Hidden Treasures

The Bible is much more than a book of religion.

Jesus Betrayed

There’s probably not a more despicable word in the English language than the word “traitor”.  No one wants to name their child Judas.  We don’t even name our pets by that name.  How horrifying and repulsive is the kiss of a traitor.  We recoil in horror and disgust at what Judas did.   This is such a crucial moment in Jesus’ life that it is recorded in each of the four Gospels:  Matthew 26:36-56,  Mark 14:32-52,  Luke 22:39-53 and John 18:1-13. 

Jesus extended evening in the Upper Room with His disciples had ended. Judas had gone out into the darkness to consummate his arrangements with the High priest for betraying Jesus for thirty pieces of silver, the price of a slave.

After they had sung a hymn Jesus led His disciples out to the Garden of Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives just east of the city of Jerusalem. There near the entrance of the Garden, Matthew 26:36-38 records that   He asked His disciples to sit and wait.  He chose, Peter, James and John, to go with Him a little further, asking them to watch and pray with Him.

Then sensing the need to be absolutely alone with His Father in Heaven, Jesus asked the three disciples to wait there and pray while He went a little further. There He fell on  His knees and prayed as a man; for though He was God in human flesh, He was also fully man and felt the fear and terror that we would feel. So He prayed, “Father if Thou be willing, remove this cup from Me; nevertheless, not My will, but Thine be done.” With the weight of the world’s sin on Him, and facing total separation from His Father as He hung on the cross for our sins,  He possibly would have died right there in the Garden; but God the Father sent an angel to strengthen Him for what was yet to come.

What He experienced next was more than any human could grasp.  With the sins of the whole world settling upon Him  it was as if His heart was being squeezed to death.  Blood from His broken capillaries was oozing with His sweat from His pours.

When He rose up from prayer, He returned to the three disciples sleeping from sorrow and emotional exhaustion.  Matthew 26 records that He repeated  this three times and each time He found them sleeping. 

The third time, He said to them as they were waking up, “Sleep on now and take your rest; behold, the hour is at hand and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us be going: behold he is at hand that doth betray Me.”

While He was speaking, Judas approached, leading a great multitude with torches, lanterns, swords and clubs from the chief priests and elders of the people. John 18 records that there were Jewish officers sent to arrest Jesus.

As pre-arranged with the Jewish leaders,  Judas approached Jesus boldly and brazenly, exclaiming, “Hail Master!” and kissed Him on the cheek.

Jesus then stepped forward and faced the murderous mob and asked them, “Whom seek ye?”  

They answered, “Jesus of Nazereth”.

Jesus then spoke two words,  “I AM.”  

Immediately the entire multitude of perhaps over a hundred people fell backward to the ground as if struck by a bolt of lightning.   

“I AM” were the very words that Jesus had spoken earlier in His ministry as  recorded in John 8:58. Those were the words with which He claimed that He was God.  It had infuriated the Jews and they would have stoned Him right there, but  He disappeared from them at that time.  It was not God’s time for Him to die then. Now He had pronounced that name again and like a stun-gun, it stunned them to the ground.

Peter, in reckless boldness, remembering that Jesus had warned him that he would deny Him three times before the cock crowed in the morning, no doubt thought, “I’m going to prove my loyalty to Jesus.”  Or perhaps he did not think at all, but rashly lashed out at Jesus’ enemies. by drawing his sword, trying to cut off the head of Malchus, the servant of the High Priest. Malchus, no doubt. ducked and so Peter got his ear instead of his head.

Jesus immediately touched his ear and he was instantly healed. Then He addressed Peter.  “Put up your sword into its sheath, the cup that My Father gave Me, shall I not drink it?”

What was Peter thinking?  Well, he had remembered Jesus talking about the need to buy a sword just two or three hours earlier in the Upper Room.

Jesus continued to reprove and teach   Peter- and us. “For all that take the sword shall perish with the sword.”   So what does the Bible teaching about self defense and avenging ourselves?

Killing in self defense is Biblical.  That’s why in the Upper Room Jesus advised His disciples to buy and carry swords.

Killing to avenge ourselves is murder. No individual has the right to avenge himself.  See clear teaching on this in Romans 12:17-21

No, rather than avenge ourselves, we are to leave vengeance to human government.  If is the responsibility of human government to put to death anyone who purposely kills another.  That is clearly taught in Genesis 9:6 and in Romans 13:1-7.  Learn more on this topic by going to CAPITAL PUNISHMENT on this web site.

Jesus continued to teach Peter- and us, by explaining in Matthew 26:53 that at that moment He could have called twelve legions of angels to come to His aid.  How large is that?  One legion is six thousand.  Twelve legions are seventy-two thousand angels.  What did one angel do?  In II Kings 19:35 we learn that one angel killed 185,000 Assyrians in one night.

Why then did Jesus not call on angelic help at this time? Matthew 26:54 gives the answer.  Jesus, referring to His arrest and crucifixion said, “It must take place.  Jesus did nothing to stop the progress of these most painful hours of His life.  He must die to pay  man’s penalty for sin.

At this point in Jesus life,  all His disciples, including Peter, James and John, fled for their lives, leaving Jesus to the angry mob. The Prophet Zechariah in  Zechariah 13:7 had prophesied that over four hundred years earlier.

As the disciples fled,  Peter did not go with them.  Instead  he distanced himself from Jesus, but kept his eye on Him.  Peter loved Jesus intensely, but at this moment he was probably rather disgusted  that Jesus did not allow him to at least try to defend Him.  Already, Peter had forgotten that Jesus had warned him that before the cock crowed that morning, he would deny Jesus three times.  As you read the rest of the story in Matthew 26, Mark 14,  Luke 22 and John 18, you read of the shameful way Peter denied his Lord.   The question for us is how many times have we denied that we know him since we’ve been Christians?  How many times have we been silent when we should have shared the Gospel with others?  How many times have we followed Jesus “afar off”?  How many time have we sat by the fire with Christ’s enemies to warm our hands?

Note finally, Jesus question and answer in Luke 22:52-53 to the crowd that arrested Him?  His question was, “Why did you wait until now to arrest me?  Why didn’t you do it when I was teaching in the temple during this last week?  You had opportunity to do it.  I was right there out in the open. Why didn’t you do it then?

Then Jesus answers His own question. “That was not your appointed hour to capture Me.  You didn’t have the power and authority to do it.  BUT THIS IS YOUR HOUR.  THIS IS YOUR POWER OF DARKNESS!”   It was now time for Jesus to be arrested and die for sinners.  He would die on the 14th day of Nisan, the day of the Passover, when lambs were being slain throughout Israel.  On this day, not a day earlier or later  but on this day, God would allow Satan to do his dirty work and move the mob to arrest and crucify Jesus.   That was the day that God’s  promise in Genesis 3:15 would be fulfilled.  Satan would bruise Jesus heel by having him crucified.

But there is coming another day when Jesus’ hour comes.  “And He shall bruise or crush Satan’s head.”   Will you be there in the redeemed crowd  described in Revelation 19 and 20 when Jesus crushes Satan and brings an end to sin and brings in everlasting righteousness? 

The answer to that question is that you will be there only if now in the age of grace you have humbled yourself before God as a sinner and received the sacrifice of His shed blood as your only atonement or covering for your sins?  You and I cannot face God in our own righteousness.  Isaiah 64:6 says that it stinks in His nostrils as bloody, rotten rags.  We must have His imputed righteousness.  Read Romans 3- 5 and settle this matter today.

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January 11, 2010 - Posted by | Passion Week

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