In Stark Contrast
Text: Matthew 26 : 1 - 30
What a beautiful scene Matthew painted as he described the love gift that Mary presented to Jesus. In stark contrast, the author described the callous way in which Judas sold out his Teacher.
“Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot,
went to the chief priests 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. So from that time he sought
opportunity to betray Him.”
THE VERY THOUGHT OF “BETRAYAL”
The very thought of “betrayal” causes the heart to feel squeezed. From a mild reaction of feeling shocked, to the extreme end of vengeful anger, all feel something at the thought of the word “betrayal”!
‘One of the Twelve’
This phrase was used exclusively to describe the special band of disciples that Jesus chose. There were multitudes who followed Him. There were unnamed disciples too. A specific group of seventy (unnamed) disciples were once sent out by Jesus to minister for Him (Cf. Luke 10:1ff). What a privilege it was to belong to ‘The Twelve”. Not everyone was included in this special band of brothers.
These went everywhere with Jesus. They were closely associated with Him. They carried His authority too. A very special relationship existed between Jesus and this group called “The Twelve”.
Betrayal of Jesus, and therefore of the band of brothers that the twelve had formed, was Judas’ hideous way of repaying the privilege given to him. Drop out, fall out, disappear – there were surely other options! Why choose betrayal? Was there so much hate in his heart that he ended up betraying Jesus? He was there when Mary offered the gift to Jesus. The contrast could not be clearer! Mary loved Jesus! What did Judas feel for Jesus?
“Went to the chief priests”
It was Judas who initiated the move. It was he who sought out the chief priests. He must have struck a bargain with them concerning how much he was to be paid for leading them to Jesus. How hard and callous his heart had become! Three years of instruction, experiences and fellowship went down the drain, in a single moment of betrayal!
“What are you willing to give me if I deliver Him to you?”
Was betrayal so commonplace to Judas that he could even speak such words? Did friendship mean so little to him that he could sell out a Friend in this manner? Mary could not bring herself to speak to Jesus, for her heart was too full for words. Her gift to Jesus of spikenard was worth far more than what Judas sold Jesus for!
“And they counted out to him thirty pieces of silver”
How could Judas accept this paltry sum of money in exchange for the life of Jesus? The scribes and Pharisees for all their many faults, did not have “betrayal” spoken against them. They were true to their beliefs and practices, even if they were wrong. The Herodians, the Sadducees – each had their own peculiar sense of loyalty to the sect they belonged. None would consider switching loyalties! The disciples of Jesus were considered “a sect” by many.
“So from that time he sought opportunity to betray Him”
This statement made the act of betrayal even more heinous. It was entirely cold and calculated. He could no longer have fellowship among The Twelve, for he was no longer with them, if he was ever with them in the first place. His mind was no longer concentrating on what Jesus taught, for he was too busily pre-occupied with figuring how he could betray Jesus to the chief priests as agreed.
Jesus focused on teaching His disciples needed truths. There were still so many things He wanted to impart to them. The disciples must have sensed His urgency and sought to do their best to learn all they could. Time was speeding by too quickly! And what was Judas doing in the meanwhile? He “sought opportunity to betray Him!” How low and despicable he had become! What a stark contrast we have between Mary’s heart of devotion and Judas’ wickedness that caused him to betray Jesus!
ONE LAST CELEBRATION
The celebration of the Passover was closely tied with the Feast of the Unleavened Bread. The Former was celebrated over a special meal, whereas the latter was observed for an entire week. This Feast was meant to be a week of holy convocation for Israel, to commemorate their deliverance from Egypt.
“Now on the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread
the disciples came to Jesus, saying to Him, ‘Where do
You want us to prepare for You to eat the Passover?’
And He said, ‘Go into the city to a certain man,
and say to him, “The Teacher says,
‘My time is at hand; I will keep the Passover
at your house with My disciples.’ ” So the disciples did as Jesus
had directed them; and they prepared the Passover.”
All the disciples became busy with the preparation of the Passover meal. What about Judas? How did he feel as he busied himself together with the other disciples? His body was there with them, but his heart – it had turned to stone. He could no longer feel anything inside him anymore. There was only one thing in his heart – how to betray Jesus!