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Thursday, August 19, 2010

8/19/10- Mark 14:43-51 Betrayal of trust

43 Just as he was speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, appeared. With him was a crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests, the teachers of the law, and the elders. 44 Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: "The one I kiss is the man; arrest him and lead him away under guard." 45 Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, "Rabbi!" and kissed him. 46 The men seized Jesus and arrested him. 47 Then one of those standing near drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear. 48 "Am I leading a rebellion," said Jesus, "that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? 49 Every day I was with you, teaching in the temple courts, and you did not arrest me. But the Scriptures must be fulfilled." 50 Then everyone deserted him and fled. 51 A young man, wearing nothing but a linen garment, was following Jesus. When they seized him, 52 he fled naked, leaving his garment behind.

Thoughts: People are in shock today about the South Carolina woman who is indicted for killing her two young children (Shuquan Duley).  We do not want to believe that humans are capable of this kind of evil- a mother betraying the two children entrusted to her care.  We also have a hard time believing that one of Jesus' own trusted disciples should betray him with a kiss; or that Jesus' own people should reject him.  Or for that matter, that people would persecute and betray their neighbors or family members for just being Christian (  The betrayal of Jesus reminds us of the depths of human evil.  But we also should remember (as Calvin points out) that even this terrible evil was used by God for good and is under His control.

Prayer: Lord, help us not to betray you or neighbor- but to truly love you and our neighbor.  Lord, today we pray also for students and teachers who are going back to school.

John Calvin abridged: Jesus had just predicted that his betrayer was coming (14:42).  It is clear that the secret purpose of God was carried out by wicked men.  So even in his arrest the disciples had a confirmation that 1) nothing occurs by chance, and 2) Christ showed his divinity even as he submitted to his arrest. They had such a great force in arresting him because they were afraid of his divinity.  This also should show us that when people rage, they do not hesitate to take up arms against God. Judas was restrained in this arrest by his reverence for Christ and the shame of his deed to portray himself as a friend and not an enemy.  Judas' tried to conceal his deceit by soothing words- calling him "Rabbi" and a kiss. We should know that the Church always sustains traitors in its own bosom, as Jesus sustained Judas. We are all called to "kiss the son of God" (Psalm 2:12).  But we should be sure that it is not a traitor's kiss. 
47- When one of the disciples struck the servant it showed that we tend to take up arms quicker than to take up the cross.  Why did Mark include this passage about "the young man fleeing naked"?  Probably the young man was close to Christ and came wearing nothing but a sheet- in a hurry.  But those who arrested him showed no modesty or morals so that they stripped the young man of his clothes.

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