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The Biography of the Betrayer (Matthew 26:1-16)

Introduction

I have thought much as to what the title of this message should be. One title that I find rather promising is this: “Great Falls from Little Flaws Grow.” This title suggests one of the principle lessons which a study of the fall of Judas should teach us; namely, that most falls are the predictable consequence of flaws left untended, or perhaps even nurtured.

This was the case, for example, with David’s fall in his romantic encounter with Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah. Contrary to what we might think, David’s problem began in the bedroom, not on the balcony, The Scriptures tell us that David had been lying in bed all day long, that he got up in the evening and went out on his roof. David stayed home in bed while his army was fighting a war (2 Samuel 11:1-2). David’s fall, like countless others, was not one wrong step, but the conclusion of a series of steps in the wrong direction. It was not an explosion, but an extended fizzle.

Today men are often excused for the most heinous crimes on the basis of what is called ‘temporary insanity.’ By this is implied that the guilty person would never have committed such a crime, but that for a brief moment in time, ‘he was not himself.’ Such an attitude is especially appealing to one guilty of that which is totally unacceptable and deplorable to society.

When I come to the treachery of Judas Iscariot in the betrayal of our Lord, I find the same mentality exhibited by many Christians—even biblical scholars. They seem to look upon the detestable act of Judas as some kind of momentary departure from his normal self, thereby lessening (in their minds) the guilt which he must bear for his betrayal of the Master. By this kind of thinking we not only distort the biblical account of his sin, but we also deceive ourselves as to the way we frequently fall into sin and bring reproach on the name of Christ.

As we look into the betrayal of the Savior by Judas Iscariot, it is my intention to define his act as the logical outcome of several basic flaws in his character, and to defend my contention that the Scriptures describe his traitorous intentions as premeditated and carefully deliberated.

The Biblical Necessity of the Betrayal

We must begin by stating unequivocally that the betrayal of Jesus by Judas was no accident, no unplanned event. It was an event decreed from the beginning of time. In fact, to be correct we should say before time began. “For indeed, the Son of Man is going as it has been determined; but woe to that man through whom He is betrayed!” (Luke 22:22: cf. Acts 2:23, emphasis mine).

Not only was the death of the Lord Jesus decreed in eternity past, it was declared by the Old Testament prophets as well: “The Son of Man is to go, just as it is written of Him; but woe to that man through whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had not been born” (Matthew 26:24). “I do not speak of all of you. I know the ones I have chosen; but it is that the Scripture may be fulfilled, ‘He who eats My bread has lifted up his heel against me’” (John 13:18; cf. Acts 1:16-20).

I find it significant that in each gospel (Matthew 10:4; Mark 3:19; Luke 6:16; John 6:70-71) Judas is introduced for the first time by the author as the betrayer of Jesus. His character and ultimate destiny were known by our Lord from the start and revealed in the gospels at the very outset of his appearance.98

The Biblical Reasons for the Betrayal

Some biblical scholars seem strangely reluctant to pursue the reasons for Judas’ betrayal of our Lord. On the other hand, some theories have little or no biblical support and must definitely be questioned.99 The Scriptures do suggest several reasons why Judas betrayed the Master, and these I believe to be sufficient.

First of all, we must grasp the fact that Judas, distinct from the eleven, was never a true believer. We know that the ‘Bread of Life’ discourse’ (John 6:22-71) caused many ‘followers’ of Jesus to turn aside, refusing His teaching of a Savior Who was a suffering substitute for men (John 6:60ff.). As an explanation for the turning away of the crowds, Jesus told His disciples that these unbelievers were not unknown or unexpected. One of them, known to Jesus, but not yet comprehended by the eleven, was Judas, the betrayer: “‘But there are some of you who do not believe.’ For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who it was that would betray Him” (John 6:64).

Moments later Jesus said, “‘Did I Myself not choose you, the twelve, and yet one of you is a devil?’ Now He meant Judas the son of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the twelve, was going to betray Him” (John 6:70-71).

