Mark 14:10-21

Sunday Morning Bible Study

July 3, 2005


Betrayal …

It takes many shapes and forms.

Sometimes we’re betrayed by an enemy, someone we should expect it from.

Sometimes we’re betrayed by someone extremely close – such as when a husband or a wife has an affair or files for divorce.

Sometimes we experience the sense of betrayal when someone we love commits suicide.

Samson was betrayed by his lover Delilah.

David was betrayed by his son Absalom and his friend Ahithophel.

One thing is certain with betrayal.  It hurts.  It makes you want to shut down.  It makes you want to never trust another person again.

It’s the time of the last week of Jesus’ life on earth.  Jesus has faced opposition during much of His ministry on earth, but the opposition is growing more serious.

We saw last week that the chief priests have begun to think about the details of Jesus’ capture and death.

(Mark 14:2 NKJV)  …But they said, "Not during the feast, lest there be an uproar of the people."

:10-11 Judas sells out

:10 And Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve, went unto the chief priests, to betray him unto them.

to betray – This is the key word in our passage.  This word is going to pop up four times in our passage this morning.

Luke tells us that when Judas was with the chief priests, he offered to hand Jesus over in a place away from the crowds (Luke 22:6).  This made the priests pretty happy.


Jesus understands betrayal

Sometimes it’s hard to find the right person to talk to when you have problems.
Some people would like to help, but they really don’t have a clue what you’re going through.
If you’ve been betrayed, you have a friend in high places.  You have someone you can go to.
(Heb 4:15-16 NKJV)  For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. {16} Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
He knows what you need.  He has the ability to help you if you’ve been betrayed.

:11 And when they heard it, they were glad, and promised to give him money. And he sought how he might conveniently betray him.

they were gladchairo – be glad; to rejoice exceedingly; not necessarily expressed outwardly (like whooping), but inwardly they were saying, “alright!”

convenientlyeukairos (“good” + “time”) – seasonably, when the opportunity occurs


Love of money

Judas was the group’s “treasurer”.  He was the one that held on to the money that Jesus and His disciples had.
When Mary poured out the expensive perfume all over Jesus, it was Judas that had objected, not because he cared about helping poor people with the money, but because he was a thief and he used to steal from the group’s money (John 12:4-6).
Matthew tells us that Judas went to the chief priests and asked what they would give him to betray Jesus
(Mat 26:14-16 NKJV)  Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests {15} and said, "What are you willing to give me if I deliver Him to you?" And they counted out to him thirty pieces of silver. {16} So from that time he sought opportunity to betray Him.

Thirty pieces of silver was the price for a slave (Ex. 21:32), but it was also the price predicted by the prophet Zechariah (Zech. 11:13).

Paul warned Timothy about false teachers and their connection with money.
(1 Tim 6:9-10 NKJV)  But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition.

Jesus referred to Judas as the “son of perdition” (John 17:12).

{10} For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

Money itself is neither evil or good.  But the “love of money” is what causes us so much trouble.

You don’t have to be wealthy to struggle with this.  There are many poor people who are just as much in love with money as wealthy people.

It’s the desire for “more” that causes us so much trouble.

The write of Hebrews gives us a hint of what can satisfy us more than money.
(Heb 13:5-6 NASB)  Let your character be free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, "I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU," {6} so that we confidently say, "THE LORD IS MY HELPER, I WILL NOT BE AFRAID. WHAT SHALL MAN DO TO ME?"

Jesus is more.  More than enough.  If you’re unsatisfied with your income or the things in your life – Jesus is the answer.

:12-16 Passover Preparation

:12 And the first day of unleavened bread, when they killed the passover, his disciples said unto him, Where wilt thou that we go and prepare that thou mayest eat the passover?

The Passover lamb was selected on the tenth day of the month Nisan (our March-April), examined for blemishes, and then slain on the fourteenth day of the month (Ex. 12:3–6).

The lamb had to be slain in the temple precincts and the supper eaten within the Jerusalem city limits.

:13 And he sendeth forth two of his disciples, and saith unto them, Go ye into the city, and there shall meet you a man bearing a pitcher of water: follow him.

Luke tells us that the two disciples were Peter and John (Luke 22:8).

It would not be hard to spot a man carrying a pitcher of water because this was usually a woman’s job.

:14 And wheresoever he shall go in, say ye to the goodman of the house, The Master saith, Where is the guestchamber, where I shall eat the passover with my disciples?

It may be that this would be a supernatural thing happening, but it’s also possible that Jesus had simply arranged this with the man earlier in the week and that this was going to be their way to keep the location a secret from the Jewish chief priests.

:15 And he will show you a large upper room furnished and prepared: there make ready for us.

furnished – This room wasn’t going to be an empty room, but one with the low tables, rugs, cushions, everything for a meal together with the disciples.

The preparation for the Passover:

The original Passover feast consisted of the roasted lamb, the unleavened bread, and the dish of bitter herbs (Ex. 12:8–20).

