Mark 14:43-52: I was there!

“43 Just as he was speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, appeared. With him was a crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests, the teachers of the law, and the elders. 44 Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: ‘The one I kiss is the man; arrest him and lead him away under guard.’ 45 Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, ‘Rabbi!’ and kissed him. 46 The men seized Jesus and arrested him. 47 Then one of those standing near drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear. 48 ‘Am I leading a rebellion,’ said Jesus, ‘that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? 49 Every day I was with you, teaching in the temple courts, and you did not arrest me. But the Scriptures must be fulfilled.’ 50 Then everyone deserted him and fled. 51 A young man, wearing nothing but a linen garment, was following Jesus. When they seized him, 52 he fled naked, leaving his garment behind.” NIV UK

It is thought that (51, 52) represent John Mark’s coyly reticent way of saying, ‘I was there.’ He was an eye-witness of the betrayal of Jesus in the garden. He saw all that happened; he heard what was said.

We can be suitably impressed by outward appearance. When Judas said, ‘’Rabbi’’ (45), he sounded good; and when he ‘’kissed’’ Jesus he looked good. But God saw His insides. He had the heart of a greedy betrayer.

I have often thought that we in the church can be ‘kissing’ Jesus with our lips, using the fine-sounding vocabulary of praise and worship. At the same moment, however, we may be betraying him with our lives. So we need to learn from Judas, and be warned by him.