In the upper room, when Jesus washed the feet of the twelve, He distinguished between the need for what might be called daily cleansing and the once for all washing of regeneration.100 In addition, Jesus also differentiated between the eleven who were ‘clean,’ that is saved, and Judas, who was not:

“Jesus said to him (Peter), ‘He who has bathed (louo) needs only to wash (nipto) his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you.’ For He knew the one who was betraying Him; for this reason He said, ‘Not all of you are clean’” (John 13:10-11).

From these Scriptures we conclude that Judas was an unbeliever, a son of perdition (John 17:12).101 As an unbeliever, Judas failed to grasp who Jesus really was. Like Satan, who progressively came to control Judas, there was a stubborn refusal to submit to Jesus as Lord of all. This insubordination may have been carefully concealed, but Judas’ own words betrayed his condition. When Jesus announced during the Passover meal that one of the twelve would betray him, the eleven all responded, “Surely not I, Lord?” (Matthew 26:22). But when Judas spoke to the Savior, he said, “Surely it is not I, Rabbi?” (Matthew 26:25). Granted, this is a subtle slip of the tongue, but nonetheless an indication of the condition of the heart of Judas.

The second reason given for the betrayal of Jesus is that of greed. This condition is most obvious from several evidences. John is careful to inform us that Judas functioned as the treasurer of this little band (John 12:6). Judas was especially irritated by Mary’s seemingly wasteful use of her expensive perfume102 to anoint Jesus. While the formal reason for his protest was that this could have been sold and the proceeds distributed to the poor, the truth was that he resented not being able to steal103 from the proceeds which he would have had in his keeping.

Another evidence of Judas’ greed is to be found in his dealings with the religious leaders. His first recorded words with them were, “What are you willing to give me to deliver Him up to you?” (Matthew 26:15).

Many scholars find it difficult to believe that a desire for money, especially a sum as insignificant as thirty pieces of silver,104 could compel him to sell out the Savior. But Jesus was not the master of Judas; money was. It is amazing what men will do, even for a small amount of money.

The third reason for Judas’ ignominious act was that of ambition and self-seeking. This I arrive at by inference and thus some may not consider the evidence compelling. Several things suggest ambition to me. Judas was, in the final analysis, possessed by Satan to do this dastardly deed (John 6:70; 13:2,27). We should expect Judas to manifest the character traits of Satan, one of which was ambition and self-seeking (cf. Isaiah 14:13-15; 1 Timothy 3:7). I would expect that Judas initially joined this intimate group that followed the Savior expecting to further his own position (not unlike the ambitions of some of the other disciples, cf. Luke 22:24).

Some Bible students have determined by careful study that Judas was sitting in the place of honor, second only to Jesus, during the last supper.105 Many have gone on to suggest from this that Jesus placed Judas here as a kind of last appeal to him to change his mind. But the text gives us nothing to support this conjecture. Indeed, the text (John 13) implies that when the disciples entered the banquet room, they jockeyed for the best positions and the seat of honor. They ignored the basin placed by the door which would have been used by the most humble servant to wash the feet of those entering. This is what Jesus did as an example of humility. So it would seem that Judas had the seat of honor because he asserted himself most to get it.106

The fourth and perhaps final reason for the betrayal of Jesus by Judas was that he had long contemplated it, and for some time, intended to do it. I must confess that I was not prepared for this reason as I began my study.

Then I came across this verse in John: “But Judas Iscariot, one of His disciples, who was intending to betray Him, said, ‘Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii, and given to the poor people?’” (John 12:4-5). This passage seems to indicate that Judas’ act was the result of considerable deliberation and a rather long-standing decision.107 Then, as I began to investigate the Greek term used here (mello) I found it was often employed by John, and sometimes with the sense of intention or volition.108 “And this He was saying to test him; for He Himself knew what He was intending to do” (John 6:6; cf. 7:35; Acts 20:7,13; 27:30).

