PREPARE TO LISTEN. Begin with the usual silence and then pray: Let those who are wise give heed to these things, and consider the steadfast love of the Lord. (Psalm 107:43)
READ: Mark 14:10-11 ‘One of the Twelve’
10Then Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve, went to the chief priests in order to betray him to them. 11When they heard it, they were greatly pleased, and promised to give him money. So he began to look for an opportunity to betray him.
Once again, we read an ominous passage and one most of us skip over or skim read. It’s rare we prayerfully reflect on these words. It tells a story in stark contrast with the previous one where an unnamed woman showed her solidarity with Jesus’ mission, anointing him in preparation for his burial. Jesus lauded her act and rebuked those who rebuked her. Mark seems to link that story with this one with the word ‘then.’ This story reveals Mark’s second theme—betrayal, which is related to Jesus’ relationship with his disciples.
A tragedy of this story of betrayal is that it was by one of Jesus’ own. Three times in this chapter Judas is described as ‘one of the Twelve’ (vv10, 20, 43). Mark’s version of Judas’ offer to turn informant against Jesus is given very briefly. It’s as though the story is too distasteful to tell in detail. One of Jesus’ own would betray him? Unthinkable! The chief priests were delighted at this unexpected help and were willing to fork out the money to pay Judas. We could get smug and think we’d never betray Jesus. But, as we’ll see, in the end all Jesus’ disciples (that is the men) betrayed Jesus by their silence and running away and even with a verbal denial (Peter). We could be one of them. When we fail to stand up and be counted as a follower of the way of Jesus, a way that practices compassion and non-violence; a way that takes up the cross and denies the self, when we fail to live this Way, are we not ‘betraying’ Jesus?
Here’s the challenge for reflection: In what ways am I or can I stand up and with Jesus today? What’s your challenge to overcome today so that you do stand with Jesus?
RESPOND TO JESUS IN PRAYER
Jesus, help me to stand up and be counted as one of your followers even if that means going against popular opinion. Amen.
GO AND LIVE IN OBEDIENCE TO CHRIST by standing with, not against him.