Devotion and Betrayal

June 9, 2024 Download: Audio

Mark 14:1-21

With chapter 14 the plot to kill Jesus takes an ominous step forward and his final hours are described in great detail. It’s as if Mark has been rushing us to this moment with his familiar phrase, “and immediately…” until this moment that all of redemptive history has been preparing for, when Jesus would be put to death.

It is set in motion with the plotting of the scribes and chief priests.

It was now two days before the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. And the chief priests and the scribes were seeking how to arrest him by stealth and kill him, for they said, “Not during the feast, lest there be an uproar from the people.” (Mark 14:1–2)

In the meantime, Jesus and those close to him have their own preparation to do and that is what we see happening in this passage. In particular, we find two actions set in stark contrast to one another, one from a woman who interrupts a meal, and the other a disciple who sought an opportunity to betray Jesus. It’s such a stark contrast we can’t help but consider the actions and reflect upon the relationship each had with Jesus. And at the end of the day, it invites you consider your own relationship with Jesus. What does yours look like?

As we explore these two people, one important difference stands out, and that is the value Jesus has to them. Jesus taught about the value of the kingdom of God with parables. The first that brings this out is Matthew 13:44.

“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. (Matthew 13:44)

Another parable is found in Mark 10:17-21

17 And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 18 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. 19 You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.’ ” 20 And he said to him, “Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth.” 21 And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” (Mark 10:17–21)

Why did he need to sell all that he had? It wasn’t that this would earn his way. It was to show his devotion to Jesus. That’s what it means to have eternal life. It means to be fully devoted to Jesus.

The woman in our passage was devoted to Jesus. Judas used Jesus. Which are you? What should our devotion look like?