Lesson 104: Judas Iscariot Attended a Council Meeting
Matt 26:1-16, Mark 14:1-11, Luke 22:3-6
A Blending of The Four Gospel Records. Welcome again. This is lesson # 104. O.K. get your time perspective again. After leaving the temple sometime on Tuesday afternoon; Jesus sat with four apostles, Peter, James, John and Andrew over on the side of Mt. Olivet facing the temple across the Kidron valley. They privately asked Jesus about some of the things he had said that day, i.e. Tuesday, about the temple going to be destroyed. We've now spent about six lessons on four chapters that records part of that conversation between Jesus and the four apostles, which we called Jesus' Mt. Olivet discourse. We gain great insight from that account. But, that conversation on Mt. Olivet must have come to an end somewhere near sunset. If it was before sunset, it was still Tuesday. If it was after sunset, it was Wednesday; according to the way the Jews reckoned time. It was probably while Jesus was on his way from Jerusalem to Bethany that the Sanhedrin council met for a special session. Let's begin our reading in Matt. ch. 26 and the first 5 verses. Please tune that in! Beginning in Matt. 26:1. Are you ready? Let's read. "And it came to pass, when Jesus had finished all these saying, he said unto his disciples, Ye know that after two days is the feast of the passover, and the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified. Then assembled together the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders of the people, unto the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas, and consulted that they might take Jesus by subtlety, and kill him. But they said, Not on the feast day, lest there be an uproar among the people."
Before we discuss this, let's tie on a couple verses from Mark's account. Mark 14:1-2. This is the same occasion. Let's read! Mark 14:1 beginning. "After two days was the feast of the passover, and of unleavened bread: and the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might take him by craft, and put him to death. But they said, Not on the feast day, lest there be an uproar of the people." Now, let's move along to Luke! We're going to read Luke 22:1-6. We read the first two verses in Luke ch. 22 before; but, for continuity here, we'll re-read v.1-2 and then read v.3-6. Are you ready? Beginning in Luke:22:1, let's read. "Now the feast of unleavened bread drew nigh, which is called the passover. And the chief priests and scribes sought how they might kill him; for they feared the people. Then entered Satan into Judas surnamed Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve. And he went his way, and communed with the chief priests and captains, how he might betray him unto them. And they were glad, and covenanted to give him money. And he promised, and sought opportunity to betray him unto them in the absence of the multitude."
O.K., let's go back and rehash that much. Flip back to Matthew! "When Jesus had finished all these things..." (v. 1), has reference to the Mt. Olivet discourse. Jesus said, "Ye know that after two days is the feast of the passover..." The two days intervening were Wednesday and Thursday. The passover feast was on a Friday that year. Thus, Jesus SAID THIS while it was still Tuesday, i.e. before sundown. You might notice that Matthew called it the feast of the passover; while Mark and Luke called it the feast of unleavened bread. In Matt. 26:2, Jesus said in that conversation, "the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified." So, apparently Judas was meeting with the Jewish leaders at or near that very moment. Luke said in 22:2, "the chief priests and scribes sought how they might kill him; [i.e. Jesus] for they feared the people." You see, the council had already acted back in John 11:53 in that the decision was made to kill Jesus. But, how to carry out their plot, without upsetting the people, was their big obstacle at that moment. In.the back of their mind was all the people who had rallied to Jesus on Sunday, three days before, as he came over the hill of Mt. Olivet on that colt. You see, they sensed that there were probably thousands in the city at that time who would not hesitate to take up arms in a noisy public arrest of Jesus, i.e. "they feared the people", Luke said. But, Judas helped to solve their problem. Judas simply gave them the opportunity they were looking for. V.4 in Luke said, Judas "went his way, and communed with the chief priests and captains, how he might betray him unto them." I would infer from this that Judas talked privately at first to some of the leaders of the Sanhedrin. Then some of these leaders took Judas to a formal meeting of the council and explained that Judas was waiting to cooperate with them for a fee. V.5 in Luke said, "they