The lamb was to remind the Jews of the blood that was put on the doorposts in Egypt to keep the angel of death from killing their first born sons.  The unleavened bread reminded them of their haste in leaving Egypt, the bitter herbs reminded them of the bitterness of their slavery in Egypt.

Other things were added later to the meal like drinking four cups of wine diluted with water, and a fruity paste made from dates, raisins, nuts, and vinegar.

Church tradition has it that this upper room was in Mark’s house, owned by Mark’s father.  Later we know that this house was one of the places where the disciples hung out (Acts 12:12).  Some have suggested that it was also the same upper room where the disciples met and prayed when they were filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:13; 2:1).

:16 And his disciples went forth, and came into the city, and found as he had said unto them: and they made ready the passover.

For the Jews, the new day began at sunset, not at sunrise.  Though we would consider this Last Supper Passover meal to be on Thursday night, to the Jewish mind, it was the beginning of Friday, the same day that Jesus would be crucified since He died on Friday afternoon.

Just as the Passover reminded the Jews that God had “passed over” their houses and spared their children, Jesus would “fulfill” the Passover by dying for our sins so that God would “pass over” us in judgment and be able to forgive us.

:17-21 Betrayal Announced

:17 And in the evening he cometh with the twelve.

It’s possible that for security’s sake, Jesus and the twelve arrive at the room after dark.

Mark doesn’t give us all the details of the Last Supper.  One of the first things Jesus would do that evening would be to wash the disciples’ feet.  Then He would make His announcement of betrayal.

:18 And as they sat and did eat, Jesus said, Verily I say unto you, One of you which eateth with me shall betray me.

they satanakeimai – to lie at a table

For Jews, eating a meal together was a way to express unity.  You and I eat from the same loaf of bread, we are nourished by the same food, it’s kind of like becoming one with each other.  This was one reason why good Jewish boys and girls didn’t eat meals with dirty pig-dog-heathen Gentiles.  You don’t want to become “one” with them.

Jesus is saying that He is going to be betrayed by someone who was close to Him.

This too was a fulfillment of a prophecy:

(Psa 41:9 NKJV)  Even my own familiar friend in whom I trusted, Who ate my bread, Has lifted up his heel against me.
David wrote Psalm 41, and we think he was talking about his own experience of betrayal, being betrayed by a close friend Ahithophel, who turned on David to help the rebellion led by David’s son Absalom.

:19 And they began to be sorrowful, and to say unto him one by one, Is it I? and another said, Is it I?

beganarchomai – to begin.  Apparently they weren’t sad before this announcement.

Matthew records specifically that even Judas said, “Rabbi, is it I?” (Mat. 26:25)

Greek grammar has some interesting rules.  The way this question is being asked, it demands a “no” answer.  It might be better to translate the question, “It’s not I, is it?”  None of the disciples seemed to think that they were capable of betraying Jesus.


Love Covers

They didn’t have a clue about who was going to betray Jesus. 
It wasn’t like Judas was the disciple with the black leather robe sticking out in a group of white robes.
It’s not like Jesus had been dropping hints or pointing to Judas for the last three years, even though Jesus knew what Judas was going to do (John 6:70-71)
In fact, up until this point, the disciples hadn’t had a reason to be sad.
They wouldn’t know who the betrayer was until Judas would show up in the Garden of Gethsemane later that night with the soldiers.
There’s a principle about love in action here.  Love covers.
This is a common problem in young marriages.  The husband or wife has their feelings hurt by their spouse.  They run home to mommy and daddy and tell about how hurt they are.  They feel better and go home to make up with their spouse.  But mommy and daddy grow to hate their daughter or son-in-law.
A test of this is to find out what your friends at work think of your husband or wife.  I remember when I worked at McDonnell Douglas how the fellows used to do nothing but complain about their wives, about the “ol’ ball and chain”, the “old woman”.  I remember meeting the wife of one of the fellows and I was shocked to find that she was very cute, was the nicest person, and was a Christian (he wasn’t).
When Paul is defining love, he writes,
 (1 Cor 13:7 NKJV)  (love) bears all things …

A better translation is, “love covers all things”

This isn’t the idea of “covering up” as in ignoring another person’s problems, like the wife that refuses to admit that her husband is an alcoholic. But this is the idea of not dragging the other person’s sins out in public to humiliate them.
If your friend has a problem, you don’t tell the world about it. The Bible says,

 (1 Pet 4:8 NKJV)  And above all things have fervent love for one another, for "love will cover a multitude of sins."


Noah and his sons.  After the Ark landed and Noah and his family settled down, Noah planted a vineyard, made some wine, and got so stinking drunk (Gen. 9) that he took his clothes off and made a fool of himself.  One of his sons saw what happened and just made fun of his dad.  His other sons heard what happened and came into Noah’s tent with a blanket to cover up their father.

Love doesn’t ignore a person’s problems, but love is considerate enough to keep things confidential and cover the sin.
Why would love do this?

