Luke 22 verses 47 & 48. “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, but Jesus asked him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?”
The disciples were under the weight of sorrow, no doubt also a great deal of confusion and apprehension. The circumstances which now unfolded were evil. They were unable to stay awake and thus they fell asleep as Jesus prayed until awakened by Jesus. Note the words in verse 45”….exhausted by sorrow”. There are many of us who having faced a tragedy of one sort or another have felt this peculiar exhaustion come upon us whereby we are drained of all energy.
When the arresting party arrived the natural reaction was to turn to the sword. Indeed one did and cut off the ear of one of the servants of the high priest. This is the reaction of human nature, unprepared and ungoverned by God’s will.
Remember that what the disciples were up against at this moment was not mere flesh and blood but spiritual principalities and powers, the world rulers of this darkness. Remember Jesus’ words in chapter 22 verse 53, “But this is your hour when darkness reigns”. These occasions occur from time to time in human history, when all truth is twisted and all that is genuinely true and human are undermined. The devil is on the rampage.
Remember that Jesus was pointed out by Judas through a kiss of friendship – the ultimate act of betrayal. But before we accuse him too quickly we need to bear in mind the many ways in which we do that too today. For instance when we say we are his disciples then live contrary to our claim, is that not a “kiss” of betrayal? How many people within the circles of those whom we have known gave signs in early years that they were followers of Jesus, but later on went their own way, no matter what that did to the reputation of Christians in general, or to their relationship with Christ in particular? There are many ways in which we can betray him with a kiss, but we must now move back to the narrative.
Luke records that Jesus healed the ear that had been cut off. Of course Luke would mention it. He was a doctor. It is not mentioned in the other gospels. In the general chaos of Christ’s arrest it may appear to be a small thing, but it was not small to the man concerned and one wonders what happened to him in the end.
The chief priests and elders were conducting this operation and now their real characters are revealed. They were supposed to be ministers of God, guardians of the temple and all it stood for, but here these so-called upholders of sanctity and truth all chased after a man they thought was a terrorist – or at least that is what they would have loved to think, especially if Peter continued to flash his sword around. Imagine what stories of armed resistance they could have concocted for public consumption. But as it was, there was nothing to say on that account.
This was Jesus, in the early process of laying down his life for us.