Gospel text 14:43-52
Judas arrived with a crowd armed with swords and clubs to arrest Jesus. Judas had given the crowd a sign – he would kiss Jesus. There was a struggle with one of the disciples cutting off the ear of the High Priest’s servant with a sword. Jesus questioned why they had brought a crowd with weapons as if he was an outlaw. He made the point that each day he had been in the Temple teaching and they had no arrested him. The disciples left him and ran away.
Explain the meaning and significance of the betrayal and arrest of Jesus.
· The group was sent by Jewish leaders to get Jesus however they could not kill him or harm Jesus without the permission of the Roman soldiers. The arrest took place in the middle of the night when no one was around. The chief priests were afraid of what would happen if they arrested him when many people were around.
· In this story Judas comes with a crowd armed with swords and clubs, which shows they were worried that Jesus and his followers might resist arrest. This could also show that they thought as Jesus as the Messiah as they expected him to come with a lot of power. At no point did Jesus hide, run away or fight back.
- ‘ Judas one of the twelve disciples arrived’ – As Jesus predicted one of the twelve would betray him. He kissed Jesus, normally a sign of love and respect. A sign of affection is used to betray a close friend. Jesus particularly chose Judas, loved him, nurtured him and provided for him. Judas is using an intimate action to commit the most grave sin – betrayal of Jesus
- This story shows Christians that Jesus’ life continued to fulfil the Old Testament prophecies. ‘But the Scriptures must be fulfilled.’
- Notice the final failure of the disciples – they ran away as Jesus had predicted – “the sheep will be scattered”. This should encourage Christians when they find things hard.
Explain why there are different attitudes to Judas among Christians today.
· Most Christians also consider Judas as a traitor.
· Because of this Christians believe there are many reasons for why Judas may have done this:
o Maybe Judas had been arrested at any earlier fracas and in return for freedom he handed over Jesus.
o Did he think that the arrest of Jesus would lead to an uprising against Roman rule? There is a suggestion that Judas was a Zealot and had placed great hope in Jesus that he would be the one to overthrow the Roman rule, and was then disappointed and felt let down when Jesus’ messages was one of peace and he failed to overthrow the Romans.
o Judas’ motivation in betraying Jesus to the Romans was to help him. As a close friend Judas was helping Jesus fulfil his destiny to die on the cross. Judas understood his vital, and sad, role in the life of Jesus and he was fulfilling God’s plan for him.
o God created Judas with no free will and he had no option but to do God’s work for him.
o Some say that Satan (the devil) entered Judas to make him betray Jesus. This is suggested in both Luke and John’s gospels.
If Jesus knew that one was going to betray him (as he said in the Last Supper) then why did he not try to stop Judas? If this is the case then maybe Judas existed to set an example of fulfil a prophecy.
Think about….possible opinion questions (b and d) - Do you think Judas was evil? (question b)
o He was a disciple who had promised to follow Jesus.
o His actions led to a good man being condemned to death.
o His betrayal of Jesus was motivated by greed.
o Betrayal is a terrible thing to do to a friend.
o He was helping God’s plan to be fulfilled.
o His intention was to force Jesus to reveal he was the Messiah.
o Without Jesus being betrayed, he would not have died and the resurrection could not have happened.