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Mark 14:11: And when they heard [it], they were glad, and promised to give him money. And he sought how he might conveniently betray him

and all other verses mentioning Judas betraying Jesus.

In what sense did Judas betray Jesus? Is it only in the sense of "giving Him away" to the soldiers by revealing His whereabouts or in the sense of breaking some important promise given to Jesus? I don't recollect any such episode in the Gospels when Judas would promise to be faithful to Jesus (like, for example, what Peter did).

Does the Greek word "betray" in all these cases related to Judas imply breaking some vow or promise?

On the other hand, if it's the "give away" sense, then it looks to me a bit contradictory to these words:

Are ye come out as against a thief with swords and staves for to take me? I sat daily with you teaching in the temple, and ye laid no hold on me (Matthew 26:55)

Indeed, Jesus was not a criminal and wasn't hiding, so it was not really a hard task, I think, to find Him. At least, there wasn't a need, I think, in finding "someone of His men" who would give Him away. Soldiers could have just asked crowds or just waited until Jesus came to the temple again.

Can anyone, please, explain this to me?

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Also asked on Christianity SE. –  Wikis Aug 2 '13 at 2:14
    
Putting Jesus' life in imminent danger? –  Anonymous Aug 2 '13 at 2:18
    
Perhaps they don't dare to arrest Jesus publicly? –  Jim Thio Oct 24 '13 at 4:34
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1 Answer 1

up vote 5 down vote accepted

The Jewish leaders wanted to arrest and kill Jesus quietly because they were afraid of how the people might react. Matthew 26:3-5 says,

Then the chief priests and the elders of the people were gathered together in the court of the high priest, named Caiaphas; and they plotted together to seize Jesus by stealth and kill Him. But they were saying, 'Not during the festival, otherwise a riot might occur among the people.'

Their concern about a riot can also be seen in how quickly they took Jesus to trial - the very night he was arrested. It was illegal for the Sanhedrin to try capital cases at night (Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin 32a, in the mishna), yet that is exactly what they did with Jesus. Before the rooster crowed the next morning, the Sanhedrin had condemned him to death. (Matthew 26:66, 74) The decision had to be ratified by the Romans, and I think that took longer than the Jewish leaders hoped. Never-the-less Jesus was on the cross before noon the next day. (Matthew 27:45)

So the evil of what Judas did is that he helped the chief priests and elders locate Jesus in a secluded spot away from the crowds.

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I have often wondered why the officials would need any help, given that he was preaching all over the place and easy to find. I hadn't considered the "do it quietly" approach. But if that's right, how does it fit in with a public trial/execution? WOuldn't that incite a riot as much as a public arrest would? What am I missing? –  Gone Quiet Aug 18 '13 at 2:31
    
Actually they also attempted to get the trial done quietly. It was illegal for the Sanhedrin to try capital cases at night, yet that is exactly what they did with Jesus. Before the rooster crowed the next morning, the Sanhedrin had condemned him to death. (Matthew 26:66, 74) The decision had to be ratified by the Romans, and I think that took longer than the Jewish leaders hoped. Never-the-less Jesus was on the cross before noon the next day. (Matthew 27:45) –  Jeff W. Aug 18 '13 at 3:31
    
Thanks Monica, I made some updates per your suggestion! –  Jeff W. Aug 18 '13 at 3:51
    
I added a citation for you for the part about night trial being illegal. –  Gone Quiet Aug 18 '13 at 4:09
    
That is great, thank you Monica! –  Jeff W. Aug 18 '13 at 4:12
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