(end of part 1)
If I was a gambling man, I would bet that Judas was a prideful man. Which way would you bet – prideful or not? He seemed so sure that he knew what was best and when things did not exactly go the way that he imagined, he became an angry man. This anger, as is usually the case, made the work of Satan much easier. Judas convinced himself, which is easy to do when angry (you know how it works when we work ourselves up into a lather over something we often forget years later) and because Jesus was not doing it “right” (the way Judas desired) this impatient man decided that he would “speed up the process” of returning Israel to its proper position within the world. It is a shame that Judas did not recall the words of the great prophets Isaiah and Jerimiah for they had said:
Isa 57:13 … but he that putteth his trust in me shall possess the land and
Jer 39:18 … For I will surely deliver thee, and thou shalt not fall by the sword, … because thou hast put thy trust in me, saith the LORD.
Now, moving forward that night, with Judas, we read Judas then — the one – “He that was called Judas, one of the Twelve, went before them, and drew near unto Jesus to kiss him.” says Luke ( Luk 22:47). This language used seems to brand Judas with a peculiar infamy, as if saying, yes he was in the sacred circle while in reality having no sense of it.
We have all known people like this – they are part of this group or that group (or both) while not really being a part. To be part of a group can make one feel better and give confidence, you know – raises their esteem, by being seen with the group while in reality not being a true member; maybe, a member by their association to the group but not a member by their actions or works. This seems to be the man that became angry, maybe he was ridiculed – who knows, but for whatever reason he allowed himself to become just the opposite of what he confessed. He said the words, but they were obviously not of his heart, soul, and mind.
We also have this band of men—they were “detached by the Romans who were on duty at the festival for the purpose of maintaining order”, thus you can imagine there state of mind. I am sure it was not very good nor pleasant – to be assigned to controlling the mobs that fled to Jerusalem during the Passover would not have been a job which one sought after. And with them, to add to the level of anxiety, were officers from the chief priests and Pharisees–captains of the temple and armed Levites – oh you know this had to be a miserable group of people, going through ditches in the darkness of night together – the Romans not liking the Jews and the Jews despising the Romans – and they together as one had one mission – to get this one man, called Jesus.
They had lanterns and torches—By all accounts there was a full moon this night, but just in case He should have secreted Himself, hid somewhere in the dark ravine, they bring the means of exposing all of its hiding-places, not knowing whom they had to deal with. One can only imagine the scene, as the soldiers were probably drinking (dealing with the Jews would make one do such), slipping and sliding all the while verbally abusing one another as they searched for Jesus, you could probably hear their frustration as they probably murmured to one another “let’s get this over with.”
Eventually they arrive to begin their devious plot. For whatever reason Judas, out of his desire to mock Jesus or maybe required and forced by the Jews in advance for we now read: “Now he that betrayed Him had given them a sign, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is He, hold Him fast” ( Mat 26:48 ). The one that betrays is now instructing the Romans and Jews to “hold Him fast.” Once again, it seems that just doing the filthy deed is not enough, but now we seeing a type of boasting by Judas giving instructions and even demanding that they “hold Him fast.” This showing of power, over those he was leading to capture Jesus, portrays the same condition of instructing demons to do this or do that which CS Lewis writes of in The Screwtape letters as we see this same type of works unfolding this night.
The cold-bloodedness of this speech was only exceeded by the deed itself. “And Judas went before them [ Luk 22:47 ], and forthwith he came to Jesus, and said, Hail, Master, and kissed Him” ( Mat 26:49;)
“And kissed him” – oh these words of pure deception always sends chills down my spine each time I read them – words of such betrayal that it exceeds my ability to fully understand their ugliness when used against one’s God – and hear them – would not these words normally indicate affection and love? And now distorted and used by Satan as hate and pain replace affection and love. To kiss one – to love one we read:
In Exodus Exd 4:27-28 “the LORD said to Aaron, Go into the wilderness to meet Moses. And he went, and met him in the mount of God, and kissed him. 28 And Moses told Aaron all the words of the LORD who had sent him, and all the signs which he had commanded him. From the Old Testament we move to the New:
In the Gospel of Luke (7:35) we read of the woman who was a sinner: And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head.Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet. My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment. Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: … And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven. To kiss ones feet even exalts the love shown. Normally a kiss is sought; however my friends, normal was not this night nor these times. END of Part 1
START PART 2
The impudence, the arrogance, of this atrocious deed shows how thoroughly Judas had, by this time, received Satan into his soul – the Jews call it the Nephesh – ones being – now this shell of a man is void of all scruples. There is not a good way to explain this, for the dialogue between our Lord and His captors. If he gave the kiss to Jesus before the dialogue, as some interpreters think it was, the kiss of Judas was purely gratuitous, meant nothing to him; how sad and gut wrenching is this scene as he probably had to do so to make good his right to the money.
