As Jesus is speaking to the eleven disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane, Judas appears. His appearance was no mystery to Jesus. Earlier, during the Passover meal, Jesus had spoken to him with the words, “What you are about to do, do quickly,” (John 13:27). No one else knew why Jesus said these words at the time. Now their fulfillment is about to be seen.
Judas had been with the band of followers. Now with him was a crowd armed with swords and clubs…. How things have changed! Instead of a follower he was a forsaker. Instead of being submissive, he was subversive. The progress of sin’s grip on his heart is now becoming clearly evident.
Mark calls him ‘the betrayer‘ in verse 44. To this day Judas bears this reminder of his evil deed. His act of betrayal, fueled by a number of failures, is noted for our edification. What may we learn from his failure?
Are we ‘one of the Twelve?’ We may not be numbered among the apostolic band, but would anyone cite us as being a follower of Jesus Christ by our daily conduct? What crowd do we feel most comfortable with as we spend our days? What evil lies in our hearts awaiting an opportunity to express itself?
How did the betrayal of one ‘follower’ affect the remainder of the group? Jesus had already cited Zechariah 13:7 to the group, warning them that as the Shepherd would be struck, the sheep would be scattered. In verse 50 of Mark 14, this prediction is fulfilled. “Then everyone deserted him and fled.” Noone stayed true to the One who had been true to them. Their earlier resolve melted in the heat of the moment and the weakness of their true commitment is revealed.
How desperately they need God’s help! Praise God for the change we see in the book of Acts. Once Christ has ascended and the Holy Spirit is given, the cowardice of the eleven is replaced by courage, desertion by devotion.
It’s time to own up to the real condition of our hearts. Let’s admit how we over promise and under commit. Let’s own up to our heart desertion and having confessed this sin, let’s thank Christ for His satisfactory payment of these offences and seek the help of the Spirit of God to transform us into the people God calls us to be!