The Betrayers – Gospel in Life

The Betrayers

Tim Keller |  January 28, 2007

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  • Sin
Mark 14:12-21, 27-28
RS 191-15


In Mark 14, Jesus predicts his betrayal by one disciple, and he predicts the defection and the failure of all the disciples. So what are we supposed to learn from this?

Even though it will be relevant to everybody, this passage is particularly meant for people who think they are Jesus’ friends, people who think they’re pretty close to him, people who feel they’re really following him, people who even would consider themselves the leaders of the Christian movement.

This passage teaches us about 1) the breadth of sin, 2) the depth of sin, and 3) how to overcome it.

Mark 14:12–21; 27–28

In these verses, Jesus predicts that one of his followers will betray him and all of them will fail him, even those who see themselves as his closest followers. From this, we can learn about the wide reach of sin, how deeply it affects us, and how we can overcome it. This is especially important for those who consider themselves friends of Jesus and try to live by his teachings.

1. The width of sin

Sin extends to every person, even the disciples of Jesus. This is evident in how the Last Supper happened between the betrayal and desertion of Jesus. As Solzhenitsyn said, the line separating good and evil goes through every human heart. If we understand this and understand the power of God’s grace, we can forgive people and see groups of people we might otherwise view as evil in a more human light.

2. The depth of sin

It’s important for us Christians to understand why we follow Jesus. Are we doing it for selfish reasons or out of true love for Him? The story of Job shows us what it means to remain faithful even when things are tough. Religion and the gospel teach us about the importance of receiving grace and making sacrifices. The act of Mary anointing Jesus’ feet shows the difference between using something and truly valuing it.

3. How to overcome it

When Jesus said, “One of you will betray me,” he was being fair but also kind. He was warning Judas without directly accusing him, giving him a chance to change. This balance of kindness and fairness, grace and justice, can change us. Just like in the story of the woman caught in adultery, Jesus acknowledged the sin but took the punishment himself. This amazing mercy, made possible by Jesus’ sacrifice, is available to everyone and calls us to be thankful and surrender ourselves to Him.



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