Our Lord presented Himself unexpectedly before them, so by doing so, he rendered it unnecessary for anyone to point Him out. However, by a comparison of the narratives it seems to show that our Lord’s “coming forth” to the band was subsequent to the actions of Judas. “And Jesus said unto him, Friend”–not the endearing term “friend” (in Jhn 15:15 ), but as a “companion,” a word used on occasions of rebuke (as in Mat 20:13 22:12 ) –“Wherefore art thou come?” and in ( Mat 26:50 ). “Betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss”–imprinting upon the foulest act and acting as the mark of tenderest affection? This lowest of low, made even lower. It is as if one would smile as he takes the life of another – expressing satisfaction and even joy while performing the most devious of acts. What wounded feeling did this express! Jesus, over and over, on various occasions was keenly susceptible to such hatred throughout his life.
Watch now how our Lord now takes control of the situation and the cowards with his calmness and love for all 18:4-9. Jesus. . . “knowing all things that should come”—knowing what was to come this dreadful night.
He takes upon himself and went forth: from being within any shadows of the moon that night hovering over the trees, he seems to move probably into open view, indicating His sublime preparedness to meet His captors. Oh his boldness and total willingness to fulfill his Fathers Will…As if to say, here I am ready to do my duty – how about you? So come, do your dirty deeds – we are wasting time.
But after this bravo moment – when we want to yell – yes, you show them! It is now that it appears that Jesus shows concern for his disciples and instead of waiting for an eruption of violence, as usual it is Jesus who shows control with his simple but stern voice … Whom seek ye?—he simply and lovingly asked – as if to partly prevent a rush of the soldiery upon his disciples. No need to rush us – here I am – the one whom ye seek. Jesus tendency was always to protect others. This showing forth of his might and power over the situation demonstrates his courage and majesty, which had to over-awe, overwhelm everyone that was there. You can imagine the soldiers thinking – NOW LOOK AT THIS. How strange it had to appear to these warriors of war, he seems as if he could not wait to be taken.
Surely these soldiers were probably in awe as his majesty is being revealed (no wonder the people followed him) and some may have been shaking at this show of courage (if there is one thing soldiers know when they see it, it is courage,) yes courage of even an enemy brings a certain kind of respect – the respect of a warrior, so They answered. . . Jesus of Nazareth–just the sort of blunt answer and straight forward reply one expects from military men, who were simply acting on their orders.
I am He; oh, these words were used by Jesus often as beautiful and reassuring words, as he had used those words before with his disciples; once as they tossed and toiled with a raging sea and had heard, their masters voice and words of comfort, as He informs them; It is I: be not afraid (Joh 6:20).
But on this terrible night, when normal was no-where to be found, his mercy seems to flow upon those whom were sent to capture him as these same similar words had been used to ease the anxiety of these brutal and harsh soldiers. “I am He”
And now, Judas. . . stood with them—Yes, Judas stood with them and separated himself from his fellow Apostles, who later this night would show a cowardness of their own. No more is recorded here of his part of the scene, but we have found the gap painfully supplied by all the other Evangelists.
As soon then as he said unto them, I am He, they went backward—recoiled, and fell to the ground—struck down by a power such as that which smote Saul of Tarsus and his companions to the earth (Act 26:14). It was the glorious brightness taken to the extreme which dazzles, of the majesty of Christ, which seems to have overpowered them. “This, occurring before His surrender, would show His power over His enemies, and so the freedom with which He gave Himself up.” Yes, freely our Lord is submitting himself to all of man’s hatred…freely He gives.
Then asked he them again, Whom seek ye?—It is as if Jesus is giving the mob a door of escape. An escape from the guilt of a deed which now they were able in some measure to understand – that seems to happen when in the presence of God.
Jesus of Nazareth–The stunning effect of His first answer wearing off, they think only of the necessity of executing their orders.
