Sapphire Sky

October 15, 2015

The Kiss

Filed under: encouragement, theology — Tags: , — Steve Knaus @ 10:57 pm

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It is the night before Passover.

Jesus had spent the last few hours in agonizing prayer (see here). He was consumed with horror and despair as he considered what he was about to face.

Slowly and painfully, He came to terms with the Father’s will. “Not my will, but yours be done”.

Meanwhile, the disciples slept.

As Jesus woke the sleepy disciples, the lanterns and torches were visible through the trees. Nearly a thousand men were converging on their small garden!

The Chief Priests and their servants were there. They had wanted to kill Jesus Christ ever since he had raised Lazarus from the dead (see here).

The Temple Guard was there. This group of men was responsible for maintaining order in the temple. They were especially busy during Passover time. These guards were not allowed to use lethal force, but were nevertheless armed with clubs.

There were six hundred highly trained Roman soldiers. These men were fully armed and stood ready to put down any kind of revolt.

Finally, they were led by one man. Jesus’ close friend, who had followed him for over three years, now led the enemy to this very spot!

Judas!

Judas walks up to Jesus, throws his arms around Him, and kisses Him. Repeatedly.

But this is no kiss of love or affection. Judas holds on to Jesus until the soldiers come to arrest him. Jesus responds to Judas, “Would you betray the Son of Man with a kiss? Do what you came to do.”

The time in the garden was terror for Jesus, but now he is calm. He confronts the crowd, asking, “Whom do you seek?” They answer Him, “Jesus of Nazareth”, to which he replies, “I AM”.

He calls upon the name of God and the entire crowd falls to the ground!

But Jesus does not fight nor does he run away. They pick themselves up and Jesus repeats the question. They reply again that they are looking for Him, and he commands them to let his disciples go.

Peter is far from calm. In a rush of bravado, he charges into the crowd swinging a sword. He tries to act like a Roman soldier, crashing his sword down on the head of the High Priest, but misses terribly. Instead, he cuts off the ear of the priest’s servant.

Instead of being the hero, Peter gets yelled at by Jesus, “Stop it!”. Peter would be the guilty one if he killed someone that night.

Peter’s action was also futile. Jesus could call on an army of angels if he wanted, but this arrest is necessary. The Old Testament scriptures predicted this event must happen.

“Why did Peter fail so miserably? For one thing, he had argued with the Lord when Jesus warned him that he would deny his Master that very night. Peter had slept when he should have been praying, and he talked when he should have been listening.” – Warren Wiersbe [3]

Even during His arrest, Jesus shows compassion to his enemies. He touches the injured servant and heals his ear.

Jesus had commanded the officers to let his disciples go, and now they all run away. Jesus is left alone, but the Father is with Him (John 16:32).

The soldiers seize Him and take Him away.

 

Remember!

Prayer is critical! Jesus struggled through prayer, yet was able to meet his attackers with calmness and compassion. Peter slept through prayer, responded with foolish bravado, and then ran away in terror.

God is not hidden, even through the worst of times! The disciples were overwhelmed, but God was still in total control. Trust in God’s sovereignty.

Don’t fight for God! Don’t be like Peter, and run off on foolish bravado when we should be still.

Friends may fail, but God is always with you! Judas betrayed the Lord Jesus Christ. Peter failed Him. All of the other disciples deserted Him. But the Father was with Him!

 

Previous post: The Garden


John 18:2-11

Now Judas, who betrayed him, also knew the place, for Jesus often met there with his disciples. So Judas, having procured a band of soldiers and some officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, went there with lanterns and torches and weapons. Then Jesus, knowing all that would happen to him, came forward and said to them, “Whom do you seek?” They answered him, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus said to them, “I am he.” Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them. When Jesus said to them, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground. So he asked them again, “Whom do you seek?” And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he. So, if you seek me, let these men go.” This was to fulfill the word that he had spoken: “Of those whom you gave me I have lost not one.” Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant and cut off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.) So Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword into its sheath; shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given me?”


Matthew 26:47-56
While he was still speaking, Judas came, one of the twelve, and with him a great crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the elders of the people. Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “The one I will kiss is the man; seize him.” And he came up to Jesus at once and said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” And he kissed him. Jesus said to him, “Friend, do what you came to do.” Then they came up and laid hands on Jesus and seized him. And behold, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his ear. Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?” At that hour Jesus said to the crowds, “Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs to capture me? Day after day I sat in the temple teaching, and you did not seize me. But all this has taken place that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples left him and fled.