Finally, I discovered this marginal rendering for John 6:71: “Now He meant Judas the son of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the twelve, was intending to betray Him” (John 6:71 NASV, marginal rendering). Judas’ actions were no impulse, no quick decision. I believe that he had at least toyed with the idea of a betrayal for months.

Putting all of these factors together, let me attempt to construct the process by which Judas came to his fateful decision to betray the Lord Jesus. I must caution you that there is a good deal of conjecture here, but at least we may gain a better grasp of what may have happened and why.

Distinct from the eleven,109 Judas joined Jesus in a state of unbelief. The faith of the eleven was limited, but real. Not so with Judas. Judas had some other reason(s), then, for joining this band of disciples. I would suspect that he at least regarded Jesus as a messianic hopeful who had charismatic appeal and the ability to attract and motivate the masses. He perhaps perceived of Jesus as a man who was putting together an organization to revolt against Rome and to physically restore Israel to its rightful place in the sun.

These hopes were often threatened by what Judas heard Jesus teach. He spoke more of spiritual reform than of social and political action and revolution. A real crises must have come to head in the ‘bread of life discourse’ of Jesus in John chapter six, for there, when the crowds were ready to forcibly make Jesus their King (as Judas had hoped for) Jesus declined and began to teach of His self-sacrifice and atoning death. The crowds departed, never again to follow Jesus (John 6:66), and, in my mind, Judas mentally departed as well, but for some strange reason he still followed as a disciple.

Judas, like the others, had left all to follow Jesus (Matthew 19:27), but he had expected a little return on his investment by now. Any enterprising businessman is willing to deny himself of some luxuries in the hope of making a profit, but too much time had passed and no hope of advantage was on the horizon. Jesus began to talk more and more of death, not of defeat for the Romans, and glory for Israel, Himself, and especially the disciples. He had charge of the money bag. He would help himself from time to time. After all, he deserved it for all the sacrifices he had made. A man should see a little fruit from his labors.

Perhaps, too, Judas gave thought to taking over the organization. He, no doubt, was a man of many capabilities (which may have earned him the job of treasurer for the group). If Jesus would not use the organization that was beginning to take shape under His ministry, why not remove Jesus and take over himself? Such thoughts, I would suggest, may well have been entertained in the mind of Judas over the months approaching the final assault on Jerusalem.

With the triumphal entry, the hopes of the betrayer may well have been rekindled one final time. But it was not long until the inevitable became obvious. Jesus seemed to almost deliberately antagonize the opposition and to alienate those who could have offered their support to the cause of the Kingdom.

The last straw for Judas was what occurred at the dinner party in Jesus’ honor at the home of Simon the Leper (Matthew 26:6-13; Mark 14:3-9; John 12:1-8). Mary foolishly squandered (in Judas’ mind, at least) an expensive perfume on Jesus.110 Should this not have been sold and the money given to the poor?111 Even the other disciples agreed. But the waste of money was perhaps only secondary to Judas. The real irritation may have been Jesus’ words of commendation and His explanation that Mary’s anointing was in preparation for His burial. Here He was, heralded and welcomed by those in Jerusalem. Here was the day of opportunity for Jesus, and He can talk only of death. How could anyone (so thought Judas) be so shortsighted?112

The betrayal of Jesus would do several things, Judas may have reasoned. First, it would give Jesus the death which He seemed determined to have. Also, it would remove Jesus as the leader of this movement and give Judas the opportunity to take over and do it right. Finally, it would provide an opportunity to recover a few dollars that he had every right to expect.

And so, it would seem, a lethal combination of greed, ambition and rebellion met in this man Judas. For years he played the role, but always looking out for his own interests. Such sin cannot be brooded upon and concealed forever.

The Biblical Responsibility for the Betrayal

Perhaps we have gained some insight into the reasons why Judas could ever contemplate such a heinous crime. But many are not content to leave the matter here. Who was ultimately responsible for this inconceivable crime against the Christ?