I have told you that I am He: if therefore ye seek me, let these go their way–Wonderful self-possession, and consideration for others, in such circumstances!
Meditation thoughts and questions:
- Judas, why betray his master? Many theologians have pondered this question. Pride can be the most serious sin, for it blocks away the light and words of Christ. Could it have been pride? How can we fight pridefulness? What other reasons come to your mind?
- Deception, of a Kiss this night, is often used when one is weak. Jesus tells us that He is the truth, the way, and the life…and yet this world will use deception, mainly emotional in nature, to change the meaning of truth, way, and life. Do I see deception in our lives and the lives of others. Do I often rationalize my actions to avoid the truth? Am I we truthful with myself and others as I try to walk in the way of Christ and live my life within His Will?
- The soldiers are searching for Jesus of Nazareth so they can capture Him. Do you seek him? Why? What importance is He to you – is this importance reflected in the way that you live your life?
Jhn 18:9 – That the saying might be fulfilled, which he spake, Of them which thou gavest me have I lost none.
Jhn 18:10 – Then Simon Peter having a sword drew it, and smote the high priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant’s name was Malchus.
Jhn 18:11 – Then said Jesus unto Peter, Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?
Jhn 18:12 – Then the band and the captain and officers of the Jews took Jesus, and bound him,
Jhn 18:13 – And led him away to Annas first; for he was father in law to Caiaphas, which was the high priest that same year.
Jhn 18:14 – Now Caiaphas was he, which gave counsel to the Jews, that it was expedient that one man should die for the people.
Jhn 18:15 – And Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple: that disciple was known unto the high priest, and went in with Jesus into the palace of the high priest.
Jhn 18:16 – But Peter stood at the door without. Then went out that other disciple, which was known unto the high priest, and spake unto her that kept the door, and brought in Peter.
Jhn 18:17 – Then saith the damsel that kept the door unto Peter, Art not thou also one of this man’s disciples? He saith, I am not.
Jhn 18:18 – And the servants and officers stood there, who had made a fire of coals; for it was cold: and they warmed themselves: and Peter stood with them, and warmed himself.
Jhn 18:19 – The high priest then asked Jesus of his disciples, and of his doctrine.Jhn 18:20 – Jesus answered him, I spake openly to the world; I ever taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, whither the Jews always resort; and in secret have I said nothing.
Jhn 18:21 – Why askest thou me? ask them which heard me, what I have said unto them: behold, they know what I said.
Jhn 18:22 – And when he had thus spoken, one of the officers which stood by struck Jesus with the palm of his hand, saying, Answerest thou the high priest so?
Jhn 18:23 – Jesus answered him, If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil: but if well, why smitest thou me?
Jhn 18:24 – Now Annas had sent him bound unto Caiaphas the high priest.
Jhn 18:25 – And Simon Peter stood and warmed himself. They said therefore unto him, Art not thou also one of his disciples? He denied it, and said, I am not.
Jhn 18:26 – One of the servants of the high priest, being his kinsman whose ear Peter cut off, saith, Did not I see thee in the garden with him?
Jhn 18:27 – Peter then denied again: and immediately the cock crew.That the saying might be fulfilled which he spake, Of them which thou gavest me have I lost none—for we must remember his words earlier in the 6th chapter:
(Jn 16:39)“39 And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day”
17th chapter “12 While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.
The Evangelist John was giving them not in substance merely, but also, how the preservation of the disciples on this occasion is viewed as part of a deeper preservation. For these Apostle’s – and those they established – would carry on His Church, they would build upon the foundation that Christ built – the chief corner stone, and they would do so under the direction of the Holy Ghost. Undoubtedly John goes the extra mile in preserving the status of the true disciples and did not allow Judas to be included. The title of Apostle was of extreme importance in the early years of the church as they fought the heresy’s and evils from without…of which this night Judas exemplified against our lord.
As the confusion and excitement of the moment prevailed, suddenly 10, 11. Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it, and smote the high priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear. The moment had arrived, the Apostles and disciples of our Lord had followed him, leaving all behind, and now the time comes where they feel threatened, obviously as never before. Not looking to Jesus for instruction, the Apostle acts out of the pure emotions of fear and anger, so he decides to take matters into his own hands (his own sword.) How often have we acted out of anger only later to regret our actions as we learn of the harm of our inability to control or even use our emotions in a positive manner. Yes, harm seems always to follow fear and anger as they are negative feelings that usually bring about bring about reaction against this or that situation, and yet scripture tells us over and over to “Fear Not.”