Mark 14:43-52
And immediately, while he was still speaking, Judas came, one of the twelve, and with him a crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders. Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “The one I will kiss is the man. Seize him and lead him away under guard.” And when he came, he went up to him at once and said, “Rabbi!” And he kissed him. And they laid hands on him and seized him. But one of those who stood by drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his ear. And Jesus said to them, “Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs to capture me? Day after day I was with you in the temple teaching, and you did not seize me. But let the Scriptures be fulfilled.” And they all left him and fled.

And a young man followed him, with nothing but a linen cloth about his body. And they seized him, but he left the linen cloth and ran away naked.


Luke 22:47-53
While he was still speaking, there came a crowd, and the man called Judas, one of the twelve, was leading them. He drew near to Jesus to kiss him, but Jesus said to him, “Judas, would you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?” And when those who were around him saw what would follow, they said, “Lord, shall we strike with the sword?” And one of them struck the servant 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. Then Jesus said to the chief priests and officers of the temple and elders, who had come out against him, “Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs? 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.”


 

John 18:2-3
Now Judas, who betrayed him, also knew the place, for Jesus often met there with his disciples. So Judas, having procured a band of soldiers and some officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, went there with lanterns and torches and weapons.

Matthew 26:47
While he was still speaking, Judas came, one of the twelve, and with him a great crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the elders of the people.

Mark 14:43
And immediately, while he was still speaking, Judas came, one of the twelve, and with him a crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders.

Luke 22:47
While he was still speaking, there came a crowd, and the man called Judas, one of the twelve, was leading them.

Judas had left Jesus in the upper room, on the western hill of Jerusalem (John 13). From there, he would have gone to meet with the chief priests and to gather the soldiers for Jesus’ arrest. Judas would have then led the crowd back to the upper room for Jesus.

Jesus had left the upper room, but Judas knew where to take the soldiers. Jesus had a familiar retreat across the city, on the Mount of Olives.

Jesus had never intended to escape Judas by leaving the upper room. But He did buy some valuable hours to prepare his disciples and his own heart for what was to come.

Jesus had just finished waking his disciples when the crowd arrived in the garden.

Judas had procured a “band of soldiers”. This band of soldiers was literally a Roman cohort, equivalent to about 600 soldiers. Why so many soldiers? The priests expected a revolt. Jesus was wildly popular with the Jewish people, and they feared that the people may rise up in his defense.

The priests also brought the “officers”, or the temple guard. Unlike the soldiers, the temple guard could not use deadly force. They were armed with clubs in order to maintain order.

They also brought lanterns and torches. Historians tell us that it would have been a full moon that night (Passover also begins a new lunar month). But the priests were worried that Jesus would try to hide. They were prepared for either an armed revolt, or for a manhunt.

It is interesting to note that Matthew, Mark, and Luke all point out that Judas was “one of the twelve”. The Gospel writers do not use vile epithets for the betrayer, but simply point out that he was one of Jesus’ closest disciples. It is as if to say that his treachery speaks for itself.

“Judas was not an unusual monster but a common man caught in a common sin (greed) which Satan used to accomplish his purpose.” [1]

 

Matthew 26:48-50a
Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “The one I will kiss is the man; seize him.” And he came up to Jesus at once and said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” And he kissed him. Jesus said to him, “Friend, do what you came to do.”

Mark 14:44-45
Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “The one I will kiss is the man. Seize him and lead him away under guard.” And when he came, he went up to him at once and said, “Rabbi!” And he kissed him.

Luke 22:48
He drew near to Jesus to kiss him, but Jesus said to him, “Judas, would you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?”

Judas had given them a signal for how to identify Jesus: Judas would give Him a kiss. Note that the gospel writers do not even give him the dignity of mentioning him by name. He is simply described as “the betrayer”.

Why did Judas need to identify Jesus with a kiss? The priests were very familiar with Jesus. He had been the main topic on everyone’s lips and the chief adversary of the priests. They had been trying to kill Him since he raised his friend Lazarus (see here). Just this past Sunday, Jesus rode into Jerusalem at the head of a screaming crowd (see here). Surely the priests could recognize Jesus.

But there were 600 Roman soldiers with Judas and the priests. These Romans would be making the arrest, and they knew nothing about the Jewish Messiah. Judas needed to identify Jesus for the soldiers.

But Judas didn’t just give a quick kiss. The language indicates that Judas held on to him, repeatedly kissing him.

Jesus’ response was direct. “Would you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?” He then says, “Friend, what you came to do.”

Jesus uses a different word for “friend”. It is not the usual word to indicate closeness and intimacy. This word could also be translated as “fellow” or “comrade”. Judas is lavishing Him with kisses, but he is no friend.