Because love keeps the door open for a person to change.  Love gives the person every opportunity to turn their life around.

Does this mean that if you have problems with another person, that you can’t talk to someone for advice?  Not at all.  Just be careful who you talk to.  Be careful to pick someone who is wise enough to know that you’re probably just as much at fault as the other person.  Be careful to pick someone who knows how to keep a secret and cover sin.

:20 And he answered and said unto them, It is one of the twelve, that dippeth with me in the dish.

Knives, forks, and spoons were not used at table in biblical times. It was the custom to eat with one’s fingers, most food being easily handled that way. But sometimes the food served would be a soup or sauce.  Then you would use bread to scoop the food out of a common dish.  Kind of like the “fondue pot” or like eating chips and salsa at a Mexican restaurant.

The sauce here was probably the one made of dried figs, raisins, nuts, spices, and moistened with vinegar and wine.

This part of the meal was not the part of the supper that we call “communion”.  This won’t happen until after Judas leaves the room.


Loving the betrayer

John gives us a few more details as to this moment.  John never refers to himself by name, but only calls himself the disciple “whom Jesus loved”.  As you’ll see, John was a little closer to the action than the other gospel writers, and he gives us a few details the others didn’t record:
(John 13:22-30 NKJV)  Then the disciples looked at one another, perplexed about whom He spoke. {23} Now there was leaning on Jesus' bosom one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved. {24} Simon Peter therefore motioned to him to ask who it was of whom He spoke.
Typically at a meal like this, the guests would be reclining on cushions around a “U” shaped table.  The host of the feast would recline at the center of the “U” with his closest friends on either side of him.  You would recline on your left elbow with your head toward the table, and eat with your right hand.  This would put your head on the breast of the person on your left.  We might think that the place of honor was on the right side, but at a feast it was on the left side. 
If we play detective, we can locate some of the disciples around the table with Jesus. 

The disciple leaning on Jesus’ bosom was John, the author of the gospel, and this would place him on the right side of Jesus.  Because Peter is clueless about what Jesus is saying and because he has to ask John to ask Jesus, this would place Peter somewhere down the line, but not next to Jesus.

{25} Then, leaning back on Jesus' breast, he said to Him, "Lord, who is it?" {26} Jesus answered, "It is he to whom I shall give a piece of bread when I have dipped it." And having dipped the bread, He gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon.
For Jews, eating a meal together was a way to express unity.
But what Jesus does goes beyond expressing unity.  It’s one thing to eat from the same bread and dip into the same bowl.  But Jesus gave Judas a piece of bread.  The offering of a piece of bread to another person was considered a special gesture of love and friendship.  When Boaz wished to honor Ruth, he offered her grain from his table (Ruth 2:14).  T.E. Lawrence (“Lawrence of Arabia”) said that when an Arab sheik tore off a hunk of fat dripping meat from the sheep cooked for dinner and offered it to you, you had better eat it, it was a sign of close friendship.

Jesus knows that Judas has already betrayed Him, yet He gives to Judas one last gesture of love and friendship.

I believe He was giving Judas one last chance to turn from sin.

Where was Judas at the table?  For Jesus to give a piece of bread to Judas would mean that Judas was on the other side of Jesus, on the left, in the place of honor.
Look at how Jesus loved Judas:
1.  He ate with him.
2.  He kept Judas’ sin a secret.
3.  He offered to him a token of friendship.
4.  He had Judas in the place of honor.
John goes on to tell us that after Judas took the bread but rejected Jesus’ love, Satan enters him.  When Jesus dismisses Judas from the table, the disciples are still clueless as to what happened.
What do you do when you feel betrayed?  You don’t stop loving.  You continue to love the one who betrayed you.
How in the world can you do this?  Only with Jesus’ help.

:21 The Son of man indeed goeth, as it is written of him: but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed!

Jesus would die as a sacrifice for our sins whether Judas betrayed him or not.  It had been planned long ago by God and spoken of by the prophets.

(Isa 53:5 NKJV)  But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.

But even though it was predicted, this doesn’t mean that Judas didn’t have a choice in the matter.  I believe that Jesus is giving Judas a chance to do the right thing right up until the end.

:21 good were it for that man if he had never been born.

What a tragic thing for Jesus to say about a person.  He would have been better off if he had never been born.

Yet this is the case for every person who rejects Jesus Christ.

It would be better if they had never been born.

God made you and has wonderful plans for your life. 
Yet a life without Jesus is a life without purpose. 
Nothing but living nowhere near what you were designed for.
Jesus died on the cross in order to pay the penalty for our sins.  We may not understand the enormous offense our sins bring, but our sin deserves death.  We deserve the penalty of eternity in hell, yet when Jesus died for us, He delivered us from hell.
He paid a debt He didn’t owe because we owed a debt we couldn’t pay.
Without Jesus, a person has nothing to look forward to but a fearful eternity in hell.
Without Jesus, there is no hope. Do you have the hope of heaven?