Did You Know? –From “The Last Week,” Borg and Crossan
• Why did Judas betray Jesus? The Gospel of Mark, unlike other gospels, does not give a specific reason only hints.
• Why did the religious leaders need to capture Jesus at night away from the crowds? Borg and Crossan maintain it was because Jesus was a favorite of the crowds.
• A central theme of Mark is that Jesus expected the Disciples to follow him to the cross and die with him as well as participate in his resurrection. They initially desert him.
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
14 It was two days before the Passover and the festival of Unleavened Bread. The chief priests and the scribes were looking for a way to arrest Jesus[a] by stealth and kill him; 2 for they said, “Not during the festival, or there may be a riot among the people.”
• 3 While he was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper,[b] as he sat at the table, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very costly ointment of nard, and she broke open the jar and poured the ointment on his head. 4 But some were there who said to one another in anger, “Why was the ointment wasted in this way? 5 For this ointment could have been sold for more than three hundred denarii,[c] and the money given to the poor.” And they scolded her. 6 But Jesus said, “Let her alone; why do you trouble her? She has performed a good service for me. 7 For you always have the poor with you, and you can show kindness to them whenever you wish; but you will not always have me. 8 She has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand for its burial. 9 Truly I tell you, wherever the good news[d] is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in remembrance of her.”
• 10 Then Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve, went to the chief priests in order to betray him to them. 11 When they heard it, they were greatly pleased, and promised to give him money. So, he began to look for an opportunity to betray him.
Some Thoughts on Today’s Reading—Pastor Pam
This Sunday we’re looking at how Mark describes the fourth day of the last week of the life of Jesus. It is Wednesday and two days before the Passover and Festival of Unleavened Bread. The chief priests and scribes are planning to kill Jesus and time is running out. They can’t arrest him in public, he is too popular among the crowds. One of the 12 disciples, Judas Iscariot, betrays Jesus and the priests promise to give him money. Perhaps there is an inference Judas is doing this for the money, but the text does not say this.
Mark leaves us to wonder why Judas betrayed Jesus. Some maintain it was indeed for the money and that Judas was a thief. Others suggest he sought the favor of the priests so that he would not meet the same fate as Jesus. Another view is that Judas was influenced by evil. Others suggest it was God’s plan. Mark, however, tells us only that Judas went to the priests immediately after the woman with the expensive ointment anoints Jesus and there is angry response by some disciples for such waste.
What would Mark have us think about Judas? We do know that not only Judas will fail Jesus. All 12 will fail to follow him to the cross. All but Judas, however, will later redeem themselves and serve and sacrifice as Jesus taught them to. On this fourth day, we are reminded that Jesus asks much from us. We are to give up violence for non-violence. We are to stand up for what he teaches. Borg and Crossan suggest that Judas is the worst example of discipleship because he entered into agreement with those complicit with imperial rule.
While we often focus on the betrayal of Judas in league with those who sought to destroy Jesus, what does this say about ways we might betray our Lord today? Are there times we deny him when we enter into agreement with forces that harm and unjustly dominate others?
Grace and Peace,