Judas, The Betrayer

judas-betrayer-kiss-999242-galleryMark: According To

Lesson 69

Mark 14:43-52

Judas, The Betrayer

43 And immediately, while He was still speaking, Judas, one of the twelve, with a great multitude with swords and clubs, came from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders. 44 Now His betrayer had given them a signal saying, “Whomever I kiss, He is the One; seize Him and lead him away safely.” 45 As soon as he had come, immediately he went up to Him and said to Him, “Rabbi, Rabbi!” and kissed Him. 46 Then they laid their hands on Him and took Him. 47 And one of those who stood by drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his ear. 48 Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Have you come out, as against a robber, with swords and clubs to take Me? 49 I was daily with you in the temple teaching, and you did not seize Me. But the Scriptures must be fulfilled.” 50 Then they all forsook Him and fled.

Judas, the last of the twelve disciples to be chosen. He was actually chosen as a result of the other disciples urging Jesus to accept him as a disciple.

I have often wondered if it had not been Judas, who would it have been that Jesus would have chosen as the twelfth disciple. Jesus well knew the character of the men whom He had chosen; all their weaknesses and errors were open before Him. He knew the perils through which they must all pass. The responsibility that would rest upon them, and His heart from the start yearned over these chosen ones.

John, Andrew and Peter along with James Philip, Nathanael, and Matthew, had been more closely connected with Him than the others, and had witnessed more of his miracles. Of this group Peter, James, and John stood in still nearer relationship to Him. They were almost constantly with Him, witnessing His miracles, and hearing His words. But of these three, John pressed into still closer intimacy with Jesus, so that he is distinguished as the one whom Jesus loved.

The Saviour loved them all, but John had the most receptive spirit and was also the youngest of them all, having a more childlike fondness for Jesus. Thus, He more fully opened his heart to Jesus.

Phillip was the first of the disciples to whom Jesus addressed the distinct command, “Follow Me.” Philip was of the town of Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. He had listened to the teaching of John the Baptizer and heard his announcement of Christ as the Lamb of God. Yet Philip was of sincere heart to believe. But, Philip’s announcement to Nathanael shows that he was not fully convinced of the divinity of Jesus. Jesus had been proclaimed by a voice from heaven as the Son of God, to Philip, He was “Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph (John 1:45). At the feeding of the 5000 Philip’s answer was on side of unbelief by saying there was not enough money, instead of relying upon Jesus for the solution.

Nathanael too had a childlike trust. He was a man of intensely earnest nature, one whose faith took hold upon unseen realities.

Thomas was a doubter always having to be shown with physical evidence before believing what other disciples believed because Christ spoke it.

Christ, the divine Teacher patiently dealt with each disciple, giving them all ample evidence as to who He was and from where He came.

Early in Christ’s ministry as he was preparing the disciples for their ordination. One who had not been summoned urged his presence among them. It was Judas Iscariot, a man who professed to be a follower of Christ. He now came forward, asking for a place in this inner circle of disciples. With great earnestness and apparent sincerity he declared, “Master, I will follow You wherever You go.” Jesus neither repulsed nor welcomed him, but uttered only the mournful words: “The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man has nowhere to lay his head” (Matthew 8:19, 20).

Judas actually believed Jesus to be the Messiah; and by joining the other 11 disciples, hoped to secure a high position in the new kingdom. This hope Jesus designed to cut off by the statement of his poverty that foxes have whole and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.”

The other disciples were anxious that Judas should become one of their number for he was of commanding appearance, a man of keen discernment and executive ability and they recommended him to Jesus as one who would greatly assist Him in His work. So, they were naturally surprised when Jesus received Judas Iscariot coolly. They disciples had also been very disappointed that Jesus had not tried to secure the co-operation of the religious leaders in Israel and felt that it was a great mistake not to strengthen His cause by securing the support of these influential men.

Yet when Judas joined the other 11 he was not insensible to the beauty of the character of Christ and felt the influence of the divine power which was drawing the people to the Saviour. Jesus was not sent to break the bruise reed nor quench the smoking flax. He would not repulse even Judas while even one desire was reaching toward the light. Nor will he forsake one soul today that is seeking Him.

