From: Su Min
Subject: The Betrayal
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.
- Judas is labelled "one of the twelve" (Mark 14:10)
- One of you will betray me, it is one of the twelve (Mark 14:20).
- So close and socially intimate that it is "one who is eating with me" Mark 14:18).
- The Passover meal was an intimate occasion to be celebrated amongst family.
- One of the fellow celebrants was to betray Jesus.
- So close and intimate is the betrayer that he is less than one arms length away, dipping bread into the same sauce bowl as Jesus.
- Judas is identified as "the one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me" (Matt 26:23): past tense: the dipping had occurred.
- "the one who dips bread into the bowl with me" (Mark 14:20) Present tense: the dipping is going on!
- Jesus says "it is the one whom I will give this piece of bread when I have dipped in the dish" and dipping the bread he gave it to Judas (John 13:26).
- Judas even dares to directly confront Jesus, "Surely not I, Rabbai" (Matt 26:25)
- As soon as Judas had taken the bread, he went out. And it was night (John 13:30)
- Judas is called "one of the twelve" even as he led the arresting party to Gethsemane (Matt 26:47, Mark 14:43).
- Jesus realised the appointed hour as planned by God had come, and Judas, whom he calls "My betrayer" was at hand (Mark 14:41-42).
- As he begins this perfidious act, he is given the black title "The betrayer" (Matt 26:48, Mark 14:44).
- Going to Jesus he addresses him "Rabbai", teacher (Mark 14:45), but what has Judas ever learned from the great Teacher?
- Judas kisses Jesus, an insincere act of reverent greeting (Mark 14:46), an infamous act recorded for all time as the eponymous kiss, and in so doing marks Jesus as the man to be seized and arrested.
- Jesus knows what all this sly treachery is about. Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss? (Luke 22:48)
- Jesus responds to this act of betrayal in love. "Friend, do what you came for" Matt 26:50.
- The response of the others was devastating. Everyone deserted Jesus and fled (Mark 14:50).
- When Judas saw that Jesus had been condemned, he was filled with remorse and returned the thirty silver coins to the chief priests and elders (Matt 27:3). They rejected the money and rejected his repentance. So he went away and hanged himself (Matt 27:5) His body fell headlong, burst open and all his intestines spilled out (Acts 1:18), presumably after the corpse had rotted and the neck snapped. The chief priests picked up his coins and decided to use the money to buy the potters field as a burial place for foreigners (Matt 27:7).
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?
Although going along with the others, Judas never really surrendered his life to Jesus. Instead he did his own thing. He used the group exposure for his own benefit. He seized opportunities to make money. Then on the fateful day, he decided to throw everything away and surrender Jesus to the authorities. What was going on in his mind? Was it the money. Was it fear of being branded as one of the rebel group? We will never now. It is not for us to judge. But it is for us to know that unless we are firmly committed to serve Jesus, we who profess to love him, may very well betray him. and if we repent after that it may be too little and too late.And of the Betrayed?
Jesus, by taking on the flesh of man, experienced the gamut of human emotion. He experienced love, joy, pain, grief, rejection, betrayal, desertion, loneliness, anguish, death. By his very experiences, Jesus is so very well qualified to come along side us when we suffer emotional trauma of this magnitude.Let us pray.
- Are you down and out?
- Are you passing along the valley of the shadow of death?
- Are you grieving the loss of a loved one? a broken love affair? the loss of self esteem?
- Have you been cheated? Rejected? Betrayed? Lonely?
- Jesus comes to you to comfort you. He knows what you are going through. He has been there before, and worse. Jesus calls to you. Lay down your burdens on his shoulders. His yoke is easy, his burden light.
- He will comfort you. He will heal you.
- The Lordship of Jesus means we must subject our will to His will.
- The Kingship of Jesus means that as He rules in our life, He will bring us the peace that passes all understanding. He will feed us with the living bread and let us drink of the living water.
- And we get to reign with him forever.
Abba Father, thank you for sending Jesus to die for us.
Thank you for allowing him to suffer so that he can comfort us better.
Indeed Father, there are times when we feel pain, grief, rejection, betrayal, desertion, loneliness, anguish. Painful times O God. So painful we do not know where to turn to , whom to turn to.
Thank you for letting us be comforted by Jesus who knows what it is to suffer in this way.
As we go through this holy week, help us to so order our lives that we will never betray Jesus.
Teach us your precepts O God.
Help us love you with all our heart and with all our souls and with all our minds.
And help us love our neighbours as ourselves.
To your gory
In Jesus' name.
For any comments or enquiries please write to Dr. Lim Su Min
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