To bring the story closer to us and to remind us of our own humanity and goodness, John even tells us the servant’s name – Malchus. Somehow this knowledge of his name makes this scene even more vivid and alive. We know that John the Apostle was known by “high priest” (Jn 18:15) so the giving of the name of the victim, who lost his right ear, is not surprising and it gives the mark of truth in this matter.
Malchus may have been leading the mob sent and thus assuming a physical position in front of his men and would have been foremost of those who advanced to seize Jesus, thus placing himself in the role of a combatant. As the combat began, we can only assume that the vertical blow from Peter had as its target the very head of Malchus. Situations in life can change in an instant – without thought or planning – events can take on a life of their own without any regard to those whom the actions may harm. These moments can almost seem to occur within their own universe without any concern for anyone else. Fights occur and lives are lost often for no reason at all or over matters that often are trivial or could be resolved via another path – other than violence. As if enough was enough:
Then said Jesus according to Luke 22:51 “Suffer ye thus far” – but to whom was Jesus speaking? It appears this time our Lord’s love and concern is for his followers and comes to the forefront as well as his reasoning, as he seems to be speaking to the mob sent for him, to pacify them, that they might not be provoked by it to fall upon the disciples, whom Jesus had undertaken the preservation of: “Pass by this injury; it was without warrant from “me”, and there shall not be another blow struck.’ Though Christ had power to have struck them down, and strike them dead, yet he speaks to them in a fair tone, and, as it were, begs their pardon for an assault made upon them by one of his followers. This is a lesson for us all to teach us to give good words even to our enemies.
Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?–This expresses both the feelings which struggled in the Lord’s breast during the Agony in the garden–aversion to the cup viewed in itself, but, in the light of the Father’s will, perfect preparedness to drink it.
The Words, Thy Will be done, the desire carrying out the Will, but without the Deed would have had been all in vain, indeed; our Lord was fully aware of the consequences of obeying and fulfilling the Fathers Words. The Gospel of Matthew adds here: “For all they that take the sword shall perish by the sword” ( Mat 26:52 ) – Jesus is telling them; ‘Those who take the sword must run all the risks of human warfare; but Mine is a warfare whose weapons are not carnal, are attained with no such hazards, but carry certain victory.’ The sword has its place in history, but here our Lord is saying “not here” and “not now” … this is spiritual warfare of which our Great High Priest fought, for us all. The matter is way too big for the sword and must be addressed by the Creator Himself.
“Thinkest thou that I cannot now”–even after all the things that have proceeded so far—that I can “pray to My Father, and He shall presently give Me”—even “place at My disposal”–“more than twelve legions of angels”; for we must recall how Luke tells us as Jesus was in in Gethsemane that as Angel who had, in His agony, “appeared to Him for heaven strengthening Him” ( Luk 22:43.)
Our rational finite minds struggle to understand sometimes the ways and words of our Lord. For we do not reflect His words and His actions as we are taught in the world in which we live; a place, even within our great halls of learning the truth, for His ways and words are often mocked, hid, and distorted as truths become twisted and eventually yield to the way of knowledge, according to the secular world, all flowing from this agenda or that agenda, and regardless of which agenda is followed it often is spinning out of control. But not on this day as the Truth would be revealed once and for all – for all to see. REGARDLESS of the price that Jesus will pay – He will pay it – pay it for you and me – whether we like or not. FOR IT MUST BE!
“But how then shall the scripture be fulfilled that thus it must be?” (Mat 26:54). JESUS could not allow any un-fulfillment of prophecy, according to the Scripture, if He allowed Himself to be delivered from the predicted death. “No, this predicted death MUST HAPPEN. But before if earnestly begins:
And He touched his ear and healed him” ( Luk 22:51) – have we not heard…”the Son of man came not to destroy men’s lives, but to save them” ( Luk 9:56), and, even while they were destroying and denying His life, he save theirs. Healed him, yes, and there were those in the early church who taught that Malchus was not only healed physically but also spiritually; Quite possibly, he as a first hand witness with a story to tell became a believer.
