Mark 14:10-21 (ESV)

10 Then Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve, went to the chief priests in order to betray him to them. 11 And when they heard it, they were glad and promised to give him money. And he sought an opportunity to betray him. 12 And on the first day of Unleavened Bread, when they sacrificed the Passover lamb, his disciples said to him, “Where will you have us go and prepare for you to eat the Passover?” 13 And he sent two of his disciples and said to them, “Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him, 14 and wherever he enters, say to the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says, Where is my guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ 15 And he will show you a large upper room furnished and ready; there prepare for us.” 16 And the disciples set out and went to the city and found it just as he had told them, and they prepared the Passover. 17 And when it was evening, he came with the twelve. 18 And as they were reclining at table and eating, Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me, one who is eating with me.” 19 They began to be sorrowful and to say to him one after another, “Is it I?” 20 He said to them, “It is one of the twelve, one who is dipping bread into the dish with me. 21 For the Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.”

Mark recorded the interaction that took place between Judas Iscariot and the religious leaders of Israel. Mark put full responsibility for the betrayal of Jesus on Judas. It was Judas who went to the chief priests and initiated the treachery. Verse 11 records that the chief priests were glad as a result. The Greek word used for “glad” literally means they “rejoiced” in response to the action of Judas. They may have thought God was granting their desires, as Judas was “moved” to seek them out and offer his services, despite the fact that they were the known enemies of Jesus. Although the betrayal of Jesus by Judas was right in line with the sovereign plan of God, Judas was fully responsible for what he did. And Jesus went on to declare that Judas would have been better off if he had never been born because of the punishment which would result from his actions. The betrayal and murder of God’s Son was ordained before the world began. Yet at the same time, Judas did exactly what his own desires led him to do, and he was accountable for his great sin. It is important to remember that even though God is in control of the affairs and actions of men, all who sin do just as they long to do. No one is forced to resist the will of God.

Mark transitions the reader from the incredible sacrifice of Mary, as he recounts her anointing Jesus for burial with lavish perfume, to the plot of Judas to betray Jesus into his enemy’s’ hands. What a contrast! Mary gave financially out of love for Jesus. Judas profited financially from Jesus out of love for himself. Judas was among Jesus’ inner circle of companions. He was a chosen disciple who had been with Jesus throughout his entire ministry. How painful this rejection must have been! A friend’s betrayal can be overwhelmingly discouraging. Maybe you have invested into a friendship and lived right alongside someone, only to later be rejected or deceived by her. Jesus was perfect, and he was betrayed. In fact, all of Jesus’ friends ended up abandoning him. If a friend has rejected you, know that Jesus understands your pain. Like Jesus, choose to move forward, trusting in the goodness of God despite the sinfulness of man. God will make all things right in the end.