“On Your Mark”
The Kiss of Death (Chapter 14 Verses 43-52)
The authorities are taking no chances, after having failed once (John 7.45), they come with sufficient man-power, and arms to avail them in any eventuality (v43). Of course Judas, one of the Twelve accompanies them. Only the devil himself could dream up such a signal of betrayal. A symbol of intimate affection and love signifies the one to be secured and taken, fulfilling Judas’ part of the transaction (v44). The Apostle John gives us more information (John 18.4-9) at this point. If Judas thinks he has deceived Jesus he is deceiving himself. Inside is the breaking heart of a Saviour, who bears all these agonies, the shame, the indignity, the suffering and even this traitorous kiss. No Jesus is not deceived, he delivers himself into the hands of his captors, he gives his life, he lays it down (Mark 10.45; John 10.11). John tells us they bound Jesus, but they never arrested (v46) a more willing prisoner.
The resistance of Peter is not again in keeping with the plans of God (v48), he thinks that with his pathetic little sword he will win a battle that can only be fought and won in spiritual terms (2Corinthians 10.4). And as Jesus corrects him with a rebuke (Matthew 26.51-53), and by healing the high priest’s servant (Luke 22.51), and pointing out that he never led any rebellion (v48-49a), and is not doing so now. This is the harmless teacher who never hurt anyone. But this surely is a poignant reminder to us all in the Church today, that anything we achieve or attempt to, must be done so by spiritual means. Surely if we were more spiritually minded would it not end a lot of the in-fighting, and separations in many Churches. If we truly believe what we say we believe, what can we accomplish by rending each other. What can we accomplish by dividing endlessly? But if our weapons are spiritual, can we not trust, can we not pray, can we not leave with God what we think to be wrong? Can we not trust him to bring about his will in the Church. I mean Jesus says here in the midst of all that seems, so, so wrong in this situation God is actually working, fulfilling Holy Scripture (v49b), carrying out his prophetic plan, everything he intended from eternity. Do you not think he is still able to do that in his Church? Does he need you to fight with your petty little sword? No he does not! He is still the Sovereign of the universe and the Church (Matthew 16.18). To defect from the Church, is to defect from Jesus himself (vv50-52).
(© James R Hamilton, written September, 1996)