12 Apr. Mark 14:43-52

12 Apr. Jesus is betrayed with a kiss

"At once, while Jesus was still speaking, Judas, one of the twelve apostles, came up. With him were many people carrying swords and clubs who had been sent from the leading priests, the teachers of the [Jewish] law and the Jewish elders."

"Judas had planned a signal for them, saying, 'The man I kiss is Jesus. Arrest him and guard him while you lead him away.'"

"So Judas went straight to Jesus and said. 'Teacher!' and kissed him."

"Then the people grabbed Jesus and arrested him."

"One of his followers standing nearby pulled out his sword and struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his ear."

"Then Jesus said, 'You came to get me with swords and clubs as if I were a criminal. Every day I was with you teaching in the Temple, and you did not arrest me there. But all these things have happened to make the Scriptures come true.'"

"Then all of Jesus's followers left him and ran away. A young man, wearing only a linen cloth, was following Jesus, and the people also grabbed him. But the cloth he was wearing came off, and he ran away naked."

          (Mark 14:43-52)



John Mark - the author of Mark's gospel - was just a young man when he was present at these events in the olive grove 'garden' of Gethsemane, and wrote this dramatic eye-witness account of the arrest of Jesus (see https://www.thebiblejourney.org/…/1-…/who-wrote-the-gospels/).

Those who claim that the story of Jesus's arrest, trial, execution and resurrection are pure fiction have never bothered to seriously analyse the authenticity of this New Testament passage, which has all the hallmarks of a personal eye-witness account.

Mark’s early account of Jesus’s life (written as early as 62AD, a little over thirty years after the death and resurrection of Jesus) is widely believed to have been written by the Jewish member of the early Christian community in Jerusalem at whose home the first Christian believers met (see Acts 12:12).

The 'Upper Room' (Greek 'kataluma' or 'guest room') where Jesus’s ‘Last Supper’ was held may well have been at Mark’s house. Many scholars think that the young man whom Mark says slipped out of his tunic to escape from the clutches of the Jewish Temple guards when Jesus was arrested (see Mark 14:51-52) was John Mark himself.

So what really happened that evening? Judas knew where Jesus and his followers had planned to spend their special 'watchnight' prayer vigil, watching and praying on the eve of Passover; and he'd planned a signal for the Jewish religious authorities, saying, "The man I kiss is Jesus. Arrest him and guard him while you lead him away."

Why did Judas (a common name which can also be written as 'Jude' or 'Judah', meaning a follower of Yahweh or Jehovah) betray Jesus?

We tend to think of Jude (his name in Greek) as a man who betrayed Jesus for the love of money (see Matthew 26:14-16). He was the disciple who looked after the common purse and paid all the bills out of their joint funds, and we're told in the Bible that he wasn't entirely honest about these financial affairs (see John 12:4-6). He certainly didn't like to waste money (see Luke 22:3-6), but it's doubtful whether he was really motivated by the monetary reward.

And he wasn't an enemy of Jesus. We're told that he was one of the trusted circle of Jesus's close friends, and at the 'Last (Passover) Supper' he sat next to Jesus in one of the highest places of honour and "dipped his bread" in the same bowl of haroseth (see John 13:26).

It's more likely that Judah (his name in Hebrew) was a Jewish nationalist who felt Jesus wasn't standing up sufficiently to the Jewish religious authorities who were 'hand-in-glove' with the Roman occupiers (see https://www.thebiblejourney.org/…/21-t…/jewish-nationalists/).

As a member of the 'Jewish resistance' (to the Roman occupation), he probably wanted Jesus to raise up an armed insurrection against the Jewish 'quislings' and the Roman garrison during the Passover celebrations while Jerusalem was filled with thousands of Jewish pilgrims who hated the Romans. When he later realised that he'd miscalculated and his plan had gone wrong, he tried to give the money back. Failing this, he committed suicide, full of remorse (see Matthew 27:3-5).

So it was one of Jesus's closet allies who led the temple guards – armed with swords and clubs – to arrest Jesus. In the darkness, Judas identified Jesus with a kiss – the usual sign of friendship when a disciple greeted his Jewish 'rabbi' or 'teacher'.

A fight ensued and once their swords were drawn, Jesus's followers were guilty of 'treason' against the political allies of the Roman authorities - a capital offence in Roman eyes. So fearing their own arrest and the possibility of execution themselves, the disciples fled.

The photo shows the Mount of Olives where Jesus was arrested and led back across the Kidron Valley to the Old City of Jerusalem.

You can read more about Jesus's 'Last Supper' @  https://www.thebiblejourney.org/…/6-jesuss…/the-last-supper/)

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