“Then Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve, went to the chief priests in order to betray him to them. And when they heard it, they were glad and promised to give him money. And he sought an opportunity to betray him.” (Mark 14:10-11)
It’s the week leading up to the death and resurrection of Christ, and the tides are turning in a massive way. Jesus was just anointed and welcomed as a king on Sunday, and he will be murdered on Friday. It’s Wednesday, and the hidden plot to put the Son of God to death has dramatically come to a head. Mark 14 begins with the chief priests and scribes putting the finishing touches on their plot to secretly arrest and murder Christ, and the last piece falls into place in verse 10. Judas Iscariot, one of Jesus’ twelve disciples, a true insider, willfully decides to take part in the mutiny to overthrow the Lord. He will be the traitor who gives Jesus over to an evil, unjust arrest and murder.
Have you ever wondered why Judas did it? Why does he follow Jesus for years, and then turn on him in the end? The answer, or at least a substantial portion of it, is hidden in the money bag tied tightly around his waist. Even when Mary was anointing Jesus as the true king, Judas was overcome with unrighteous anxiety and frustration over how much her anointing ointment costed. We see just a few verses earlier in Mark 14 and in John 12 that it was Judas, the keeper of the money bags, who rebuked Mary for wasting a year’s worth of money on Jesus. Though he claimed it could have been spent on the poor, his truly selfish motives betrayed him. Then three days later, Judas signed onto the single most heinous and mutinous plot in the history of humanity for thirty pieces of silver.
Why did Judas betray his master? He didn’t. He served and followed his master until the very end. He simply revealed that his true master wasn’t ever Jesus; it was money. In fact, Jesus early in his ministry had taught the disciples that man can only serve one master, God or money. We will either worship God or idols. The king of our heart will either be the Creator or it will merely be something he has created. Sadly, Judas had the wrong master. He had the wrong king. Judas serves as a painfully poignant reminder that we will always follow the true king and master of our hearts. The good news is that while evil men plotted the death of the Son of God, the God of the universe was plotting the eternal life of sinners by the very same death. Jesus came so that we as an idolatrous people could repent and finally worship the true King and follow the good Master forever.
Question to Contemplate:
- What idols do we still hold on to?
- In what ways are we mastered and shepherded by money rather than Christ?
- What aspects of our lives can we still surrender to Jesus as our true King and Deliverer?