Jesus’ Life: Chapter 18 – The Passion And Death Of Jesus
Time: Good Friday: – Approx. 2.00am
It was an incredible change of heart by Judas Iscariot to betray Jesus. For a fee of thirty pieces of silver, he led officers of the Sanhedrin, Roman soldiers and other Jews to the Garden of Gethsemane. It was before dawn, the morning after the Last Supper. They were armed with “Swords and clubs, lanterns and torches”. (Matthew 26:47)
Judas knew Jesus would be in the Garden and he took the crowd who thirsted for his blood to Him. His fellow Apostles later described Judas as, not only a “Thief and robber,” but a “Traitor” Ironically, Judas had previously professed to Jesus that he loved him!
Judas had agreed in advance with the chief priests and elders that, “The one I kiss is the man. Arrest him!” So, he approached Jesus and said, “Greetings, Rabbi, and kissed him”. Jesus said to him, “Friend, do what you are here to do” and remarked to the crowd, “Have you come out with swords and clubs to arrest me like you would an outlaw? Day after day I sat teaching in the temple courts, yet you did not arrest me”. (Matthew 26:48-50)
St John also tells us that Jesus asked the crowd, “Who are you looking for?” They replied, “Jesus the Nazarene”. When He said, “I am He,” “They retreated and fell to the ground”. So, once again, Jesus said to them, “Who are you looking for?” They replied, “Jesus the Nazarene”. Jesus said, “I told you that I am he. If you are looking for me, let these men go”. Jesus did this to fulfil his promise, “I have not lost a single one of those whom you gave me”. (John 18:4-9)
Simon Peter, who was standing close by, drew a sword, probably in anger or in a clumsy attempt to show his love for Jesus, and struck Malchus, a slave of a high priest, cutting off his ear. Jesus immediately rebuked Simon Peter saying, “Put your sword back into its sheath! Am I not to drink the cup that the Father has given me?” Jesus then touched the man’s ear and miraculously healed his wound. (John 18:11)
As the soldiers arrested and bound Jesus, the eleven Apostles, probably frightened for their own safety and also fearing arrest, forsook Him and fled the Garden. A young man, wearing only a linen cloth, dared to follow Jesus as he was being led away but when the crowd tried to arrest him, he likewise ran off, leaving his linen cloth behind. (Matthew 26:47-56, Mark 14:43-52, Luke 22:47-53, John 18:2-12)
Why did Judas betray Jesus? Why did Simon Peter draw his sword? What would I have done?
Lord Jesus, make me whole again as I express my deepest gratitude to You for forgiving me my sins and giving yourself, in offering to your Father, for the injustices poured out across the world.
May Christ support us all the day long,
till the shadows lengthen,
and the evening comes,
and the busy world is hushed,
and the fever of life is over
and our work is done.
Then in his mercy
may he give us a safe lodging,
and holy rest
and peace at the last. Amen.