These small group studies of the gospel of Mark contain outlines, cross-references, Bible study discussion questions, and applications. Visit our library of inductive Bible studies for more in depth inductive studies on this and other books of the Bible you can use in your small group.
Mark 14:1-22 Inductive Bible Study
I. Judas offers to betray Jesus (10-11)
II. The disciples prepare the Passover (12-16)
III. Jesus prophecies His betrayal (17-21)
I. Verses 10-11
What might have motivated Judas to betray Jesus?
Why might he have followed Jesus at the beginning?
Why did the chief priests need Judas? What was his job?
1. Judas was clearly not a genuine believer. The Bible doesn’t tell us the reasons or even how Judas came to start following Jesus. Perhaps Judas was something like Simon in the book of Acts (Acts 8:9-25). Simon saw that there was real power in this movement. He wanted to use this power for material gain. He was motivated by fleshly desires. Perhaps Judas hoped to have a high position in Jesus’ kingdom and therefore get rich. Perhaps he hoped to gain the ability to do miracles so that he could charge for them. We don’t know the reasons, but we do know that Judas was a greedy person. In John 12:4-7, we see that Judas is motivated by a desire for money in suggesting that the perfume be sold because he used to steal from the money box. And in this passage we see that the priests promise Judas money (in Matthew 27:3, we see he got thirty pieces of silver for it.)
How much was the silver worth?
It is hard to calculate the exact value because we don’t know exactly what the piece of silver represented. Scholars who have attempted to calculate it believe it ranges between one half year wages to the price of a slave. It was a significant amount, but nothing that would make Judas wealthy. The silver was later used to buy a field.
Why did the priests need Judas to betray Jesus?
In Mark 14:1-2 we see that they wanted to capture Jesus be stealth. They wanted to do it in a private place away from the eyes of a public that adored Jesus. But in that day there were no spy satellites, GPS tracking, or CCTV systems. If Jesus wasn’t in a public place, then they themselves did not know where he was. That is why they needed Judas. As one of his disciples, he knew Jesus’ schedule and itinerary. He could tell the priests when an opportune time presented itself. And that is exactly what he did after the Lord’s Supper when Jesus went to the Garden of Gethsemane.
What Lessons can we learn from Judas?
1. The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil (1 Timothy 6:10) –While Satan may get the nod for worst sinner of all of God’s creation, Judas may get the nod for worst sinning human. He masqueraded as Jesus’ friend. He followed Jesus for three years, serving with Him, eating with Him, traveling with Him, talking with Him, listening to Him teach. As one of the disciples he went and preached the gospel. He was an eye-witness of Jesus’ miracles seeing the blind see, the lame walk, and the dead raised to life. He saw more miracles than the commoner and heard much more of Jesus’ teachings. And yet, finally he betrayed Jesus. This could be considered far worse than what the priests did. They never pretended to follow Jesus and always claimed to be serving God. Judas had no such excuse (for an excuse it was). What could possibly motivate Judas to sell out Jesus to death? Some have speculated that it was a desire to somehow force Jesus into action to declare Himself and wipe out the Romans. While it cannot be completely ruled out, the Bible does not say that nor give any hint of that. The Bible does say that he agreed to do it for money. It is therefore reasonable to say that he did it for the love of money.
Application: Loving money can cause even the worst betrayal in the history of the world. If it can cause that, how many more sins can it cause? Do not allow yourself to go down the road of loving money. We should follow Mary’s example in the first part of this chapter. She gave the very best she had to Christ even though it cost a lot.
2. Not everyone who looks like a sheep is a sheep – To most people, Judas looked like a faithful disciple. He seemed spiritual and committed. He had also given up things to follow Jesus. But he was not a faithful disciple. His heart had not been regenerated. He had ulterior motives. Do you sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts? (1 Peter 3:15) Do not just talk the talk. Continuously evaluate your own heart and motives so that they are pure before the Lord.
II. Verses 12-16
What is the Passover lamb?
Why is it significant that Jesus died during this festival?
What did the disciples do in this passage? What can we learn about their role in Jesus’ ministry?
What do we learn about Jesus from this passage? How about the disciples?
1. Jesus would die during the Passover Festival – This was not a coincidence. Just as the blood of the original Passover lambs meant that God would not judge His people, Jesus is the once and for all Passover lamb. Those who believe in Him will also not be judged.
