While he (Jesus) was still speaking Judas, one of the twelve, arrived. One of the twelve. The gospels each describe Judas as “one of the twelve”. Its almost as if they just could not believe that he was one of them, that he was one of Jesus’ closest allies and yet he could betray Jesus so casually. Did nothing they experienced the last few years mean nothing to this man? Its almost like they are trying to rationalize or make sense of all that he had done.
Another interesting observation is that Matthew, Mark and Luke not one of them slandered Judas. You will not find wording other than bare facts of what he did and how. You won’t read any negative words that criticize this man’s character, even though it would be understandable. The gospels could describe this man as being vile, corrupt, greedy and money hungry; but, they don’t. The writers do not attack Judas’ character. These books were written after the fact. After everything was said and done they took to their journals and wrote down the events. They knew full well what Judas had done, but the Bible does not record one derogatory word against this man. That is a lesson itself. How many of us would sit back watch one of our closest friends betray another close friend and not say anything bad about their character?
When Judas arrived, he was with a large crowd which carried with them weapons. These men were looking for or at least were prepared for a fight. When Judas left the upper room where the disciples were eating their Passover meal. He headed straight to the Jewish leaders, where he convinced them that now was the time to strike. Remember the elders really didn’t want to do anything during the festival, they didn’t want to insight a riot, but somehow Judas convinced them that now was the time.
In just a few short hours he managed to gather a detachment of soldiers, which would be around 400-600 soldiers. Roman soldiers were everywhere during this festival, the extra troops were brought in for backup. Along with the soldiers were chief priests and Pharisees, their servants and Sanhedrin members. So, in all the number of men in this procession could have been close to 1000. All carrying torches and lanterns and weapons.
On the way toward the garden Judas decided that they needed a signal to let the soldiers know which one was Jesus. It’s like he thinks that if he is sneaky about pointing out Jesus, it won’t be like he is really pointing him out. I won’t come right out and tell you who Jesus is, no, instead I will kiss him. The man I kiss will be Jesus and that will be the man you are to arrest.
Upon arrival Judas at once goes up to Jesus and greets him, “Greetings, Rabbi!” “Hail, Master!” if you are in the KJV. In other words, “Joy to you or be joyful”. As Judas leans in to kiss Jesus. BTW this was a common way of greeting each other and still is common, nothing unusual at all with this being their signal. Judas leans in but before he gives Jesus his kiss (Luke 22: 48) Jesus stops him and asks “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?” Jesus knew what he was up to. He knew he was there to hand him over to do his final act of betrayal.
Judas is being controlled by Satan, and his greeting him as though he is a friend is nothing short of the enemy rubbing Jesus’ nose in what he is doing. “Are you seriously going to betray the Son of Man with a kiss?” Of all the ways he could have come up with to signal which man was in fact Christ he chose a kiss. Pretty deranged, right? A kiss on the cheek is a sign of affection, it’s a way of showing close intimacy, love, respect, only the closest of friends would kiss the cheek.
Judas sold Jesus and sealed the betrayal with a kiss. Literally gave him the “kiss of death”. The plan was when the soldiers see this “kiss” they were to close in and grab Jesus, seize him, hold on to him and to not let him go.
Once the kiss took place, Jesus told Judas, “Do what you came for, friend.” Just to clear up one thing before moving on. Friend in this context, is not the meaning we understand it to be. Friend in this context is more of a “fellow” an acquaintance. You associate with them, but they aren’t part of your inner circle. Judas was removed from Jesus’ inner circle and now he just someone he knows but isn’t close to.
With that permission, the soldiers stepped forward and arrested him. This caused the disciples to be alarmed and as the men closed in on Jesus, Peter asked if they should strike back with their swords. (Luke 22:49). The disciples wanted to know if they should fight, should they defend themselves, what were they supposed to do.
Peter didn’t wait for Jesus to answer, he sliced the ear off the servant of the high priest. We all know that Peter is a fisherman, he is not known as being an expert swordsman. When Peter drew that sword he most likely had the intention of slicing off the man’s head, and any man who tried to come for them after that. It’s as if the servant ducked and as he jerked his head the sword severed his ear.
Jesus immediately speaks up to diffuse the possibility of more harm. “No more of this!” he commanded. Dr. Luke records (of course he does, he’s the doctor and would really be interested with this) Jesus touched the man’s ear and healed him. The ear was completely removed from his head and with one touch of Jesus his ear was fully restored. Its as if it was never removed in the first place. Jesus healed the man because he was compassionate and it’s bad enough Peter would deny Christ, he really didn’t want him arrested too. So he healed this man.
Vs. 50 says the men stepped forward, seized Jesus and arrested him. They didn’t just walk up and gingerly put handcuffs on him. They “seized” him, they forcibly took hold of him, they grabbed him violently and took him into their possession.
Read vs. 52-54
Jesus is reminding everyone there of the scriptures that needed and would be fulfilled. This is the way it must be, and this is the its going to be. He reminds them of his authority. Jesus had twelve legions of angels ready to be activated at a moment’s notice. All he had to do was give word to his Father and it would be done. One legion is approximately 6000 soldiers. There would have been as many as 72,000 angels ready and waiting to be dispatched. This would have been one legion for each of the 11 and one for Jesus if need be.
But, if the angels were activated to come in and do battle the scriptures would not be fulfilled. Jesus used great restraint during this time. He spent time with his Father, he knew the plan, he knew he needed to press on and deal with what needed dealt with and that is what he is doing. But, know this, he could have changed his mind, if he wanted to. He didn’t and I’m thankful.
Read vs. 55
Jesus’ attention now turns toward the army of men who have come to capture him. “Am I leading a rebellion?” Was it necessary to come out here with swords and clubs to capture me? Did this really need to be so extreme? You act like you’re here to arrest a thief.
Jesus sat in the temple courts day after day teaching these men and they never once came to him to arrest him. He did nothing wrong; they had no reason to arrest. Why didn’t they arrest him then? They knew they had no reason to arrest Jesus and they feared a mob would overtake them if they tried.
This time its different though, this time the men are under the control of Satan. Luke 22:53, “this is your hour—when darkness reigns.” This whole event is under God’s control, Jesus would not be killed before the appointed time, he was not arrested before the appointed either.
But for this one-day God has given the enemy the opportunity to work his plan. This is the time appointed for Jesus’ enemies to apprehend him, this is the time when the forces of darkness to do all they can to defeat God and foil his plan for redemption. This is the designated time when darkness would reign.
Vs. 56 “but this has all taken place that the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled”. Then ALL the disciples deserted him and fled.