Epistles to the Cyberchurch - Su Min

To: All
From: Su Min
Subject: The Betrayal

Dearly Beloved,
The closing sermon of our Holy Week series was centred on the text Mark 14:10-11, and I will expand and develop on the theme expounded so meaningfully by Dr Chuck Lowe.

The gospel writers documented a text that reflected an oral tradition of teaching, originally used in a setting where the audience was not overwhelmed by mass media presentations with TDX sound effects and Technicolor cinemascope screens, a murder a minute, busoms and other anatomical details galore, and sex sex sex.

But the gospels do reflect a quiet subtlety and a gamut of emotions if we pause to hear the words of the text as coming from the mouth of an authoritative teacher. The early church elders simply told the good news as they had seen it. The verbal, oral tradition was soon committed to written text but still carries it teaching most effectively when read out. The pathos of the betrayal is well emphasised by the choice of words.

The plot for the betrayal begins before the anointing at Bethany (Mark 14: 1-2).
The opponents are already looking for a sly way to kill Jesus (John 11:45-53). Jesus no longer moved about privately amongst the Jews. (John 11:54). As Passover was coming soon, the authorities kept looking for Jesus in the temple area but could not find him. So they put out orders that anyone finding where Jesus was should report it (John 11:56-56). Even while Mary is anointing Jesus, Judas leaves the scene of adoration and contracts to betray Jesus (Mark 14:10). The high point of the adoration in contrast to the nadir of betrayal: Judas has already committed his heart to the betrayal during the anointing, even before he physically leaves the house to go to the high priests. Luke identifies that at this point in time, Satan entered Judas, and Judas went to the chief priests and officers of the temple guard and discussed with them how he might betray Jesus (Luke 22:3) Judas negotiates with the chief priests: How much is this betrayal worth? What is the value of a man's life? 30 pieces of silver Matt 26:15) about one month's wages.

Judas was one of the original 12 disciples, the close inner circle of followers who Jesus selected and taught and trained over 3 years of his ministry. Judas is identified as son of Simon Iscariot, and in some text as coming from Kerioth, a town in Moab (Iscariot = of Kerioth). John 13:29 identifies him as group treasurer. Jesus had been hand picked by Jesus, even though Jesus knew that he would turn into a betrayer (John 6:71). I believe that this reflects God's great mercy and compassion, that even though God knows what will turn out in the end, he still allows Judas a chance to repent and turn over a new leaf.

The intimacy to which Judas shared with Jesus shows how close they were.

Compare and contrast the Betrayer and the Betrayed.
As an object lesson for us and an aid to spiritual growth can we identify the characteristics of Judas and what went wrong with him?

Judas was selected hand picked by Jesus to be a close intimate follower and student. Can you and I identify with this?

And of the Betrayed? Let us pray.

For any comments or enquiries please write to Dr. Lim Su Min

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