Mark 14:43-52

Now it begins.  “The hour has come.” (Mark 14:41)  When Jesus rose with dusty knees from the ground in that olive grove and returned to the disciples, He was resolved to do the will of the Father.  And the time had come.

When the crowd approached them through the trees, He knew what was happening.  And when Judas stepped forward “at once,” He was not suprised (Mark 14:45).

In his commentary on Mark, Robert H. Stein writes, “The kiss of Judas must be understood in view of the darkness of Gethsemane.  Even if there were a bright moon, among the olive trees in the garden, recognizing Jesus would have been difficult.  If the night were cloudy, the difficulty would have been exacerbated.”  (671).

Judas knew Jesus so well.  He knew His profile.  He knew His voice.  He alone out of all who came “armed with swords and clubs” knew which man in the dark was Jesus (Mark 14:43). 

For three years, he had walked dusty roads with Him, observing and participating in Jesus’ ministry.  He ate with Jesus.  He laughed with Jesus.  Just hours before, Jesus had knelt before him and washed his feet (John 13:5).

And then Judas betrayed Him with a kiss for thirty pieces of silver.

He took Jesus’ fellowship and threw it back in His face, not realizing Jesus alone held the power to force Himself to submit to the authorities. 

Judas had instructed those with him to “arrest [Jesus] and lead him away under guard.” (Mark 14:44)  Literally, his words meant “to take hold of,” meaning “to have power over, rule over” (NT Lexical Aids).

I lay down my life – only to take it up again.  No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord.  I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. (John 10:17b-18)

Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to.  Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being.  When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.  (Philippians 2:6-8, NLT)

Judas didn’t get it.  Neither did the chief priests, teachers of the law, and the elders. 

Their cowardice brought them to an olive grove in the dark of night, armed with weapons and deceit, thinking they would need to force Jesus into submission.

But this was why He came.

And it had to be this way.

Betrayal followed by desertion (Mark 14:50). 

He alone would make the journey to the cross. 

He alone could.