were glad", i.e. the Jewish leaders were glad. By working with an insider like Judas, they could more easily carry out their plot without upsetting the people. Matthew said, "the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders of the people" assembled in the palace of the high priest. Caiaphas, mentioned here, was the high priest and thus the chairman of the council. He's the one that proposed the idea of killing Jesus to the council, back in John 11:50. When you see these three categories mentioned together, i.e. chief priests, scribes and elders; it is usually synonymous with saying the Sanhedrin council. In other words, Matthew is saying the Jewish council formally met. Probably by a quick call for a special meeting. V.4 in Matthew says, the council "consulted that they might take Jesus by subtlety, and kill him." In other words, the question was: how were they going to carry out their plot? But, one of their conclusions was (v.5), "Not on the feast day, lest there be an uproar among the people." But, when they found out that Judas' was willing to cooperate for a fee, "they were glad, and covenanted to give him money. And he promised, and sought opportunity to betray him unto them in the absence of the multitude." In other words, Judas met with the council and bargained with them and agreed to help them carry out the arrest of Jesus in a private way. Now, you must keep in mind at this point, it is not totally clear what they told Judas. Did Judas know that they planned to kill Jesus; or did Judas think they were merely going to arrest Jesus in an attempt to silence him and cut back on his activity and his popularity with the people? The point is that Judas may not have been exposed to all that council meeting, we don't know. Obviously, Judas was willing to do a criminal act against Jesus for money. But, exactly what Judas' understanding was, is not exactly clear to me.
Now, it's interesting at this point; that, Matthew and Mark include here the story of the supper that was held in Jesus' honor in the house of Simon the leper. I trust you remember, we read this and covered this in John 12:1-8. We mentioned the fact (at that time) that it was covered again hare in Matt. ch. 26 and in Mark ch. 14. It would appear this supper was given in Jesus' honor on Saturday night; i.e. after the sunset on Saturday night (three days before) and of course after sunset it was reckoned to be Sunday, their time. So, why do Matthew and Mark include that incident here? The point they want us to see is evidently this: it was at the supper on Saturday night that Judas got ticked off, so-to-speak. Judas thought that Mary should have sold the costly ointment and given him the money. Remember, we learned there, in John 12:6, that Judas carried the bag; i.e. he was the treasurer for the twelve. So, it would seem that Matthew and Mark doubled back at this point to tell about the incident on Saturday night, some three days before; i.e. that put Judas in a bad mood. So, let's read Matthew first. Beginning in Matt. 26:6. After we read Matthew, we'll read Mark. Are you ready? Beginning in Matt. 26:6 and we'll read down through v.13. Let's read. "Now when Jesus ^•as in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper, there came unto him a woman having an alabaster box of very precious ointment, and poured it on his head, as he sat at meat. But when his disciples saw it, they had indignation, saying, To what purpose is this waste? For this ointment might have been sold for much, and given to the poor. When Jesus understood it, he said unto them, Why trouble ye the woman? for she hath wrought a good work upon me. For ye have the poor always with you, but me ye have not always. For in that she hath poured this ointment on my body, she did it for my burial. Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, there shall also this, that this woman hath done, be told for a memorial of her." O.K., let's go for Mark. The reference is ch. 14:3-9. We'll begin in Mark 14:3. Are you ready? Let's read! "And being in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at meat, there came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard very precious; and she brake the box, and poured it on his head. And there were some that had indignation within themselves, and said, Why was this waste of the ointment made? For it might have been sold for more than three hundred pence, and have been given to the poor. And they murmured against her. And Jesus said, Let her alone; why trouble ye her? she hath wrought a good work on me. For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always. She hath done what she could: she is come aforehand to anoint my body to the burying. Verily I say unto you, wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her."