While it is clear that God ordained the betrayal, it is just as evident that He did not implant the idea of betrayal in the mind of Judas nor did He compel this disciple to sin. In the words of our Lord, “For indeed, the Son of Man is going as it has been determined; but woe to that man through whom He is betrayed!” (Luke 22:22).

Not only was the betrayal purposed by God, but it was also promoted by Satan. The thought of betrayal was, in some way, suggested by satanic influence (John 13:2). Having succumbed to this suggestion, Satan finally entered Judas during the Passover meal, and empowered him to carry out his own initiative, in harmony with the purpose of God and the prompting of Satan (John 13:27).

In the final analysis we must place the responsibility for the sin of Judas where the Scripture puts it—squarely on Judas himself. While God is sovereign and He utilizes the sins of men to accomplish His own purposes (cf. Psalm 76:10), He does not make men sin.113 Also, Judas can never say, “The Devil made me do it.” The text is clear that Satan did not enter into Judas until the agreement had already been made with the religious leaders. Satan gained more and more control of Judas as he progressively gave in to his sinful intentions.

While we may never be able to solve the mystery of the relationship between the sovereignty of God and the responsibility of man, the Scripture says that both are true: “This man, delivered up by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death” (Acts 2:23).

The Two Roads to Renown
(26:6-13)

One cannot help but be deeply impressed with the contrast in Matthew 26:6-13 between Judas and Mary. Both are destined for renown, but by two completely different roads. Mary will earn fame, Judas infamy. And in the process we will learn some of the critical contrasts between those whose memory will become a blemish and those who will be a blessing. Of Judas our Lord can only say, “It would have been good for that man if he had not been born” (Matthew 26:24).

But of Mary, we read, “Truly I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done shall also be spoken of in memory of her” (Matthew 26:13).

Let us give careful thought to the contrast of these two figures.

Both, I believe, were more sensitive and alert to our Lord’s predictions of His coming death. The others still seemed to fail to grasp the urgency of the moment. But Judas perceived of the death of Christ as the burial of all that he had hoped for. Mary sensed that the death of Christ was the basis of hope.

Judas, save his last hypocritical act of devotion,114 had little affection for Jesus. He was not his Lord, but only a Rabbi. Jesus was more an opportunity to get ahead than the object of affection and worship. Not so with Mary. Jesus was her beloved Lord. Her anointing of Jesus was the abandon115 of deep affection and devotion. While Judas begrudged Jesus for His failure to seize His opportunity, Mary was filled only with gratitude.

To Judas money was something to be gained and grasped, even if it were done deceitfully. Money spent on Jesus was considered wasted (Matthew 26:8).

To Mary, money was simply one means of expressing her devotion and adoration of the Savior. She gladly gave of that which was her best.

The whole matter boils down to one simple issue, “What do you think of Jesus?” Judas did not value Him at all. He would dispose of Him for the price of a slave. Mary loved Him as no one else in her life. She would gladly dispose of what was most precious if it would bring pleasure to Him.

Men today frequently give Jesus a polite and dutiful tip of the hat, but are they willing to lay those things which mean the most to them at His feet? My friend, do you view the generous giving of some as foolishness? Do you look at those who give their lives in the service of the Savior as a tragic waste? That is the attitude of Judas.

Conclusion:
Biblical Lessons From the Betrayal

Historically the last piece of the puzzle (of religious resistance) is in place. The religious leaders were in desperate straits. They must find a way to be rid of Jesus, but they are forced to make their move out of the sight of the masses (Matthew 26:3-5). Judas must have seemed like the answer to their prayers. He offered the assistance of one on the inside, one who could lead a task force to arrest the Savior at one of Jesus’ secluded nighttime retreats.

For us the person of Judas is a warning of the danger and the destruction of unbelief. The unbelief of Judas did not hinder the purposes of God, but it brought this man to his own destruction. May I say to you, my unsaved friend, you can reject and resist the Savior, but you cannot defeat Him. Your rejection and rebellion are not only futile, but fatal.