“Plus, the kind of kiss we’re talking about here is an embrace. It will make it crystal-clear who Jesus is because he’s going to hold on to Him until the Romans can get Him tied up. Inferiors kissed the back of the hand. Or if you’re above a slave, you kiss the palm of a hand in the ancient world. Slaves kissed the foot. Kissing the hem of the garment expresses great reverence. But a kiss on the face, a kiss on the cheek, a full embrace is a sign of close, intimacy and warm affection between equals. It is the mark, not of gratitude, it is the mark not of homage, it is the mark of selfless love and affection. And so the kiss is the most ugly act of treachery and that’s what Judas says I will do.” – John MacArthur [2]

“He used the kiss as a weapon, not as a sign of affection.” – Warren Wiersbe [3]

“Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful” (Proverbs 27:6).

 

John 18:4-9
Then Jesus, knowing all that would happen to him, came forward and said to them, “Whom do you seek?” They answered him, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus said to them, “I am he.” Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them. When Jesus said to them, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground. So he asked them again, “Whom do you seek?” And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he. So, if you seek me, let these men go.” This was to fulfill the word that he had spoken: “Of those whom you gave me I have lost not one.”

John’s gospel account tells about the scene where Jesus confronted the crowd. The Holy Spirit has shown to Jesus all that would happen to Him, and so He steps boldly toward the crowd. “Whom do you seek?” They reply, “Jesus of Nazareth”.

The scene that follows is difficult to understand or to explain. Jesus replied with “I Am”, and they drew back and fell to the ground. What exactly happened? Most Bible scholars have arrived at one of these conclusions:

  • Some believe that this indicates that the Roman soldiers expected a fight and dropped to a defensive posture. This would explain the part where “they drew back”, but it does not explain why they fell to the ground.
  • Some have said that the soldiers, in awe of Jesus’ Majesty and confidence, fell backwards. This may be possible, but it is difficult to believe that a group of trained soldiers would be so taken by surprise.
  • The simplest and most plausible explanation is that Jesus showed them a brief glimpse of the power of God. He answered them with the Hebrew name of God, “I AM”. The very act of Jesus Christ calling on the name of God flattened the entire crowd, the religious Jews, and the pagan Romans.

Jesus was not taken by surprise, nor was he a victim. John’s account makes it very clear that Jesus was in total control and he was allowing this arrest.

“Perhaps it was a manifestation of divine power, or an exhibition of the majesty of Jesus Christ.”  [3]

“When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell.” (Psalm 27:2).

Jesus repeated the question, making them say it twice. They were looking for Jesus of Nazareth, therefore they need to let the other men go.

“He had said to His Father ‘Those that thou gavest me I have kept, none of them is lost’ (John 17:12). And if He can keep their souls for eternity, He can keep their lives in this world. And so He says  ‘Let these go their way.'” – H. A. Ironside [4]

 

Matthew 26:50b
Then they came up and laid hands on Jesus and seized him.

Mark 14:46
And they laid hands on him and seized him.

The soldiers picked themselves up and now they grabbed onto Jesus Christ to arrest him.

 

John 18:10-11
Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant and cut off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.) So Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword into its sheath; shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given me?”

Matthew 26:51-54
And behold, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his ear. Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?”

Mark 14:47
But one of those who stood by drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his ear.

Luke 22:49-51
And when those who were around him saw what would follow, they said, “Lord, shall we strike with the sword?” And one of them struck the servant 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.

Jesus had spoken about swords earlier that evening (Luke 22:35-38). He told them to expect opposition and danger because they were followers of Christ [3].  However, the disciples apparently interpreted His words as a charge to fight back against the Romans when Jesus was arrested. They asked Jesus if they should fight back, and before He could answer, Peter rushed into the crowd.

Roman soldiers practiced the battle move of bringing their swords down on top of the heads of their enemies. The helmet was weakest at the joint on the top, and they could thus kill their opponent in close quarters. Peter had no skills in military combat, but he tries to act like a Roman soldier that day. He took out his sword and brought it crashing down towards the head of the high priest. Peter totally missed the priest and cuts off the ear of Malchus, the priest’s servant.

Jesus quickly responded to Peter, “Stop it!”  “All Who take the sword will perish for the sword”. If Peter killed that man, the soldiers would have the right to kill him.

“Had Jesus not healed Malchus, Peter would have been arrested as well, and there might have been four crosses on Calvary.” – Warren Wiersbe [3]

Jesus also showed the futility of Peter’s efforts. If Jesus asked, he could have over twelve legions of angels at his defense (over 72,000)! But Jesus was prepared to take the cup of judgment. He knew that the Scriptures say that it must be so, and He is ready.

