“They came to a place called Gethsemane and Jesus said to His disciples, ‘sit here and pray’ “ [MARK 14 : 32]
The betrayal of Jesus came to a head in the Garden of Gethsemane and continued through the days to His death. He was betrayed by a Disciple with the “Judas Kiss”, the ultimate betrayal for reasons only Judas knew, money perhaps or a need to push Jesus into action. We will never truly know what evil had entered his heart, what made him go to the authorities and sell Jesus for thirty pieces of silver.
There was a betrayal of His trust in the Disciples as they waited in the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus asked them to keep watch while He prayed. Instead they fell asleep, not once but three times, three times He wakened them with sad words at one time he said, “The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak” [Mark 14 : 38] a poor refection of their loyalty.
Not only that but worse was to come, when the authorities and their crowd of armed men arrived though there was a small skirmish, in the end the Disciples ran away. [Mark 14 : 50]From then on they all melted in to the background and after the Resurrection they were found by Jesus in a locked room afraid for their safety. All except Peter who with foolish bravery went right into the court where Jesus was being held and fell into a trap.
The tragedy was that when he was accused three times of being a follower of Jesus he denied it each time. He was in a dangerous place and in a dangerous situation and everything he knew flew out of his mind and he chose to deny and keep safe. After the third denial Jesus looked straight at him, not saying a word but He did not need to because Peter knew exactly what he had done and wept bitter tears. His betrayal was said without thinking yet it ran so deep and caused such pain for Peter.
Yet Jesus stayed silent and alone throughout making sure that the focus was entirely on Him. In all four Gospels the writers of them tell much the same about the trial, no mention is ever made of the disciples. [Mark 14 : 53 – 65] Jesus does not draw attention to them in any way or ask that they also be accused or blamed them for His actions, He stood alone. He is shielding them in His own way, they stayed in the backgroundand in that way they were saved. He kept true to them, this allowed them to keep safe. They were never touched or harmed in any way it was a miracle that they were never hunted down at that time. They remained safe until it was their turn to go out into the world and spread the Word of Jesus and His Sacrifice for all people.
Jesus was betrayed by the Justice System because the court in the Sanhedrin was a mockery of justice, they could not get credible witnesses against Him. When they did it was such a weak case it could easily have been overturned, but they were determined to have His blood. A betrayal of their duty to seek justice and righteousness, they let their fear and hatred take over.
He was taken to Pilate and despite his best efforts to free an innocent man he bowed to the anger of the crowd. In order to please them and to court popularity he set the criminal Barabbus free. [Mark 15 : 15] Jesus was betrayed because of one man’s need to be popular no matter what the cost.
The Crucifixion and death of Jesus is agonising [Mark 15 : 21 – 41] there is little to say that can convey the horror any better than the first witnesses of that time. Their hearts were broken and they were shocked beyond belief that so awful an event could happen so quickly. Jesus was betrayed in different ways by all around Him but it was His choice to be the Sacrifice for the whole world.
He was betrayed in many ways for many reasons, some self -serving some of self – preservation. Many did not realise the enormity of what they were doing and He forgave them, His Disciples he understood completely and returned to them with compassion and forgiveness. He forgives all who in a panic or out of expediency deny Him if they are truly sorry and turn back to Him and that is the great Hope for all of us, the complete understanding and compassionate mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ.
LET US PRAY [This prayer is by Robin Green and is found in the book “Bread for tomorrow”]
WHERE LOVE IS DENIED: LET LOVE BREAK THROUGH
WHERE JUSTICE IS DESTROYED: LET RIGHTEOUSNESS RULE.
WHERE HOPE IS CRUCIFIED: LET FAITH PERSIST
WHERE PEACE IS NO MORE: LET PASSION LIVE ON
WHERE TRUTH IS DENIED: LET THE STRUGGLE CONTINUE
REACH INTO THIS SILENT DARKNESS WITH YOUR LOVE,
DEEPEN THE TERRROR OF THIS MOMENT INTO NEW HOPE
RELEIVE THE CRIES OF YOUR PEOPLE WITH YOUR QUIET VOICE OF PEACE
THAT HERE WE MAY KNOW
IN JESUS CHRIST, THE CRUCIFIED LORD. AMEN
NOTE – All of the events of the arrest, trial, crucifixion and death of Jesus are found in all four Gospels but I am following Mark from chapter 14 verse 32 through to Mark chapter 15 verse 41.
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