Reading the Word
Mark 14:18–21 (ESV)
18 And as they were reclining at table and eating, Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me, one who is eating with me.” 19 They began to be sorrowful and to say to him one after another, “Is it I?” 20 He said to them, “It is one of the twelve, one who is dipping bread into the dish with me. 21 For the Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.”
Parallel Texts: Matthew 26:21-25; John 13:21-30
Understanding and Applying the Word
In one of the most surprising passages in all of Scripture, we read that Jesus would be betrayed. Not only would he be betrayed, it would be by one of his disciples. Jesus revealed this truth to the group as he ate this last meal with them. One of the men who was at the table was about to betray him.
How could this happen? How could a person who spent so much time with Jesus, who witnessed the miracles, and heard all of the teaching, betray Jesus? This passage tells us about Judas, but it also alerts us that not all things are always as they seem. Judas seemed to be a part of Jesus’ devoted followers, but he really was not. He was more interested in stealing money from the group and looking out for his own interests. When he came to realize that following Jesus was not going to be profitable to him, he was ready to cash out, so he agreed to betray him for a price. We may also see people in our day who appear for a time to be devoted followers of Christ, only later to prove that they are not. Many will walk away from Jesus for the same reasons Judas did. They will realize that following Jesus is not what they expected. When their desires are not met, they will leave because they never truly belonged to Jesus.
We must ask ourselves, “Why am I following Jesus?” Is it because we think he is going to give us our hearts’ desires? Or are we following him for his own sake? Do we simply want Jesus?
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