Judas warns us that it is possible to be in very close proximity to the Savior without possessing salvation. You cannot judge one’s spiritual state by his associations. Neither can you determine a man’s eternal destiny on the basis of his activities. Judas was with the Lord Jesus, and he (I assume) performed the same signs and miracles that the other eleven did, but that did not make him a Christian. One’s true spiritual condition is revealed by his affection and devotion for the Lord Jesus Christ, and by his estimate of His worth and the value of His atoning death. For the Christian Jesus is no mere teacher. He is his Lord and his God (John 20:28).

For the Christian I believe we find both a warning and an encouragement in the betrayal of Judas. We are warned of the danger of incubating sin in our lives. We are reminded that in spiritual things many (by human analogy) of our ‘flat tires’ are not blowouts, but slow leaks. Many of the sins which appear to occur so spontaneously, so unexpectedly, are really matters which we have long deliberated. Such was the case with Judas, and with David, and many other biblical personalities.

The encouragement to me is found in the contrast between Judas and Peter. It is the difference between betrayal and denial. Satan wanted Judas and he got him. This was because Judas had rejected Jesus as Messiah and was ‘on his own’ with no divine enablement to resist Satan. Second, Judas’ goals, attitudes, and desires were nearly synonymous with Satan’s. Satan also desired Peter (Luke 22:31), but he could not have him. While Peter sometimes lapsed into thinking the thoughts of the world and of Satan (Matthew 16:23), he was one who belonged to the Savior, Who kept His own (John 17:12) and Who prays for His own (Luke 22:32). Judas was an unbeliever whose betrayal led to everlasting torment, while Peter, as a believer, fell only for a time, and was restored so that he could strengthen others by the grace he received (Luke 22:32). While the difference between a Judas and Peter at times seems hard for us to distinguish (cf. Matthew 26:8, John 12:4-5), the Lord knows His own and is able to keep them. What a comfort there is in this truth as revealed in this prayer of our Lord Jesus: “Holy Father, keep them in Thy name, the name which Thou hast given Me, that they may be one, even as We are” (John 17:11b).


98 While Stewart’s motives may well be commendable, his theology leaves much to question in this statement as to our Lord’s choice of Judas:

“Even more important is the fact of Jesus’ estimate of Judas. The Master’s eye, accustomed to read all kinds of men, detected in Judas the makings of a real apostle; here was a man who had it in him to do splendid service for the Kingdom. Sometimes, indeed, it has been suggested that Jesus gave Judas a place near himself simply because it was necessary for God’s predestined plans that there should be a traitor in the disciple band. It cannot be too strongly insisted that any such theory is both absurd and irreligious. It turns predestination into fatalism. It is a slander on providence and on God’s ordering of the world. It degrades the sacred narrative to the level of solemn play acting. No, Jesus called Judas to be a disciple for the same reason for which he called the other eleven. He saw in him a man of noble promise and boundless possibilities. No doubt he saw other things as well—moral contradictions jostling one another in the man’s secret soul, strange conflicts of light and darkness, courage and cowardice, self-surrender and self-love. But that simply meant that he was a man of human passions, and it was out of such materials that Jesus fashioned his saints. He hoped to do it here. Judas, when he first became a disciple, was a potential man of God.” James S. Stewart, The Life and Teaching of Jesus Christ (Nashville: Abingdon, 1978), pp. 189-190.

In my opinion, many well-intentioned efforts to protect God’s reputation in the matter of His responsibility for sin are achieved at the expense of His sovereignty.

99 James Stewart rightly (I believe) rejects the theory originated by DeQuincey, and held by many today (including William Barclay, The Gospel of Matthew) (Edinburgh: The Saint Andrew Press, 1963), II, p. 367.

