The eventual arrest of Jesus by his own envious ruling religious elite was perhaps inevitable, but who would have thought that Jesus would be betrayed by one of his own disciples.
Luke 22:47 – 51
47 While he was still speaking a crowd came up, and the man who was called Judas, one of the Twelve, was leading them. He approached Jesus to kiss him, 48 but Jesus asked him, ‘Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?’
49 When Jesus’ followers saw what was going to happen, they said, ‘Lord, should we strike with our swords?’ 50 And one of them struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear.
51 But Jesus answered, ‘No more of this!’ And he touched the man’s ear and healed him.
Jesus foreknowledge of his betrayer was already revealed to the disciples earlier that evening at the Passover meal. Although Jesus knew what was to come, he had earlier revealed his humanity when he had asked God to remove his impending suffering if possible. And now Jesus prophetic words once again chillingly came true when Judas betrays him with a kiss.
I find it very disturbing that Judas, aware that Jesus knows he will betray him, still goes through with it, even after the dire warning earlier “woe to the one by whom he is being betrayed” It is a cautionary tale, the most obvious explanation being that Judas love of money outweighed his reverence for God. After seeing all the miracles and how Jesus got out of many tight spots, part of Judas must have thought “Jesus will get out of this one, and I’ll keep the cash!” Judas’ attitude also echoes Jesus’ warning during his temptation never to put the Lord your God to the test. And it is interesting that Jesus twice appeals to his disciples just before he is betrayed, that they are to pray that they won’t be put to the test.
Upon Jesus’ betrayal, one of his disciples asked whether they should defend themselves with force, and then unbid, aggressively cut off the ear of the servant of the high priest. Earlier that evening Jesus had instructed his disciples to go out on his mission with the normal means of provision (moneybag and knapsack) and protection (sword), warning them not to use violence. And yet just a few hours later, they resort to violence! Jesus once off miracle of healing the wounded man without being asked is instructive of his attitude to violence.
Head: Why do you think Jesus asks his disciples on the Mount of Olives that they are to pray they won’t be put to the test?
Heart: How do you feel, knowing Jesus endured life as a human, with all its vicissitudes, enduring even the worst kind of death, to offer you eternal life with him because he loves you so much?
Hands: Go and share with someone going through a tough time, the incredible news that Jesus has gone before us, endured the worst kind of temptation and suffering, in order to deliver us from our earthly dilemma of Satan, sin and death.
Prayer: Lord, we so easily fall into temptation, and we betray you when we don’t live up to the calling we have received. We pray that we will not be put to the test, but when we are, that you will provide a way out, that we can stand up under it. (1 Corinthians 10:13)
A song to listen to: This is Amazing Grace
Living Church – Creek Road