2. The disciples took initiative to ask what they could do to help prepare – We have seen throughout the book of Mark that the disciples were quite involved in Jesus’ ministry. They did not just sit and watch, but helped in many ways. Here we see that they took care of a lot of physical errands (much like the original deacons in Acts), so that Jesus could have more time and energy to focus on the spiritual plane. Instead of waiting for Jesus to tell them what to do, they came to Jesus and asked what they could do. We would do well to learn from their volunteer spirit. Try to be observant to consider what you can do to help others in a variety of situations. Instead of waiting for others to help, jump in and do what needs to be done.
3. Jesus demonstrates His deity again – Jesus told them what was going to happen with surprising detail. Unless this happened by God’s sovereign power, it could not have happened. If I was the guy carrying the pitcher of water, I would have kept looking over my shoulder at the two strong men from out of town who were following me. After taking a couple of turns, I would glance back and they were still there. My first thought would be that they were thieves trying to rob me. After all, there would be many kinds of people roaming about Jerusalem during the festival. Probably long before I got home I would have broken into a run to get away from the stalkers. But this guy didn’t do that. He led them back and the owner of the house graciously agreed to let them use it. Rooms like this in Jerusalem would have been in high demand with the tens or hundreds of thousands of Jews flowing into the city from the whole region. Why does this guy let the disciples follow him back? Why does this owner so readily agree to let them use it (and apparently for free)?
4. The disciples were obedient – By this point it seems that they had mostly learned to obey Jesus without question. Jesus’ story is a bit hard to believe from a human standpoint, but Jesus had done plenty more much more difficult miracles. This is what Christ expects of us, to trust and obey. Most of the Christian life can be boiled down to this. Do you trust and obey Christ no matter what?
III. Verses 17-21
Why were they reclining at the table? What does this tell us about the environment there?
How did Jesus know Judas would betray Him? A more difficult question, why did He allow Judas to follow Him since He knew this would happen from the beginning?
How did the disciples react?
Who did Jesus say it was?
What did Jesus say about the betrayer? Why didn’t Judas take this warning to heart and repent right away?
Matthew 26:25 – Judas also said, “surely it is not I.” Jesus said, “You have said it yourself.”
Luke 22:3 – Satan entered Judas.
John 13:26-30 – Satan enters Judas and Jesus tells him to do it quickly.
Psalms 41:9 – Even my close friend who ate my bread has lifted up his heel against me.
Zechariah 11:12 – Thirty pieces of silver.
1. This is a somewhat cryptic passage. Eleven of the disciples do not know what is going on. They proclaim their innocence of this plot to betray Jesus. Not only did never enter into any such plot, it was shocking to them that any of their number could stoop so low as to do something like this. Jesus is basically having a private conversation with Judas, which no one else in the room clearly understands.
2. Jesus knows who is going to betray him – The main point seems to be to show us that Jesus knew about this betrayal. It did not catch him by surprise. In fact, he had known all along. What do we learn about Jesus from this? We learn that Jesus is omniscient. It is yet another reminder that Jesus allowed Himself to be caught and killed. He could have prevented it if He wanted to, but He did not want to. We also learn about Jesus’ great patience and even self-control. Somehow He let Judas take part in all of the activities of this inner circle for years. There is no record that He rebuked Judas before this event or confronted him about his motivations. Perhaps partly it is due to His mercy in exposing Judas to more teaching and giving him more opportunities to repent. Even more importantly, this was part of God’s sovereign plan (21).
What do we learn about the will of God?
The story of Judas is a fascinating study in the will of God. Was he following God’s will to betray Jesus? No… and Yes. Judas was specifically breaking many of Jesus’ teachings. He had ignored what Jesus had taught him even as recently as Mark 14:6-7. Judas was intentionally breaking the revealed will of God. And yet in the process of breaking this revealed will, he was somehow fulfilling an integral part of God’s ultimate, sovereign, end-plan will. Was Judas doing what was right since this was part of God’s ultimate plan and used to bring about Christ’s sacrifice for the sins of the world? No. But somehow God used his own sinful choice, made completely on his own (James 1:13-17) to bring about His own plan. This is something that I will never understand this side of heaven, and maybe not even then. It shows us just how amazing and transcendent and incomprehensible God is.
3. Jesus warns Judas – Judas did not decide to betray Jesus in ignorance. Jesus made sure of that. He made it clear that this would be the worst and most devastatingly catastrophic decision he could make. And yet Judas does it. He gives up his very soul, and for what? Thirty pieces of silver which he later threw back at them because of his guilt.
Application: It is easy to look at Judas and think about what a foolish decision this was. But what about us? Every time we sin, we do the same thing. Whenever we choose to satisfy our flesh, our lust, or our greed we despise the commandments of God in return for short-term pleasure that we ourselves will despise as the guilt of our sin overcomes us. Do not make the same mistake Judas did. Do not knowingly reject any commands of God for short-term gratification.