When Jesus finished a time of prayer with the Father, he was in complete control of the next events.
For the second time, he told his disciples, “Get up and pray that you may not come into the time of trial” (Luke 22.46). His instructions to the disciples were interrupted by a crowd of people.
— Luke 22.47-48 – While he was still speaking, suddenly a crowd came, and the one called Judas, one of the twelve, was leading them. He approached Jesus to kiss him;
But Jesus said to him, “Judas, is it with a kiss that you are betraying the Son of Man?”
Judas was one of Jesus’ followers who were present for his Sermon on the Mount.
— Matthew 7.21-23 – “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.
“On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many deeds of power in your name?’
“Then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; go away from me, you evildoers.’”
Like the other disciples, Judas had spoken to people about the kingdom of God, healed the sick, and cast out demons in Jesus’ name.
Instead of doing the will of the heavenly Father, he joined forces with Satan to deliver Jesus over to those who were determined to crucify him.
The “Judas kiss” is reserved for a betrayal of a magnitude that resembles his actions.
Psalm 55 aptly describes the intentions of Judas.
With speech smoother than butter,
but with a heart set on war;
with words that were softer than oil,
but in fact were drawn swords. (Psalm 55.21)
Healing – Not Conflict
Jesus had earlier told the disciples to prepare for trouble. He said, “And the one who has no sword must sell his cloak and buy one” (Luke 22.36).
They misunderstood his words and responded as follows:
— Luke 22.49-51 – When those who were around him saw what was coming, they asked, “Lord, should we strike with the sword?”
Then one of them struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his right ear.
But Jesus said, “No more of this!” And he touched his ear and healed him.
The kingdom of God is characteristic of Jesus’ actions in the garden, not those of his misguided disciples. Jesus characterized his ministry with a quote from Isaiah 61 at the beginning of his ministry.
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor.
“He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Luke 4.18-19)
At no point during the course of his ministry did Jesus deviate from this mission statement. At this crucial point, he did not change course.
His words, “No more of this!” and the healing of the high priest’s slave defined who he was and what he was all about.
A sad commentary on the church is that God’s people have all too often resorted to the sword. The Crusades, the Inquisition, the persecution of Jews, and the verbal “sword” of disputes are all too much part of our culture.
People who claim to follow Jesus should obey his rebuke, “No more of this!”
What if God’s people were known to be healers? What if we were known as peacemakers? What if we were known as those who love more genuinely than anyone else?
The kind of behavior that resembles our Lord affects the hearts and minds of the public. If we follow him, we will be good “advertising” for Jesus.
The Power of Darkness
Jesus was in complete control of the situation at the Mount of Olives. Whether his opponents realized it or not, he correctly defined their role in an epic battle. They were pawns in the hands of Satan.
— Luke 22.52-53 – Then Jesus said to the chief priests, the officers of the temple police, and the elders who had come for him, “Have you come out with swords and clubs as if I were a bandit?
“When I was with you day after day in the temple, you did not lay hands on me. But this is your hour, and the power of darkness!”
In today’s YouTube video Rudy Ross and I explore how Satan used Judas and the arresting mob to accomplish his purposes.
At the same time, God was at work through his Son, who most resembled the Suffering Servant of Isaiah 53.
Even though God and Satan were working in the invisible realm, the persons present were completely responsible for their behavior.
Rudy Ross and I discuss this passage and how it relates to current events in today’s video. We also dig deeper into the last section of my article.
The video can be found on the Bob Spradling YouTube channel.
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