Then the band. . . took Jesus — but not till He had made them feel that “no man took His life from Him, but that He laid it down of Himself.” So, they took Jesus and led him away, after they had bound him; surely they were confident that their superiors would be happy and just maybe the night would begin to calm down – so, through the darkness they begin the journey to deliver their prisoner to Annas – the Father-in-law of Cai’-a-phas..
And led him away–“In that hour, “says Matthew (Mat 26:55, 56 ), and it is possibly now, on his way to judgment, that the crowds began to press upon Him, “said Jesus to the multitudes, Are ye come out as against a thief, with swords and staves, for to take Me”—he expresses the indignity which He felt for this to be done to Him–“I sat daily with you in the temple, and ye laid no hold on Me.” And Luke even adds: This (Luk 22:53 ) “is your hour and the power of darkness.” And Matthew continues–“But all this was done that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. When he had thus said these things all the disciples forsook Him and fled” (Mat 26:56) –thus fulfilling the prediction that he had made “And Jesus saith unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered.” Mar 14:27 and in John “Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me.” Jhn 16:32. As is often the case, our Lord speaks to us and yet we do not hear him and even if we do, we often do not understand. So on this night, the story is told – not with words – but by his deed. And one should not be surprised for we learn often by experiences and on this night we have no prior experience to learn from…as if all things are anew.
Jesus is first taken to (John 18:13-27) to ANNAS and then on to Caiaphas.
Had we only the first three Gospels, we should have concluded that our Lord was led immediately to Caiaphas. But since the Sanhedrim would hardly have been brought together at the dead hour of night – as our Lord was in the hands of the officers sent to apprehend Him–and we are told it was only “as soon as it was day” that the Council met (Luk 22:66), we should have had some difficulty in knowing what was done with Him during those intervening hours. But in the Fourth Gospel, however, all this is cleared up, and a very important addition to our information is made (Jhn 18:13, 14, 19-24). Let us take a moment to trace the events in the true order of succession, and in the detail supplied by a comparison of all the four streams of text, the four Gospels.
This Annas, was appointed high priest by Quirinus, A.D. 12, and after holding the office for several years, was deposed by Valerius Gratius, Pilate’s predecessor in the procuratorship of Judea [JOSEPHUS, Antiquities, 18.2.1, &c.]. He appears, however, to have possessed vast influence, having obtained the high priesthood, not only for his son Eleazar, and his son-in-law Caiaphas, but subsequently for four other sons, under the last of whom, James the brother of our Lord, was put to death [Antiquities, 20.9.1]. It is thus highly probable that, besides having the title of “high priest” merely as one who had filled the office, he to a great degree retained the powers he had formerly exercised, and came to be regarded practically as a kind of rightful high priest.
Oh, one more thing: If our Lord had to be transferred from the residence of Annas to that of Caiaphas, one is apt to wonder that there is no mention of His being marched from the one to the other. But the building, in all likelihood, was one and the same; in which case He would merely have to be taken perhaps across the courtyard, from one chamber to another.
MK: 53. And they led Jesus away to the high priest: and with him were assembled–rather, “there gathered together unto him” all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes. Thus, it was then a full and formal meeting of the Sanhedrim.
Meditation thoughts and questions:
- Jesus showed concern for his Apostles and seems to have gone the extra mile in trying to protect and preserve their position, as they would be the ones used by the Holy Ghost to build and establish His Church. What efforts do we make to preserve His Church. Do we participate in its life, or do we sit by idly and use it when necessary or required? How can I do more for His Church?
- Peter, acting in fear and anger, not acting under orders from Jesus, attacks the guards and cuts off one their ears. This outburst of emotion is so common to us. We see and we react. Regardless of the situation, anger can overtake any situation. Anger is commonl, do I have a problem with anger? Jesus tells us: For all they that take the sword shall perish by the sword. It is obvious that Jesus desires that we take up the Gospel and not the sword…how can I apply the Gospel to situations that invoke anger – how can I bring peace to where there is anger within my life?
- Malchus was in darkness until our Lord touched him. Do we allow the Lord to touch us today? How? The Sacraments of the Church are an outward and physical sign of an inward and spiritual grace. Do I understand the real and present Jesus Christ within the Eucharist? Are my confessions heart felt before receiving His Body and Blood? Do I need the Sacraments to strengthen my sanctification…do I need an inward and spiritual grace. Do I understand all that the church offers?