Yet in the heart of Judas, the desire for position, for wealth, for a place next to Christ in his kingdom continued throughout Christ’s entire ministry to eat away at his heart, to eat away at his very soul.

It was at Simon’s feast, when Jesus allowed Mary Magdalene the former prostitute to touch Him by pouring oil and spices upon his feet and head, then wiping away the tears with her hair that spilt from her cheeks and fell upon the savior. According to Jewish custom, this was a shameful act, a public act of intimacy which was forbidden by Jewish law, and Judas responded in kind by rebuking the woman and Christ by stating the money spent on oil and spices could have been better spent upon the poor.

Yet, amazingly, Judas still loved Jesus and hoped his actions of betraying Him would cause Jesus to finally stand up, by declaring Himself king. And Judas would be rewarded by a high position in Christ’s kingdom.

Instead, the ear of the high priest servant lay on the ground, cut off by a sword. It is interesting Mark does not say who cut the ear off, but Peter had brought a sword with him and impulsively used it to cut the ear of the servant off. Perhaps a fitting symbol of the fact that Israel had failed to hear the words of Jesus. But Jesus gave them one more chance, by picking up the ear and placing it back in place, instantly healing the servants ear. Perhaps this symbolically symbolized that Israel had one more chance to listen, one more chance to hear and accept the teachings of their Messiah.

But what is clear is that these 11 faithful disciples of Jesus, when he needed them the most, they turned and ran. Their lack of prayer and preparation left them helpless when they were needed the most. Sleep was their companion instead of their heavenly Father and so there was no thought of Jesus, no thought of the Messiah and the miracles he had performed, their faith failed them, and they turned and ran. Their concern was for themselves, they failed to take up their own cross and follow Jesus.

The heading in my Bible for the last two verses in this section is “A Young Man Flees Naked”. Over the years I have consulted commentaries and the other gospels which do not mention this at all and have wondered why did Mark add these two texts? They read: “Now a certain young man followed Him, having a linen cloth thrown around his naked body. And the young men laid hold of him, and he left the linen cloth and fled from them naked” (Mark 14:51, 52). Some have speculated it was John the beloved Disciple, while others believe it was the author of Mark, John Mark. I have never been happy with any explanation and perhaps what I am about to say, makes no sense either. But I have thought about it and prayed about it. At first, I said, “I’m not going to comment on it for it just doesn’t make sense.” But we first see nakedness expressed in the sin story of Genesis chapter 3. Adam and Eve were clothed with this garment of light which was the righteousness of Christ. This is why they clothed themselves after the fall with fig leaves because fig leaves have a glow to them. They hoped the glow or aura of the fig leaves would shine with the same brightness of the garments that they lost. Linen is often used to represent this garment of Christ’s righteousness. We see this illustrated in the Old Testament Sanctuary and in the garments of the High Priest’s. The Jewish Nation was to be ambassadors to the world of the power, majesty of Christ and all of heaven. But by this act of betraying Christ, to be crucified, the Jews cast off the last of Christ’s righteousness and now ran away because of their nakedness as Adam and Eve ran from God after there sin.

Lucifer (Satan) desired to be like the most-high God. He convinced Eve that she could be like the God’s if she only ate of the fruit. Judas desired to be next to Christ in Christ coming kingdom because he misunderstood the prophecies concerning Christ. It is when we covet, that which we do not have that we fall to the same temptation that caused Lucifer, Eve and Judas to fall, all of which caused Christ to be born as a baby, suffer and die upon a cruel Roman cross, so that we can put off the rags of sin and once again put on the robe of Christ righteousness.

Sorry about the length of this post. Our next post will be Jesus before the Sanhedrin. I’ll try to keep it shorter.

Blessings to you all!

Published by The Bible In Your Hand

Hi, I am Pastor Lester Bentley, a devoted husband, father, and Pastor for the Northeastern Wyoming District of the Rocky Mountain Conference of Seventh-day Adventist. I am committed to the great gospel commission as stated in Matthew 28:19, 20.

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