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Mark 14:17-21 ‘The Prophecy of Betrayal’ at The Last Supper

by Dr. D ~ November 12th, 2006

     Vs. 17-19   The Passover meal was in progress when Jesus proclaimed that one of his closest twelve, who were right there eating with him, would actually end up betraying him.  Each one reacted to the question, whether they might be the one (“is it I?”), only Judas and Jesus really knew the truth.  The rest of the disciples must have been thinking that the betrayal would be in the distant future, since none of them were involved in a plot at the time.  All were saddened by the prospect.  

     Vs. 20  The custom of eating Passover together was reserved for ones family or closest friends.  The symbol of ‘dipping bread’ in a common bowl was a demonstration of the closest possible friendship and allegiance.  That one of them (the closest of friends and companions) would actually betray Jesus was unthinkable in their culture, and a despicable act of the highest order.  They would have questioned the possibility-surely it can’t be one of us.  Jesus drives the horror home when he says: “It is one of the twelve, one who is dipping bread into the dish with me.” 

     Vs. 21a  Jesus continues with the phrase in verse 21 :  “For the Son of Man goes as it is written of him, “  Jesus is probably referring to Isaiah 53, the ‘suffering servant’ passage:

     “He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth.” 

     Vs. 21b  “But woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed!  It would be better for that man if he had not been born.”

One wonders what Judas was thinking when he heard this proclamation of Jesus.  According to Jesus, Judas is culpable for his act of betrayal.  The sacrifice of Jesus is the fulfillment of the plan of salvation, designed and ordained by The Father.  The betrayal and death of Jesus was truly inspired by the devil.  Yet, Judas remains responsible for his own actions. 

Many have speculated and many have wondered, if it was possible for Judas to repent and be restored again like Peter was.  Yet the query is left moot, since Judas did not repent but killed himself.  Therefore, the full condemnation was deservedly his. 


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