBODY NOTICED THE FATHER IN THE WATCHTOWER, OR TOOK NOTICE OF THE SACRIFICE FOR THEIR LIVES – SOURCE UNKNOWN
4. Only those who take notice of what our heavenly Father did in sending His only Son to die for us will find the joy of salvation, it is by faith that we enter into salvation.
B. Conviction! Luke 16:19-31
1. Certainly Judas must have thought some other way would be more realistic in reaching the lost, the BIG miracles perhaps, and some other way besides just believing!
a. This idea was not new, Jesus had addressed this issue before in this story, the rich man found himself in Hell and desired Lazarus who had gone to Paradise to rise from the dead and go to his 5 brothers and warn them about the reality of Hell, if someone from the dead showed up they would certainly believe, or so he thought!
b. However, the reply of Abraham to the rich man lays out the same plan that Jesus later espoused, namely that the Word of God is the way in,“They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.” The Scriptures contain it all!
2. The rich man however uses the same logic as Judas, his question implies this clearly: “No, father Abraham, if someone from the dead goes to them they will repent!” but Abraham says, “IF they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.” 16:31
a. The idea that great miracles alone will bring people to Jesus is wrong!!!! If they saw one they would rationalize it away if they don’t already have faith!
b. If people ignore the Bible they will certainly ignore miracles or they will excuse them by some rational explanation!
c. To ignore the prophets is to ignore Jesus, He was the greatest prophet and more!
3. The point here is simple: REALISTICALLY, Judas “the realist” wasn't being very realistic!
a. It is God’s Word that dramatically changes those who believe it!
b. This was Jesus’ chosen method for revealing Himself in time!
c. No miracle changes people more than God's Word!
ILLUS: THE STORY IS TOLD ABOUT A SOUTH SEA ISLANDER WHO PROUDLY DISPLAYED HIS BIBLE TO A G.I. DURING WORLD WAR II. THE SOLDIER HOWEVER REPLIED, “WE'VE OUTGROWN THAT SORT OF THING, NEEDING THE BIBLE.” THE NATIVE SMILED BACK AND SAID, “IT'S A GOOD THING FOR YOU WE HAVEN'T OUTGROWN IT, IF IT WEREN'T FOR THIS GOOD BOOK YOU’D HAVE BEEN A MEAL BY NOW!” – SOURCE UNKNOWN
4. It is not GREAT WISDOM that saves people, it’s GOD'S WORD!
a. There is no substitute for the Holy Spirit using God's Word to convict hearts and turn them toward Jesus.
b. This is why Paul said, “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” And “For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.” 1 Cor. 1:18,21
C. Clarity! John 14:23-24
1. Jesus’ reply to Judas the realist is the central dynamic to salvation still!
a. “If anyone loves me, they will obey my teaching!”
b. Being a Christian means obeying Christ's commands and teachings, His Word becomes our guide, not the wisdom of this world.
2. It is God’s Word that gives clarity to the plan of God in salvation - this is why we stress the Bible so much, it is the only plan for salvation! There are no other paths to God!
a. You either love the Word of God or you don't, you cannot read it and be neutral!
b. God’s Word will either turn you toward God or toward hell, which is why there is such hostility towards the Bible by unbelievers.
ILLUS: A WEALTHY BUSINESS MAN WAS ON A VISIT TO ENGLAND YEARS AGO SHORTLY AFTER THE INVENTION OF THE MICROSCOPE. LOOKING THROUGH IT HE WAS FASCINATED BY THE DETAIL HE SAW LOOKING AT FLOWER PETALS. THE BEAUTY AND DESIGN AMAZED HIM! HE BOUGHT ONE AND TOOK IT BACK HOME. ONE DAY WHILE HE WAS ABOUT TO EAT ONE OF HIS FAVORITE FOODS HE DECIDED TO LOOK AT IT UNDER THE MICROSCOPE, BUT WHAT HE FOUND DISTURBED HIM, HE SAW SMALL MICROBES CRAWLING AROUND ON HIS FOOD, TINY LIVING CREATURES HE DIDN'T KNOW WERE THERE BEFORE! SINCE THIS WAS HIS FAVORITE FOOD HE DIDN'T KNOW WHAT TO DO ABOUT WHAT HE NOW KNEW! HE FINALLY CAME UP WITH A SOLUTION, HE SIMPLY DESTROYED THE MICROSCOPE SO HE COULDN'T SEE AGAIN THE MICROBES AND THEN HE COULD EAT HIS FOOD WITHOUT HAVING TO SEE THOSE CREATURES. THIS IS WHAT UNBELIEVERS DO WHEN THEY HEAR THE GOSPEL AND READ THE BIBLE ABOUT THEIR SINS, THEY EITHER REPENT OR THEY HOLD THE BIBLE IN DISDAIN AND IGNORE IT – HOPING THAT IF THEY JUST DON'T READ IT THEN IT WILL ENABLE THEM TO IGNORE THEIR SINS AS THOUGH THEY DON'T EXIST! HOW FOOLISH! – SOURCE UNKNOWN
3. The realist in the kingdom of God understands the importance of God's Word and the plan of salvation!
a. For Judas the realist the message was clear: "OBEDIENCE TO MY WORD BY FAITH IS THE WAY TO LIVE."
b. Miracles alone will not bring people to Christ; they will simply explain the miracles away even if they see them happen if they don’t have faith in Christ. Realistically, reaching the lost will require us to use the Word of God, by PRACTICING it and PREACHING it!
CONCLUSION: Like most realists, Judas (also called Thaddaeus) didn't understand why Jesus didn't just publicly show Himself when He was resurrected, thus proving to the world who He is – the Son of God! Jesus' answer to him is still true today: He has revealed Himself through His Word, miracles don't make converts, faith in Christ and obedience to God's Word does!