Here is the next in this short series leading up to Easter.
We don’t read as much about Judas in Mark’s Gospel as the others, but he is still portrayed as an intricate part of the events leading up to the death of Jesus. He is, in many ways, a sorry figure. He always had it in his heart to betray. Jesus knew this, and yet still chose him as a disciple.
Jesus made it clear to his disciples a few times that he was to be betrayed, put to death and raised to life again. (eg. Mark 8 v 31, Mark 10 v 32 – 34). He realised that this was his mission – the reason that he had come to earth. Therefore he knew that there would be a betrayer, there had to be for this to be fulfilled – and he knew that it was Judas.
What really motivated Judas, we don’t know for certain. Maybe it was that he wanted to try and win favour with the authorities by pointing out the one who, in their eyes, wanted to cause trouble. Maybe he didn’t really believe that Jesus was who he said he was and that he actually agreed with those who wanted him put to death for blasphemy. Either way, Judas succeeded in giving Jesus away, leading to his arrest.
So what can we learn from this sad character? Firstly that we need to examine our own hearts. If we claim to follow Christ, do we find it easier to go with the vast majority of people who reject him? Maybe we don’t outwardly betray him, but our silence can speak volumes.
And do we really believe that Jesus is who he says he is? If we don’t then we will not find a reason to stand for him, after all that would make him no different from anyone else. If we really do acknowledge that Jesus is truly God, then we will not want to betray him.
These are serious issues. We know from the other Gospels that it didn’t end well for Judas. Jesus was very clear in the words that he used:
“Whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” Mark 8 v 38 (ESV).
These are indeed challenging words. What about us?
Ashamed of Jesus! that dear Friend
On Whom my hopes of Heaven depend!
No; when I blush, be this my shame,
That I no more revere His Name.