But Jesus did not stop there. He gently reached over to Malchus, the servant, and healed his ear. Luke’s account says that Jesus touched where his ear had been. Jesus created a brand-new ear! [5]

“Peter made every mistake possible! He fought the wrong enemy, used the wrong weapon, had the wrong motive, and accomplished the wrong result!” – Warren Wiersbe [3]

“Don’t cut people’s ears off and then expect them to hear your message.” – H.A. Ironside [4]

 

Matthew 26:55-56a
At that hour Jesus said to the crowds, “Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs to capture me? Day after day I sat in the temple teaching, and you did not seize me. But all this has taken place that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.”

Mark 14:48-49
And Jesus said to them, “Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs to capture me? Day after day I was with you in the temple teaching, and you did not seize me. But let the Scriptures be fulfilled.”

Luke 22:52-53
Then Jesus said to the chief priests and officers of the temple and elders, who had come out against him, “Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs? 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.”

Jesus challenged their hypocrisy. They did not dare to touch him in the temple when people were following him. But now they came against him in the dark of night with swords and clubs. But this fulfilled the scripture and this was the time of darkness. It was time for Satan to act.

“This is your hour in association with the power of darkness, Satan. You’re doing it though hell is energizing you, you’re doing it because God has designed it.” – John MacArthur [2]

 

Matthew 26:56b
Then all the disciples left him and fled.

Mark 14:50-52
And they all left him and fled. And a young man followed him, with nothing but a linen cloth about his body. And they seized him, but he left the linen cloth and ran away naked.

The disciples had promised Jesus that they would be with him to the end, but they all left him and fled. Jesus is alone.

Mark added an epilogue to the scene. The soldiers grabbed a young man who was following them. The young man left his clothes in the hands of the soldiers and ran away naked.

Many commentators believe that this young man is Mark, the author of this gospel account.

Acts 12:12 tells about the believers meeting in the upper room, which belonged to Mark’s mother. Many scholars therefore believe that this is the same room where Jesus spent his last meal with the disciples (see here).

If Jesus had celebrated the Passover in Mark’s home, it is not unusual to expect that Mark was awakened by Judas and the soldiers coming to his house, and he followed them to Gethsemane. He would have been wearing very little since he was sleeping and it was the middle of the night.

This would also explain why Mark would add such an unflattering view of the young man. Here is one who attempts to see Jesus, and ends up running away naked (some commentators allow the young man to be wearing underwear).

 


 

[1] John F. Walvoord & Roy B. Zuck, The Bible Knowledge Commentary, Matthew 26:47-56, pages 84-85

 

[2] John MacArthur, A Traitorous Kiss for the Triumphant Savior, Luke 22:47-53

 

[3] Warren W. Wiersbe, The Wiersbe Bible Commentary, Matthew 26:31-56, pages 78-79;

The Wiersbe Bible Commentary, John 18:2-11, pages 298-299

 

[4] H.A. Ironside, Address 60, IN THE GARDEN, John 18:1-14

 

[5] Stephen Davey, A Tribute to the Lamb: Betrayed!, John 18:1-11

 

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6 Comments »

  1. […] Previous Post: The Kiss […]

    Pingback by The Trial of Jesus Christ | Sapphire Sky — October 24, 2015 @ 11:29 pm

  2. […] It was Thursday night before the Passover. At some time after midnight, Judas had led the temple guards and the Roman soldiers up the slopes of the Mount of Olives to where they found Jesus. There it was that the entire crowd fell down when this Rabbi called upon the name of God. There it was that one of His disciples charged into the crowd with a sword, severing a servant’s ear. There it was that Jesus healed the man’s ear and made His disciples leave (see here). […]

    Pingback by Before the High Priest | Sapphire Sky — November 7, 2015 @ 10:19 pm

  3. […] because the sun and the moon are the farthest apart during Passover (Passover is a full moon, see here). Luke’s account says specifically that the sun’s light failed, thereby eliminating the […]

    Pingback by It is Finished! | Sapphire Sky — December 13, 2015 @ 1:07 pm

  4. […] in despair over how he had failed his Lord. He tried to fight when he should have been quiet (see here), and he had denied Him three times (see […]

    Pingback by He is Risen! | Sapphire Sky — January 2, 2016 @ 1:01 am

  5. […] Peter remembered that night, when they left the room and walked outside the city. He could still see the large crowd that met them on that dark night, two weeks ago. The priests, their servants, and 600 soldiers were all being guided by one of Peter’s own friends (see here).  […]

    Pingback by The Stranger on the Shore | Sapphire Sky — February 7, 2016 @ 5:46 pm

  6. […] Judas betrays Jesus; Jesus is arrested by the Sanhedrin (Matthew 26:47-56; Mark 14:43-52; Luke 22:47-53; John 18:2-11) […]

    Pingback by Events of the Passion Week | Sapphire Sky — March 26, 2016 @ 1:50 am


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