Then Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve, went to the chief priests to betray Him to them. And when they heard it, they were glad, and promised to give him money. So he sought how he might conveniently betray Him. (Mark 14:10-11)
Two Different Minds
The betrayal of Jesus is the most despicable treachery in the history of man and yet the most ironic event involving two parallel but different purposes. Everything about the arrest, trial, and conviction of Jesus is established in prophetic literature through the divine plan of the Father before time began. Jesus knew His hour had come to die. On Thursday night, He partook of His final Passover with the twelve in an upper room somewhere in Jerusalem. Judas is identified as a betrayer during the supper and then leaves the company. He returns to the chief priests to begin his plan to betray his teacher. Jesus and the eleven left the upper room for the Garden of Gethsemane, where Judas brought the mob to arrest Jesus. After a grueling night of mock trials, Jesus is convicted and sentenced to death. Somewhere around three in the afternoon on Friday, Jesus dies.
Before the events of His arrest, an ironic twist of human nature converges in the minds of the Jewish priests and the disciple of Jesus. The Jewish leaders desired a way to get rid of Jesus. He has troubled them for nearly three years, and every attempt to silence Him or discredit Him has ended in disaster. They are desperate. Their plan is no longer to find a way to diminish His followers through intimidation; they want Jesus dead. The problem they face is securing the right time to arrest Jesus without the people raising an insurrection to defend Jesus.
Word came to Judas the chief priests wanted to arrest Jesus and needed someone to betray Him. He looked at the request of the leaders as a chance to make some pocket change and went to the chief priests to betray Jesus to them. It must have surprised the leaders of one of Jesus’ own disciples; part of the inner circle would be the betrayer. Their reaction to the agreement with Judas was delightful. Finally, they had someone that could take them to Jesus and help them arrest Him for trial. When Judas told them he would betray Jesus, they were glad and promised to give him some money. They knew what their evil plan was going to be. If possible, they hoped to create enough doubt with men making false charges; they could make a case to the Romans to have Jesus killed. This made them happy.
Jewish chief priests are the cream of the crop leaders among the people of God who are to be instructed in the Law of Moses. They are to be the students of the law of God. How could these chief priests be delighted at the prospect of having Jesus killed? They did not want to silence Jesus; they wanted Him dead. They did not intend to mitigate His ministry; the chief priest wanted to murder an innocent man. When they heard Judas would betray Jesus, they were glad and promised to give him money.
When the chief priest agreed to pay Judas to betray his Lord, Judas turned his attention to the opportunity to betray Jesus. Thinking of the money he would receive for the betrayal; Judas began to look for times that would fit the plan of the chief priests. He no longer paid close attention to what Jesus said or did. His focus was finding a convenient time to set Jesus up to be betrayed. No one knew where Jesus would have the Passover with His disciples. The Lord tells Peter and John to find a man carrying a pitcher of water. There was an upper room prepared, and that is where the Lord took the twelve.
After Jesus identifies Judas as the betrayer, Judas realizes the opportunity to fulfill his plan is at hand. He leaves the gathering and goes to the chief priests, telling them the time has come and Jesus is easy prey to arrest. It is possible that Judas and the crowd first go to the upper room. Finding no one there, Judas knows precisely where to find Jesus. There is a place in the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus often went to pray. Judas takes the mob there, and Jesus is arrested. Then the story takes a divergent turn between the chief priests and Judas.
The chief priests are glad Judas will betray Jesus and gladly offer him money. Judas is paid thirty pieces of silver when he tells them where to find Jesus. With great satisfaction, the chief priests gather the temple captains, elders, scribes, and a great multitude with swords and clubs and make their way to Gethsemane. Judas identifies Jesus with a kiss, and they arrest Jesus. Dragging Jesus before Annas first (father-in-law of Caiaphas who was high priest that year) and then the Sanhedrin, the Jews successfully solicit the help of Pilate to adjudicate final judgment. Jesus is taken to Herod briefly, but His condemnation comes by the hand of Pilate. The Jewish leaders are still delighted. Jesus is led out of the city and crucified. He dies on the cross. The chief priests return home satisfied and glad.
Judas had sought an opportunity to betray Jesus, and he found the convenient time. What he found in himself was the opportunity Satan had led him to betray a man he loved and admired. Devasted by his actions, Judas threw the money at the Jewish leaders and went and hanged himself. What he thought was a moment in time to have a little money by betraying his Lord became a nightmare of guilt and remorse. The delight of the chief priests did not last either. Jesus died on Friday, and Saturday was a high Sabbath. And then Sunday came.