March 02, 2014

A Murderous Plot and Betrayal

Mark 14:1-2, 10-11

Then Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve, went to the chief priests to betray Jesus to them.
—Mark 14:10


Psalm 2:2 predicts that “the rulers band together against the LORD and against his anointed.” This prophecy is fulfilled when the priests and teachers of the law form an unholy alliance to bring Jesus down. The religious leaders of the day want Jesus dead.

At the end of this scene we discover a traitor on the inside as well. Judas, one of Jesus’ closest followers, secretly turns his back on Jesus and aids the enemy. Judas decides that he has had enough talk of Jesus’ crusade to establish the kingdom of God.

This is a powerful plot. The leaders with their temple soldiers and an insider who can lure Jesus into their net—what chance does Jesus have? But as Psalm 2:4 reports, “The One enthroned in heaven laughs.” God’s ways triumph in the end.

Through this event God wants us to know that human schemes cannot thwart God’s plans. We, as followers of Jesus, often feel overmatched, puny before cultural movements that might appear to threaten Christianity, and betrayed by insiders who abuse the teachings of Jesus for their own gain.

But God has a surprise for us. Even enemies accomplish God’s plan. Even in suffering and death Jesus is King. God uses little people, unexpected events, and even the struggle of suffering to accomplish his purposes. That is our confidence in Jesus Christ.

We praise you, Lord, that nothing can separate us from the love of God that is ours in Christ Jesus. To that we say, Amen!

About the author — Dean Deppe

Dean Deppe has been a pastor in inner-city, suburban, and rural ­churches. Currently he teaches New Testament theology at Calvin Theological Seminary. His courses include one on the parables of Jesus. He and his wife have four grown children.

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