The rebuke of Jesus on this occasion apparently figured heavily into Judas' decision to betray Jesus. It may have been a sort of, I'LL GET YOU BACK jealousy and disposition that brought it en. This may have been coupled with other things that we have no knowledge of that motivated Judas to betray Jesus. We know that there were little jealousies and strifes between the apostles as to who would be the greatest in the kingdom, you'll remember. At some point in our study, I'd like to confront head on the question of: why did Judas betray Jesus? It's something you might be thinking about. But, we won't confront the question as yet. Put a couple brains cells to work on it and we'll get back to it before we finish our study. However, it would appear that this question is why Matthew and Mark included this section here and why it is out of sequence at this point. It was included here as explanation; you see. We learned in John ch. 12, that Lazarus was also a guest at that dinner. Martha served, it said. Mary the sister of Lazarus was the one who broke the alabaster box of ointment and poured it on Jesus' head. Alabaster is a form of limestone or gypsum that had been carved into a cute little container of some kind. John 12:3 described the quantity as a pound of a very costly ointment called spikenard. John said in 12:4 that Judas was the one that asked the question, "Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor?" But, Matthew says disciples (with an "s"), indicating that more than Judas were involved in that thought and concenstis; even if Judas was the only one that asked the question. Jesus asked in Matt. 26:10, "Why trouble the woman?" Mark and John quote Jesus as saying, "Let her alone." That would imply that Judas had directed his question to Mary. But, Jesus said that Mary had done a good work. In Mark 14:8 Jesus said, "She hath DONE WHAT SHE COULD: she is come aforehand to anoint my body to the burying." I suppose you've heard it said that people always give expensive flowers after a person is dead; but, never do anything for the person while they are living. That might be part of Jesus' thought here. He said that we have the poor with us always and he told the disciples "whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always." (Mark 14:7). Finally, it's interesting that Jesus memorialized this deed of Mary. He said that where ever the gospel is preached throughout the whole world that Mary's deed would be spoken of as a memorial to her. So, there is a thought here that Jesus wanted everyone to get; everyone in the whole world.
Let's read two or three more lessons from Matthew and Mark. We'll get Matthew first, Matt. 26:14-16. Three verses. Notice in Matthew and Mark, this section continues the discussion that preceded the insertion of the incident that took place in the house o*f Simon the leper. Have you got Matt. 26:14? Let's read. "Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests, and said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver. And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him." Mark covers this in ch. 14:10-11. Two verses! Let's read Mark's account, Mark 14:10 beginning. Let's read. "And Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve, went unto the chief priests, to betray him unto them. And when they heard it, they were glad, and promised to give him money. And he sought how he might conveniently betray him." So, from either Tuesday evening or Tuesday night; Judas began to develop his scheme as to "how he might conveniently betray him." It's quite clear from Matt. 26:15 that Judas made the first move. Judas approached the Jewish leaders and asked, "What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you?" As to the amount of money, it is not absolutely clear to me. That same verse in the KJV says, "they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver." And it is generally assumed that Judas agreed to do it for 30 pieces of silver. But, the ASV says in that verse, Matt. 26:15, "they weighed unto him 30 pieces of silver." In other words that translation says they actually gave him 30 pieces of silver, i.e. the money changed hands then and there, 30 pieces of silver. Which incidentally was roughly one twentieth the value of the ointment that Mary poured on Jesus' head. But, Luke 22:5, in the ASV say, "they were glad, and covenanted to give him money", it's the same as the KJV. So, that leaves the distinct possibility that the council promised Judas more money; i.e. the 30 pieces of silver were only a down payment. I would tend to think that was the case; but the text does not prove that. Where did those 30 pieces of silver come from? Obviously from the treasure of the temple. The council had approved the murder of Jesus in John 11:53; so what they approved was obviously paid for by the funds they controlled. But, follow the actual transaction of these funds. It leads to a dilemma.
Alright, it's obvious that Jesus and his disciples were headed back to Bethany on Tuesday night. Luke called it the Mount of Olives in Luke 21:37. But, Bethany was located on the Mt. of Olives. However, nothing is said about Wednesday. Nothing is recorded that took place on Wednesday. I have already brought up the question about what is recorded in the last of John ch. 12. All the commentators assign it to Tuesday at the temple; but, I told you before, I'm not totally convinced. Some of those things could have transpired on Wednesday. We've already cover that. But, with that possible exception; nothing is recorded about Wednesday, the last week of Jesus' life on the earth. Vic have no record of anything that Jesus and nine of his apostles did on Thursday until late in the evening. But, we'll pick up with the activities on Thursday in our next lesson. Until our next lesson, have a good day.