Tuesday April 21, 2020
A Different Kind of Revolution
43 Just as he was speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, appeared. With him was a crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests, the teachers of the law, and the elders.
44 Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him and lead him away under guard.” 45 Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Rabbi!” and kissed him. 46 The men seized Jesus and arrested him. 47 Then one of those standing near drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear.
48 “Am I leading a rebellion,” said Jesus, “that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? 49 Every day I was with you, teaching in the temple courts, and you did not arrest me. But the Scriptures must be fulfilled.” 50 Then everyone deserted him and fled.
51 A young man, wearing nothing but a linen garment, was following Jesus. When they seized him, 52 he fled naked, leaving his garment behind.
Judas, like many others, hoped Jesus would accomplish more. They hoped he would establish a new government and kingdom. This scene demonstrates just how blind everyone is to what Jesus is doing. He is going to do so much more than their hopes and dreams. He is establishing a new kingdom but it has a different politics than the kingdoms of the world. Swords and clubs have no purpose in his kingdom. Judas’ action is the epitome of betrayal. He isn’t a passive bystander following the temptations of the devil. He completely and willfully surrendered to darkness. Everyone knew who Jesus was. Judas didn’t have to show up. He could have told the crowd where Jesus was. He wanted to be the one. He wanted others to see. Betrayal with a kiss and a title that doesn’t acknowledge fully who Jesus is. He is so much more than a Rabbi.
Jesus calls out the absurdity of being arrested with weapons when he freely taught in the temple courts. He taught his followers to love their enemies and pray for those who persecute them. He teaches us to turn the other cheek and go an extra mile more than we’re asked in service of others. All power has been placed under him. At any point, he could stop this arrest instantly. But he refuses to force his Lordship upon rebellious hearts. He knows he must suffer.
As Jesus gets closer to fulfilling what he came to accomplish, the disciples become just like the world. They blend into the crowd using violence to fight violence and running away. It is a disciple of Jesus who wields the sword to cut off the ear of the High Priest’s servant. John tells us it’s Peter. The gospels remove the title of disciple because, from now through the crucifixion, the Twelve are not disciples. The man who loses his garment and runs away echoes Adam and Even being naked and ashamed in the Garden of Eden.
This is a sober reminder for us to never think we’re above others because we are part of God’s family. It works the other way around. Because we are part of God’s family and have received his mercy and grace, we know more than anyone how sinful we are and how much we need Jesus. Humility is a mark of discipleship. The disciples backslide and lose hope but the story isn’t over. Can you recall a time in your life where you retreated from God’s call? How did you come back to the Lord? Are there people in your life who desperately need to get back on track in pursuing the Lord? What’s the burden God has given you to help?
Prayer for Today
Holy God, we trust you even when the answer is no. You know the plans you have for us and they are better than we could ever hope for. Through all of our questions and doubts and frustrations, keep us steadfast in pursuing you. You are our Rock and our Redeemer. We offer you all of our life today. Show us your grace. Amen
The First 15
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