“DeQuincey made the famous suggestion that Judas played the traitor in order to force Jesus’ hand. Writhing with impatience as he watched his master apparently squandering one opportunity after another of asserting himself and claiming the throne, Judas at last decided that if Jesus would not take action of his own accord, he would have to be compelled to act. But how? Obviously the way to do it would be to get Jesus into a compromising situation. Then he would be forced to bestir himself and manifest his power. Then the Kingdom would come. It is an ingenious theory; and if accepted, it would go far to rehabilitate the worst reputation in history. But it will not hold water. It represents Jesus as an irresolute, procrastinating Hamlet. In place of Judas the traitor it gives us Judas the misguided saint. Instead of a deep-dyed crime it speaks of an error of judgment. There is not a scrap of evidence for this in the Gospels. It is quite inconsistent with the words of stern condemnation which Jesus himself used about his disciple’s deed. An error of judgment, the rashness of a too enthusiastic follower, Jesus would certainly have pardoned. But of Judas he could only say—“Woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! Good were it for that man if he had never been born” (Mark 14:21). No, this explanation must be set aside.” Stewart, The Life and Teaching of Jesus Christ, pp. 191-192.

100 There are two Greek words used by John in this passage, louo, ‘to bathe,’ and nipto, ‘to wash up.’ Trench says of the difference between these terms: “… nipto almost always express(es) the washing of a part of the body… while louein, which is not so much ‘to wash’ as ‘to bathe’… implies always, not the washing of a part of the body, but of the whole.…” R. W. Trench, Synonyms of the New Testament (Marshallton, Delaware: The National Foundation for Christian Education, n.d.) p. 151.

101 “The exact expression, ho uios tas apoleias, is used of the man of sin in 2 Thess. 2:3.” Leon Morris, The Gospel According to John (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1971), p. 728, fn. 42.

102 “The costly perfume is identified as nard, the aromatic oil extracted from a root native to India. To retain the fragrance of nard, enough ointment for one application was sealed in small alabaster flasks. The long neck of the flask had to be broken to release the aroma. Early in the first century Pliny the Elder (Natural History XIII. iii. 19) remarked that “the best ointment is preserved in alabaster.” The value of the perfume, and its identification as nard, suggests that it was a family heirloom that was passed on from one generation to another, from mother to daughter.” William L. Lane, The Gospel According to Mark (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1974), p. 492.

103 “John characterizes him (Judas) as ‘a thief,’ his word indicating something like a sneak-thief.” Morris, John, p. 578. (The actual term employed is kleptes, from which we derive the word kleptomaniac.)

104 “Yet none the less do we mark the deep symbolic significance of it all, in that the Lord was, so to speak, paid for out of the Temple money which was destined for the purchase of sacrifices, and that He, Who took on Him the form of a servant, was sold and bought at the legal price of a slave (Exodus 21:32).” Alford Edersheim, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1965), II, p. 477.

105 “Around a low Eastern table, oval or rather elongated, two parts covered with a cloth, and standing or else suspended, the single divans or pillows are ranged in the form of an elongated horseshoe, leaving free one end of the table, somewhat as in the accompanying woodcut. A represents the table, B B respectively the ends of the two rows of single divans on which each guest reclines on his left side, with his head (C) nearest the table, and his feet (D) stretching back towards the ground.

So far for the arrangement of the table. Jewish documents are equally explicit as to that of the guests. It seems to have been quite an established rule that, in a company of more than two, say of three, the chief personage or Head—in this instance, of course, Christ—reclined on the middle divan. We know from the Gospel narrative that John occupied the place on His right, at that end of the divans—as we may call it—at the head of the table. But the chief place next to the Master would be that to His left, or above Him. In the strife of the disciples, which should be accounted the greatest, this had been claimed, and we believe it to have been actually occupied, by Judas. This explains how, when Christ whispered to John by what sign to recognise the traitor, none of the other disciples heard it. It also explains, how Christ would first hand to Judas the sop, which formed part of the Paschal ritual, beginning with him as the chief guest at the table, without thereby exciting special notice. Lastly, it accounts for the circumstance that, when Judas, desirous of ascertaining whether his treachery was known, dared to ask whether it was he, and received the affirmative answer, no one at the table knew what had passed.” Edersheim, Life and Times, II, p. 494.

