Summary: The closest companions betray Christ because of the reality of life.
Palm Sunday – The Betrayal of Christ
Over the last few weeks we have been examining snapshots of Jesus’ ministry. In particular moments that took place in Jerusalem and around the temple.
Today is Palm Sunday. A day that we remember the parade that occurred when Jesus and his followers entered into Jerusalem.
October 29, 1896 when Charles Lindbergh was given a ticker-tape parade in New York City in honor of his solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean. 750,000 lbs. (357 tons) of ticker tape poured onto the streets.
BUT THE BIGGEST TICKER-TAPE PARADE on record was on March 1, 1962, for astronaut John Glenn after he became the first American to orbit the earth in a spacecraft. The sanitation department cleaned up 3,474 tons of ticker tape, confetti and other paper along a 7-mile route.
Today we celebrate the day a man rode a donkey into the capital city of Jerusalem. The people poured into the streets and cheered his arrival. They waved palm branches, spread garments on the road, and shouted, Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!
It seems that EVERYBODY LOVES A PARADE. And it was no different when Jesus came to town.
The city was already packed with travelers entering the city from all directions….But for some reason the crowds respond differently as the group approaches the city. It is likely that many of the people walking in that morning knew Jesus pretty well. He and his disciple stayed in Bethpage during most of their visits at Lazarus, Martha and Mary’s home. On this journey to Passover Jesus has raised Lazarus from the dead. It had to be the talk of the town…
As pilgrims near the city they begin a chant. Perhaps, this group was more excited or fired up in the shouting of the traditional liturgy. Perhaps others along the way recognized Jesus and were ready to crown their messiah.
Whatever it was it became a big parade with people ripping down palm branches and throwing their cloaks on the ground in front of the donkey that Jesus was riding on.
Jesus and the disciples are on the top of the world. Can you imagine the smiles on their faces as they walked the parade route?
But it changed quickly, by Monday things were going downhill. According to Matthew on Monday Jesus made many enemies by driving the animals out of the temple and turning over the tables of the money-changers and saying the priests had turned the temple into a "den of thieves."
But, while the crowds were big and responsive, He recruited no army. He gave no speeches to rally the people against Rome or the religious authorities.
The people were ready. The people were waiting.
The people were disappointed!
They became angry. This man from Nazareth was supposed to be the Messiah, the Savior.
By Thursday, his death warrant had been issued and He was arrested.
On Friday the people were shouting, “Crucify Him!” He was forced to carry His cross to Golgotha and was crucified between two other prisoners.
Man that happed so fast. For the disciples, three years of their lives went crashing to the rocks in broad daylight. They thought that following Jesus in the parade was leading to a life of importance, power and Glory.
They were ALL disappointed because It looked like the end of something that had so much potential.
Today we are looking at the betrayals of Jesus in the last days in Jerusalem.
Then one of the twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, "What will you give me if I betray him to you?" They paid him thirty pieces of silver. And from that moment he began to look for an opportunity to betray him.
When Judas, his betrayer, saw that Jesus was condemned, he repented and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders. He said, "I have sinned by betraying innocent blood." But they said, "What is that to us? See to it yourself." Throwing down the pieces of silver in the temple, he departed; and he went and hanged himself.
Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard. A servant-girl came to him and said, "You also were with Jesus the Galilean." But he denied it before all of them, saying, "I do not know what you are talking about." When he went out to the porch, another servant-girl saw him, and she said to the bystanders, "This man was with Jesus of Nazareth." Again he denied it with an oath, "I do not know the man." After a little while the bystanders came up and said to Peter, "Certainly you are also one of them, for your accent betrays you."