Rabbi, Rabbi
Based on Series of Sermons on the Repetition of Name and Titles
Preached in PCC Worship Service, 1 January 2017
Part 1 of 3

In our ongoing study of those passages in the Bible where a person’s name or title is repeated, we arrive at Mark 14:45, where we read about someone saying to Jesus, “Master, master” or literally “Rabbi, rabbi.”

In Luke 7, we find the account of the penitent woman who went to the house of Simon the Pharisee to anoint the Lord with precious ointment. She was a great sinner who had experienced a great forgiveness from Him and she wanted to demonstrate her great love and gratitude to Him. We are told that she washed His feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair and kissed His feet and anointed them with the ointment. 

In our text here in Mark 14, we see another person who kissed the Lord Jesus but in a very different way and out of a very different motive. The penitent woman kissed the Lord’s feet while this person kissed His face. The penitent woman kissed Him out of a deep love for Him. This person kissed Him out of a deep hatred for Him and for the purpose of betraying Him to His death.

I’ve divided our text in Mark 14 into three parts. First, from verses 1-2 and 10-11, we have the plot to kill Jesus. Then from verses 17-21 and 27-31, we have the prediction of betrayal, desertion and denial. And finally, from verses 43-52, we have the actual betrayal, arrest and desertion.

The Plot to Kill Jesus
(vv. 1-2, 10-11)

The chapter opens with these words, “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.”

For some time now, the opponents of Jesus had been seeking to get rid of Him because of their intense hatred and jealousy of Him. As early as chapter 3 verse 6 of Mark’s gospel, we read, “And the Pharisees went forth, and straightway took counsel with the Herodians against him, how they might destroy him.”

But now, the time had arrived for them to actually put their wicked plans and intentions towards Him into action. The reference in verse 1 to the Passover as being two days away means that this plotting took place on Wednesday, two days before the actual crucifixion.

The chief priests and scribes were looking for some sly or crafty way to arrest Jesus and to put Him to death. Their original plan was to have Him arrested and executed after the feast of the unleavened bread. The reason was that they were afraid that the large crowd which had gathered at Jerusalem for the feast, and which included many Galileans, might rise up in support of Jesus and ruin their plans.

So “not during the feast” was their original plan. But the sovereign God had decreed otherwise. It was precisely during the feast that His Son should be betrayed and arrested and killed because He is the true Passover lamb.

The Psalmist writes in Psalm 33:10-11, “The LORD bringeth the counsel of the heathen to nought: he maketh the devices of the people of none effect. The counsel of the LORD standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations.” What a wonderful reminder that the LORD is in sovereign control over all the affairs of men! The exact timing of Christ’s death had been determined and no amount of plotting and planning by man could change that.

Next, we read in verses 10-11 of Mark 14, “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.”

The word “glad” in verse 11 can be translated “delighted” or “full of joy.” It is used to describe the great joy of the shepherd who had found his one lost sheep and it is used of the joy and delight of Zacchaeus when the Lord told him that He must stay at his house that day. The chief priests were delighted and filled with joy when Judas Iscariot suddenly showed up at their office that day offering to help them in their plot against Jesus.

From their perspective, this unexpected arrival of one of the twelve disciples of Jesus to betray his master was truly God-sent! Their prayers had been answered! What more could they ask for! Surely it was the will of God that this Jesus of Nazareth be put to death for His horrible blasphemies and blatant transgressions of the Jewish traditions.

They were wrong of course. Yes, it was God’s will that Jesus should be betrayed and put to death, but not for the reasons they imagined. He was totally innocent and did not deserve to die whereas they were the guilty ones who deserved eternal destruction.   

Judas offered to betray Jesus to them, and the chief priests gladly took up his offer and promised to give him money as a reward for his labours. Mark does not record the amount, but we know from Matthew’s gospel that they offered him thirty pieces of silver, which is equivalent to about four months’ wages.

That is not a very large sum of money but Judas Iscariot nevertheless agreed to it. Why was Judas willing to betray Jesus for such a merger sum? Why not try to negotiate for a higher price? Well, the fact of the matter is that the Lord Jesus had become practically worthless and useless to him. He did not value the Lord at all by this time, and if he could somehow make some money by betraying him, even if it is not a very large sum, then why not? Any amount would be a bonus.

It’s a bit like that pile of old newspapers or old clothing in the corner of your home. When the rag-and-bone man comes by your door asking for these unwanted items, you gladly hand them to him and any money that he gives you in exchange for them, you accept it. After all, you have no use for them anyway.

But this is how low Judas Iscariot had fallen and how far away from Jesus he had gone. It is as if he said, “You want to give me 30 pieces of silver in exchange for betraying Jesus? Sure, I’ll take it. I won’t ask for more.”

So the chief priests weighed out the money and handed it to him, and he left. With the money in his possession, Judas watched carefully for an opportunity to hand Him over. He didn’t have to wait very long.

…to be continued, next Issue

—Linus Chua