Summary: Following the agony Jesus endured in Gethsemane, Judas led the multitude there to arrest Him. Having all power, Jesus could have resisted, and yet He submitted to the Father's will. He endured Calvary for you and me!
Betrayal in Gethsemane
Mark 14: 43-52
The events of this faithful night are rapidly unfolding. Having departed the Upper Room with the eleven, Jesus had made His way to the Garden of Gethsemane. Knowing what was soon to come, Jesus spent some intimate time in prayer with the Father. We cannot imagine the emotion and burden Jesus felt at this moment in time.
Judas, one of the twelve, knew where Jesus would go following the Passover meal. Having agreed to betray the Lord for thirty pieces of silver, Judas led those assembled by the Sanhedrin to arrest Jesus and bring Him before the council to stand trial. Our text deals with the betrayal and arrest of Jesus. For me, this is one of the saddest passages in all of Scripture. One who should have recognized Jesus and believed on Him as the Christ, abandoned all hope of salvation as he agreed to betray Jesus for a few pieces of silver.
Let’s take a few moments to look in on the details of this encounter as we consider: Betrayal in Gethsemane. First, we discover:
I. The Conspiracy (43-46) – These verses reveal the culmination of the conspiracy between Judas and the Sanhedrin. Consider:
A. The Throng (43) – And immediately, while he yet spake, cometh Judas, one of the twelve, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders. This was not a small gathering of people that came to arrest Jesus. They are described as a great multitude, armed with swords and staves. The Sanhedrin, led by the Pharisees, had heard enough of Jesus and they were determined to silence the voice of the one they perceived a threat to their agenda. Most agree this number would have been in the hundreds, possibly as many as 600 men.
Having a multitude around was not out of the ordinary for Jesus, but this crowd had not come with good intentions. They had not come to hear from the Master or receive a miracle. These had come to arrest Jesus and bring Him before the Sanhedrin. Their determination is evident based on the numbers they sent – hundreds to confront a party of twelve.
We see an ominous picture that remains in our day as well. Those who are opposed to Jesus and His message greatly outnumber those who embrace Him. However, we need not be alarmed; we serve the King of kings and Lord of lords!
B. The Traitor (44) – And he that betrayed him had given them a token, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he; take him, and lead him away safely. We know Judas led them to Gethsemane, knowing Jesus would be there. Prior to their arrival, the sign had been given: Judas would kiss Jesus, revealing Him to be the one they sought.
I have thought of the betrayal of Jesus by Judas many times. What a tragedy this was. Clearly an innocent Man was being betrayed, but this was all within the sovereign plan of God. The tragedy lies in the deceit and denial of Judas. He walked with Jesus as the others had. He experienced the same truth they had witnessed. There could be no doubt Jesus was the Christ, and yet Judas chose to ignore the truth and deny Jesus as the Christ. He refused to embrace the means of salvation, choosing rather a few pieces of silver.
C. The Treason (45-46) – And as soon as he was come, he goeth straightway to him, and saith, Master, master; and kissed him.  And they laid their hands on him, and took him. If ever an act of treason were committed, this is it. Judas came to the Lord as if all was well. He greeted Jesus in a friendly manner and addressed Him as Master. He then identified Jesus with the kiss. This was not a mere peck on the cheek, but a genuine portrayal of affection. Judas did not love the Lord, but he put on a good show for those who were there. With the kiss of betrayal, Judas identified the one the multitude sought. He had kissed the Door of salvation, but would deny Jesus and walk away lost and condemned.
Isn’t that tragic? We wonder how Judas could’ve done such a thing and yet many follow his deceitful portrayal. Many offer public affection to the Lord, but there is no change of heart and no genuine desire for Him. Offering a public kiss did not generate salvation for Judas and public shows of worship or affection won’t in our day apart from being genuinely born again!
II. The Confrontation (47-49) – Being well aware of what was going on, Jesus confronted those who came to arrest Him in Gethsemane. Notice: