Mark 14:10, 11, 17-21, 43-52
And Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve, went to the chief priests, to betray him to them.…
We now approach the darkest of all the dark hours through which our Redeemer passed in this world, so overcast with clouds. "The Son of man is betrayed into the hands of men." It was by "one of the twelve," and "unto the chief priests," and for "money
I. What lessons on THE FRAILTY OF THE POOR HUMAN HEART! The hand that received "the sop," that dipped into the same dish with Jesus, received into its hardened palm the miserable pittance - a slave's price. Ah! even in the presence of the holy One could he plot and scheme for his delivery. Let us, when we decry the deed, bow our heads lowly, remembering that we share the same frail nature. How barefaced the lie - walking, reclining, talking with the little band, carrying their common purse, and so trusted by them all, yet stealing away in the darkness to meet his enemies and plot with them how, "in the absence of the multitude," he could deliver him unto them! And going so far as to choose the symbol of brotherly affection - a kiss - to be the sign by which in the darkness they should distinguish him! "Woe unto that man through whom the Son of man is betrayed! good were it for that man if he had not been born." Truly so; for what theory or process of restoration could prevent the name Judas from being for ever the symbol of treachery and base desertion and sordid misery. "Woe," indeed! "And he went away and hanged himself." It is impossible to contemplate the heights from which men have fallen into deep abysses, without a feeling of shame and humiliation. But it would be wrong to think of them without being warned by them of the sad possibilities to which we are all exposed.
II. THE INSUFFICIENCY OF OFFICE TO SECURE ITS RIGHTFUL SPIRIT. The parallel of Judas's infamy is found in the men who stood as the head and representatives of the very religion it was Jesus' high mission to fulfill and perfect. How deplorable is the contrast between the sanctity of the position held by these officials and the spirit in which they held it! It was theirs to be the leaders of religious thought, and the embodiment of the religious spirit. But the sad testimony is borne to the insufficiency of official relationship to secure the true spirit of office. Truly may the Shepherd say, "I was wounded in the house of my friends;" and the poor one, "yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me."
III. THE POWER OF COVETOUSNESS. And this was all for money! Well might it be written, "For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil." But it is needful to return to the preceding incident to find the hidden clue to such a deed of darkness. St. John has left the sad record, "He was a thief, and having the bag took away what was put therein." So, yielding little by little to the love of pelf, this chosen one, who harbored the demon of covetousness within the folds of his dress, had lost all strength of virtue, and being overcome of evil, and under the influence of a master-passion, sold his Master for thirty pieces of silver - "the price of him that was priced, whom certain of the children of Israel did price." But our thoughts should rest less upon the faithless disciple or the more faithless priests than upon the patient, submissive One who drank so deeply of our cup. He who descended to that lowest condition of human shame was found, like the slaves in the market, "priced" and sold. Revolting from that unfaithfulness which could sell a friend for gain, from that love of pelf which could crush all the fine and noble and generous feelings of the heart, even closing it to the sweet, winning voice of him who spake as never man spake - revolting equally from that deceitfulness which could occupy holy of[ice without the slightest apprehension of the sanctity of demeanor, or the slightest possession of the purity of spirit due to such a position - let us mark and imitate the lowly, patient, self-possessed, forgiving, trustful spirit of him who endured all that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled, that the will of the Father might be done, that the redemption of the lost might be effected. - G.
Parallel VersesKJV: And Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve, went unto the chief priests, to betray him unto them.