For an introduction to this series, click here.
Feb. 3, 2007
This chapter tells the beginning of the Crucifixion. The religious leaders were determined to get Him. Like we said earlier, the Triumphal Entry was the last straw. Jesus had put on a show that He was the Messiah, and there were enough people in Jerusalem for the Passover who believed in Him to upset their little kingdom. The religious leaders, especially the Sadducees, had a nice little fiefdom that they were going to protect at all costs. In exchange for their cooperation, the Romans allowed the Jews to have their own religious court, the Sanhedrin, and some limited governmental control. As far as the Romans were concerned, it was a small price to pay for Jewish cooperation, who were a notoriously bothersome people to try to rule. Of course all this happened according to God's plan: "It was the will of the Lord to crush him." (Isaiah 53:10) God was in complete control of the situation.
Like I said with Matthew, there really isn't a whole lot new that can be said about the Crucifixion, even if it is the most important event in history. There is a strange passage only included in Mark: "And a young man followed him, with nothing but a linen cloth about his body. And they seized him, but he left the linen cloth and ran away naked." (14:51-52, ESV) The best explanation I have heard of this passage, interjected immediately after Jesus was arrested and the disciples were scattered, is that this young man is Mark himself. There are many who think the Last Supper was held in Mark's mother's house. It is possible that the soldiers came to the house first, and young Mark may have ran out to try to warn them, but he was too late. It's just a theory, but it's the most reasonable explanation of a bizarre passage.
One thing I need to say here, in case I forget it in the future. There is one overarching question that needs to be answered: Why did Judas betray Jesus? Besides the obvious, that it was God's will and that he was destined to do so - the son of perdition - what would cause a man to follow Jesus for three years and then turn Him over to the authorities? I think that in his mind Judas truly believed in Jesus, and he was trying to force Jesus' hand. Judas was frustrated with all this talk about humility and sacrifice. Jesus was the Messiah! What better way to bring in the kingdom than to put Jesus' life on the line? Judas may have thought (I admit this is a theory, but there are other commentators who hold this view) that when Jesus' destiny as king was threatened, He would then be forced to extricate Himself by some sort of miracle. With Jerusalem full of Jews anxious for something to happen, they would see Jesus' victory over the Roman garrison and would flock to Him again. This theory partially explains why Judas killed himself after Jesus allowed Himself to be killed. If Judas was acting out of pure greed, he would not have been disappointed when Jesus was killed. He wouldn't have cared what happened to Jesus. But when He was killed, Judas realized that his plan had failed, and so he killed himself.