106 “There is, we believe, ample evidence that he not only claimed, but actually obtained, the chief seat at the table next to the Lord. This, as previously explained, was not, as is generally believed, at the right, but at the left of Christ, not below, but above Him, on the couches or pillows on which they reclined.” Ibid., p. 493.

107 Significantly, Lane quotes this remark by Stauffer: “It may be that Judas, the non-Galilean, had for months been a secret agent of the Jerusalem Sanhedrin assigned to work among the Galilean’s disciples. At any rate, he regarded the capture of the man who had been proclaimed a blasphemer and pseudo-prophet (John 11:57) as his bounden duty. For he took an oath pledging himself to commit the betrayal—an oath that may well have included a curse upon himself should he fail to carry out the task he had undertaken.” Lane, Mark, p. 496, fn. 27.

108 “Denoting an intended action: intend, propose, have in mind …” Arndt and Gingrich, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1957), p. 502.

109 “The one non-Galilean, probably, was Judas Iscariot. His name has usually been interpreted, following several early Greek manuscripts, as meaning ‘man of Kerioth.’ If so, he was from either Kerioth in Moab, on the east of the Dead Sea, or, more likely, Kerioth-Hezron in the deep south of Judaea. In view of his eventual treachery, it is no wonder that the Gospels always portray him as the odd man out; but it may well be that he never really felt at home among this motley crowd of Galileans. Many motives for his volte-face have been suggested, but it is possible that a Judaean disdain for an essentially Galilean movement was among them.” R. T. France, I Came to Set the Earth on Fire (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1976), pp. 53-54.

110 “Such gifts were given to kings. Only such a gift would be a worthy expression of her deep devotion and profound love for the Master. It was customary to anoint the heads of Rabbis and special guests at marriage feasts, but Mary anointed with the most expensive perfume both the head and the feet of her Lord.” J. W. Shepard, The Christ of the Gospels (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1939), pp. 531-532.

111 “It was natural for them to think in terms of provision for the poor, for it was customary on the evening of Passover to remember the poor with gifts (M. Pesachim IX. 11; X. 1; cf. John 13:29). It was also the practice to give as charity one part of the second tithe normally spent in Jerusalem during the feast.” Lane, Mark, p. 493.

112 The actual chronology of events would seem to be: (1) the dinner party at which Jesus was anointed by Mary (John 12:2-3); (2) the triumphal entry (John 12:12f.); (3) the meeting of the Sanhedrin two days before the Passover (Matthew 26:1-5); (4) Judas’ meeting with the Jewish leaders and agreeing on the price of His betrayal (Matthew 26:14-16).

113 Morris aptly quotes Calvin: “It would be wrong for anyone to infer from this that Judas’ fall should be imputed to God rather than to himself, in that necessity was laid on him by the prophecy.” Morris, John, p. 728, fn. 43.

114 “When Judas told the armed mob that he would indicate the man whom they had come to arrest by a kiss, the word he uses is the Greek word philein which is the normal word for a kiss; but when it is said that Judas actually did kiss Jesus, the word that is used is kataphilein, which is the word for a lover’s kiss, and which means to kiss repeatedly, passionately, fervently.” William Barclay, Matthew, II, p. 370.

115 “Ordinarily it was considered immodest for a woman to wear her hair loose, this fact giving rise to the supposition by some that Mary of Bethany was rescued by Jesus from a life of shame early in His ministry. This act, however, does not brand Mary as a woman of loose character, nor does it identify her with Mary of Magdala, the woman from whom Jesus cast out seven devils. In Mary’s complete devotion, she threw all mere custom to the winds, in a love of absolute abandon.” Shepard, The Christ of the Gospels, p. 531.

Related Topics: Christology, Satanology