Thursday – They Came With Swords & Clubs
Luke 22: 45-53 (NIV Version)
45When he rose from prayer and went back to the disciples, he found them asleep, exhausted from sorrow. 46“Why are you sleeping?” he asked them. “Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.” 47While he was still speaking a crowd came up, and the man who was called Judas, one of the Twelve, was leading them. He approached Jesus to kiss him, 48but Jesus asked him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?” 49Jesus’ followers saw what was going to happen, they said, “Lord, should we strike with our swords?” 50And one of them struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear.51But Jesus answered, “No more of this!” And he touched the man’s ear and healed him.52Then Jesus said to the chief priests, the officers of the temple guard, and the elders, who had come for him, “Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come with swords and clubs? 53Every day I was with you in the temple courts, and you did not lay a hand on me. But this is your hour – when darkness reigns.”
Imagine yourself caught up in these events. Where are you? Are you one of the disciples struggling to catch up with what is happening having fallen asleep (v.45)? Are you in the crowd waiting to see what is going to happen? Perhaps you are even Judas, greeting Jesus with a kiss? Maybe you plan to save Jesus by ‘taking out’ the opposition like Peter tried to do!
Spend a few minutes quietly thinking yourself into the story before moving on.
Matthew tells us that Judas kissed Jesus; Jesus didn’t refuse Judas’s kiss. Luke tells us that in response Jesus pointed out the hypocritical nature of what Judas was doing. A kiss usually signified devotion, warmth and love. Judas’s kiss signified disillusionment, betrayal and hate. Jesus welcomes us all. He accepts us with our mixed motives, our misunderstandings, even our hypocrisy. There is no mistake he cannot redeem (including cutting off someone’s ear and a lot worse!)
Note that Jesus heals the man who had his ear cut off even though he was part of the arresting party. What love! There is nothing we can do to make him love us more. There is nothing we can do to make him love us less. He simply loves us!
Now imagine yourself back in the story. If the scene was paused for a moment and it was just focused on Jesus and you – what do you think he might say to you? How do you think he would deal with you? Spend a moment asking Jesus to show you.
Perhaps you might want to write this down somewhere so that you remember throughout the week.
If you are in a group, feel free to share your thoughts if you would like to.