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Monday, January 11, 2010

1/11/10- Forecast of Betrayal by a Disciple

(Judas as a disciple- receiving betrayal money-top); c. 1308 Duccio di Buoninsegna)
1/11/10- Mark 14:17-24- Forecast of Betrayal

17 When evening came, Jesus arrived with the Twelve. 18 While they were reclining at the table eating, he said, "Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me—one who is eating with me." 19 They were saddened, and one by one they said to him, "Surely not I?" 20 "It is one of the Twelve," he replied, "one who dips bread into the bowl with me. 21 The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born." 22 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, "Take it; this is my body." 23 Then he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, and they all drank from it. 24 "This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many," he said to them.

Calvin abridged: “One of you will betray me.” The treachery of Judas was even more detestable because he was thinking of betraying him while he sat with him at the holy table. This was no stranger, but an intimate friend. 21- “just as it is written”- Christ meets this offense by declaring that all of this takes place only by the will of God and in accordance with scripture. The sacrifice of Christ was appointed by an eternal decree of God. So let us always remember the providence of God, lest we think our lives are determined by chance. Let us remember this providence which Judas himself, and all the wicked- though it is against their wishes, and though they have another goal in mind, are forced to obey. Yet Christ also affirms here that Judas was responsible. God directs people by an unseen bridle to an unknown destination (cf. Acts 4:27,28 27 Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. 28 They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen.”). “Better that he not be born”- Here Christ emphasizes the terrible punishment awaiting the wicked. Yet this life, though short and full of distresses, is an invaluable gift of God. Yet the wicked ruin this gift and head toward their own destruction, so that it would have been better for them if they had not tasted this goodness of God. Yet even this is for God’s glory as Proverbs 16:4 says, “The Lord made all things for himself, even the wicked for a day of disaster.”

Thoughts: Jesus called the twelve, yet he apparently knew ahead of time and predicted one of them would betray him. Yet, he did not let even the possibility of betrayal keep him from calling the twelve and delegating the message to them. Since the beginning, there have always been those who want to ignore these words of our Lord and say that Judas was really a good guy who perhaps was misled. The rock-opera, “Jesus Christ Superstar”, for example, portrayed Judas in a positive light. Such theories make for good fictional reading, but go against what the Bible says. The Bible indicates Judas was the treasurer of the group, yet he sometimes embezzled from the treasury (Jn 12:6; 13:29).  His love for money was apparently one of the motivations for his betrayal (30 pieces of silver).  He betrayed Jesus with a dishonest kiss- which in itself has become infamous.  The scripture indicates Judas met a terrible and early end not long after his betrayal (Mt 27”1-10), and “went out and hung himself” (though there are some who make a great deal of exactly how this happened- the scriptures give diverse but not necessarily contradictory accounts). Jesus words here show disapproval (uniformly agreed to by all the writers- even the later and diverse (John- 13:18-29) and the words of recorded in Acts (1:15-20) indicate Judas was viewed by all in his day as treacherous and evil. Yet in our evil day, in which we wish to downplay the scriptures and up-play our own proud theories in their stead, we try to portray evil as if it were good. But there is a difference in recognizing that there is evil in people and remembering that God in his providence may turn the worst evil into a greater good. Certainly this is true of Judas, the mocking, scourging, and crucifixion of Jesus. We should remember that our hardships, and even those who speak evil or do evil against us are not the last word.

Prayer: Thank you Jesus, for choosing disciples even though they would betray you. Thank you for calling all of us to follow you. Help us to follow with integrity. Keep us in the faith- preventing us from betraying you. Help us to see your providential hand leading us.

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