Plot and Betrayal (Matthew 26:3, 4, 14-16; Mark 14:1, 2, 10, 11; Luke 21:37-22:6)

Submitted by admin on Tue, 2008-10-07 09:58.

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During the time Jesus was in the vicinity of Jerusalem, he spent the day teaching in the temple precincts. At night, he would leave, heading for the Mount of Olives and usually, if not always, stay in Bethany at the home of Martha, Mary, and Lazarus. Early in the day, people would arrive at the temple to listen to Jesus’ teaching. (Luke 21:37, 38)

Viewing him as a threat to their security as a nation, the chief priests, scribes, and other prominent men of the nation resolved to have him killed. They met at the home of Caiaphas, the high priest, and plotted how they might stealthily attain their objective. In view of the approach of Passover, the influential unbelieving Jews considered it inadvisable for them to seize Jesus during the festival. They feared this would lead to a tumult among the crowds who were eager to listen to his teaching. (Matthew 26:3-5; Mark 14:1, 2; Luke 22:1, 2)

According to Luke 22:3, “Satan entered into Judas,” one of the twelve apostles. This probably means that Judas yielded to desires that stood in opposition to the Son of God, making him a tool of the great opposer or resister, Satan. Earlier, Judas had been entrusted with the common fund, which was used to purchase food and other necessities and to assist the poor. (John 13:29) He, however, ceased to be trustworthy and stole money from the fund on a regular basis. (John 12:6) Thus he demonstrated himself to be lacking in love for Jesus, his fellow apostles, and the poor.

The Scriptures do not reveal how and why Judas became corrupt, leading to the ultimate sin of betrayal. He went to the chief priests, asking them what they would give him for having Jesus handed over to them. They were highly pleased with his offer and agreed to pay him 30 silver pieces. During the time Judas conferred with the chief priests, temple guards were also present. (Matthew 26:14, 15; Mark 14:10, 11; Luke 22:4, 5) With the cooperation of Judas, the unbelieving Jewish leaders no longer needed to wait until after the festival to arrest Jesus. What Judas had offered to do made it possible for them to carry out their plot in secret, avoiding any possible uprising among the people.

The sum of 30 silver pieces was the price of a slave. (Exodus 21:32) This sum reflected the low esteem in which the unbelieving leaders of the nation held Jesus. At the same time, the payment of 30 silver pieces paralleled what was given to Zechariah for his having served as a shepherd for the people of Israel. (Zechariah 11:12) Therefore, in the case of the greatest shepherd, Jesus Christ, the payment of thirty silver pieces fulfilled what had been recorded in Zechariah regarding one who served as a shepherd but was not appreciated nor valued.

After his agreeing to betray Jesus, Judas watched for an opportune time to hand him over to the unbelieving influential Jews. (Matthew 26:16; Mark 14:11) For the plot to succeed, Judas needed to look for a time without the presence of a crowd and a circumstance that would allow for a secretive arrest. (Luke 22:6)