1. BETRAYED BY A FRIEND
a. How did Judas betray Jesus? Mark 14:10, 11, 43–46.
“The case of Judas has been presented to me as a lesson for all. Judas was with Christ through the entire period of the Saviour’s public ministry. He had all that Christ could give him. Had he used his capabilities with earnest diligence, he could have accumulated talents. Had he sought to be a blessing, instead of a questioning, criticizing, selfish man, the Lord would have used him to advance His kingdom. But Judas was a speculator. He thought that he could manage the finances of the church, and by his sharpness in business get gain. He was divided in heart. He loved the praise of the world. He refused to give up the world for Christ. He never committed his eternal interests to Christ. He had a superficial religion, and therefore he speculated upon his Master and betrayed Him to the priests, being fully persuaded that Christ would not allow Himself to be taken.”—The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 5, pp. 1101, 1102.
b. How was this prophesied? Psalm 41:9.
2. DESERTED BY A CLOSE FRIEND
a. As Jesus told His disciples that they would all be offended because of Him, what did Peter insist? What further insight did Jesus give? Mark 14:27–31.
b. How were Jesus’ words fulfilled? Verses 66–72.
“Peter followed his Lord after His betrayal. He was anxious to see what would be done with Jesus. But when he was accused of being one of His disciples, fear for his own safety led him to declare that he knew not the man. The disciples were noted for the purity of their language, and Peter, to convince his accusers that he was not one of Christ’s disciples, denied the charge the third time with cursing and swearing.”—Early Writings, p. 169.
“When the crowing of the cock reminded him of the words of Christ, surprised and shocked at what he had just done he turned and looked at his Master. At that moment Christ looked at Peter, and beneath that grieved look, in which compassion and love for him were blended, Peter understood himself. He went out and wept bitterly. That look of Christ’s broke his heart. Peter had come to the turning point, and bitterly did he repent his sin. . . . The look of Christ assured him of pardon.”—Christ’s Object Lessons, pp. 152, 154.
c. How did the Old Testament writers express this feeling of desertion? Psalms 88:8 (first part); 69:8; Job 19:13, 14. Why did Jesus allow this?
“It was to save sinners that Christ left His home in heaven and came to earth to suffer and to die. For this He toiled and agonized and prayed, until, heartbroken and deserted by those He came to save, He poured out His life on Calvary.”—The Sanctified Life, p. 82.
“Nothing could have induced Christ to leave His honor and majesty in heaven, and come to a sinful world, to be neglected, despised, and rejected by those He came to save, and finally to suffer upon the cross, but eternal, redeeming love, which will ever remain a mystery.”—Testimonies, vol. 2, p. 207.
3. DESPISED AND REJECTED OF MEN
a. What happened to the witnesses brought by the chief priests to testify against Christ? Mark 14:55–59.
“False witnesses had been bribed to accuse Jesus of inciting rebellion and seeking to establish a separate government. But their testimony proved to be vague and contradictory. Under examination they falsified their own statements. . . .
“Christ’s words were misstated. If they had been reported exactly as He spoke them, they would not have secured His condemnation even by the Sanhedrin.”—The Desire of Ages, pp. 705, 706.
b. When asked if He was the Christ, the Son of God, what was Jesus’ response? How did the high priest receive these words? Verses 61–64.
“Conviction mingled with passion led Caiaphas to do as he did. He was furious with himself for believing Christ’s words, and instead of rending his heart under a deep sense of truth, and confessing that Jesus was the Messiah, he rent his priestly robes in determined resistance. This act was deeply significant. Little did Caiaphas realize its meaning. In this act, done to influence the judges and secure Christ’s condemnation, the high priest had condemned himself. By the law of God he was disqualified for the priesthood. He had pronounced upon himself the death sentence.”—Ibid., p. 708.
c. How was the prophecy of Isaiah fulfilled in the trial of Jesus? Isaiah 53:3, 7.
“Behold Him who with one word could summon legions of angels to His assistance, a subject of jest and merriment, of reviling and hatred. He gives Himself a sacrifice for sin. When reviled, He threatens not; when falsely accused, He opens not His mouth. He prays on the cross for His murderers. He is dying for them; He is paying an infinite price for every one of them. He bears the penalty of man’s sins without a murmur. And this uncomplaining victim is the Son of God.”—Lift Him Up, p. 233.
4. FORSAKEN BY A PEOPLE-PLEASER
a. What was Pilate’s attitude toward Jesus’ silence? Mark 15:2–5.
“[Pilate] did not believe that the prisoner had plotted against the government. His meek and humble appearance was altogether out of harmony with the charge. Pilate was convinced that a deep plot had been laid to destroy an innocent man who stood in the way of the Jewish dignitaries. Turning to Jesus he asked, ‘Art Thou the King of the Jews?’ The Saviour answered, ‘Thou sayest it.’ And as He spoke, His countenance lighted up as if a sunbeam were shining upon it.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 726.
b. How did Pilate try to save Christ? Verses 6–11.
“Pilate . . . now bethought himself of a custom which might serve to secure Christ’s release. It was customary at this feast to release some one prisoner whom the people might choose. This custom was of pagan invention; there was not a shadow of justice in it, but it was greatly prized by the Jews. The Roman authorities at this time held a prisoner named Barabbas, who was under sentence of death. . . . Under cover of religious enthusiasm he was a hardened and desperate villain, bent on rebellion and cruelty. By giving the people a choice between this man and the innocent Saviour, Pilate thought to arouse them to a sense of justice. He hoped to gain their sympathy for Jesus in opposition to the priests and rulers.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 733.
c. Although Pilate was convinced that Christ was innocent, what did he do? Why? Verses 12–15; Matthew 27:24.
“Pilate longed to deliver Jesus. But he saw that he could not do this, and yet retain his own position and honor. Rather than lose his worldly power, he chose to sacrifice an innocent life. How many, to escape loss or suffering, in like manner sacrifice principle. Conscience and duty point one way, and self-interest points another.”—Conflict and Courage, p. 324.
5. GOD NEVER FORSAKES US
a. How did Jesus’ humanity manifest itself in His dying hours? Mark 15:34. How was Christ able to gain the victory over this feeling of being forsaken?
“Amid the awful darkness, apparently forsaken of God, Christ had drained the last dregs in the cup of human woe. In those dreadful hours He had relied upon the evidence of His Father’s acceptance heretofore given Him. He was acquainted with the character of His Father; He understood His justice, His mercy, and His great love. By faith He rested in Him whom it had ever been His joy to obey. And as in submission He committed Himself to God, the sense of the loss of His Father’s favor was withdrawn. By faith, Christ was victor.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 756.
b. Although we may be forsaken by those nearest and dearest to us, what does God promise us? Psalm 27:10; Hebrews 13:5 (second part); Isaiah 49:16.
“Trust in the Lord Jesus to lead you step by step into the right path. You can derive assurance and strength at every step you advance, for you can be assured that your hand is in His hand. You can ‘run and not be weary’; you can ‘walk and not faint,’ for you can realize by faith that you have your hand in the hand of Christ. You will not sink under discouragement, for as you follow on to know the Lord, trusting in Him, you will have the assurance that the One who never forsakes those who fully trust Him is your constant Helper.”—The Upward Look, p. 320.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. What characteristics of Judas proved to be his downfall?
2. Why was Peter led to deny Christ?
3. Why were Christ’s words misstated by false witnesses?
4. Why did Pilate allow an innocent man to die? How might we be in danger of acting in a similar way?
5. How did Jesus find peace when feeling forsaken by God?