Yesterday I preached from Mark 14:43-52 in our series through the Gospel of Mark.  The text focused on the scene where Jesus was betrayed by Judas, and at the end of this section, Jesus makes a very important statement.  He says:

Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs to capture me? Day after day I was with you in the temple teaching, and you did not seize me. But let the Scriptures be fulfilled (Mark 14:48-49).

The act of betrayal is one of the most painful things a person can experience.  For a supposed friend and trusted individual to turn their backs on you is one of the most painful experiences a human could endure.  That is exactly what happened in the Garden of Gethsemane.  As this text flows and we see the outworking of Judas’ betrayal, we must likewise pay close attention to the words of Jesus.  As Jesus pointed out the providence of God in the statement, “let the Scriptures be fulfilled,” we must not view this whole scene as an accident.

The Depraved Plan

Make no mistake, the plan of Judas was saturated in human depravity.  The sin of Judas is nowhere excused in Scripture.  This scene puts on display the free choice of sinful Judas as he was bound by his depraved heart and inclined to do evil.  In his flesh, he enjoyed money.  In fact, as the trusted treasurer of the disciples, Judas had been stealing money from them all along (see John 12:6).  He was not interested in caring for the poor and doing the work of ministry as much as he was interested in carrying out the decadent plans of his sinful heart.  Judas was controlled by his love for money, and for a 30 pieces of silver, Judas betrayed Jesus with a kiss.  For Judas, he was willing to trade eternal salvation for 30 pieces of temporal silver.  What is salvation worth for you (See Matthew 6:24; 1 Timothy 6:10)?

The Providence of God

While all of this was taking place in the Garden of Gethsemane, God the Father was not scrambling around in the throne room of Heaven trying to get up-to-date information from Google, CNN, and Fox News in order to respond accordingly.  While the Son of God was being sold off to evil murderers by Judas, God the Father was ruling over each footstep and each sinful beat of their hearts at the same time.

We must never approach such tragedies through the lens of mere horrible accidents that are beyond the control of God.  Anytime we are facing a tragedy, the most comforting thing to our human hearts is the sovereign plan and providential outworking of God’s eternal decree.  How else will we make sense in the wake of a massive hurricane, tornado, death of a family member, Black Lives Matter murders, and various other tragic events?

The word providence is defined in the New Dictionary of Theology as follows:

Providence is the beneficent outworking of God’s sovereignty whereby all events are directed and disposed to bring about those purposes of glory and good for which the universe was made. These events include the actions of free agents, which while remaining free, personal and responsible are also the intended actions of those agents. Providence thus encompasses both natural and personal events, setting them alike within the purposes of God. [1]

Although Peter was extremely bold and outspoken in the boat as he declared Jesus to be the Christ, the Son of God.  In the Garden, he was not as bold.  In the flesh, it might appear to be bold as he took his sword in hand and defended Christ by cutting off the ear of one of the soldiers.  However, he had not rightly learned that in order for Jesus to be raised from the dead, He must first be arrested, falsely accused, falsely convicted, and crucified on a cross.  Peter had failed again.  He had failed to learn the plan of God, and therefore, he took matters into his own hands and cut the ears off of the soldiers who were under the providential control of God.

We must learn to trust God, even when it doesn’t make sense.  We must trust Christ, who in betrayal trusted in the plan of His Father, and endured the betrayal in order to make His first steps toward the cross where He would pay for all of the sins of all of His people (Matthew 1:21).  As we live in the midst of confusing times and difficult days, we must learn to rest in the truth that our sovereign God will work all things out according to His providential plan, and in the end, He will gain eternal glory.

  1. Sinclair B. Ferguson and J.I. Packer, New Dictionary of Theology (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2000), 541.


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Author Judas’ Betrayal and the Providence of God

Josh Buice

Pastor Pray's Mill Baptist Church

Josh Buice is the founder and president of G3 Ministries and serves as the pastor of Pray's Mill Baptist Church on the westside of Atlanta. He is married to Kari and they have four children, Karis, John Mark, Kalli, and Judson. Additionally, he serves as Assistant Professor of Preaching at Grace Bible Theological Seminary. He enjoys theology, preaching, church history, and has a firm commitment to the local church. He also enjoys many sports and the outdoors, including long distance running and high country hunting. He has been writing on Delivered by Grace since he was in seminary and it has expanded with a large readership through the years.