Scripture: Luke 22:47-54
47 While he was still speaking, there came a crowd, and the man called Judas, one of the twelve, was leading them. He drew near to Jesus to kiss him; 48 but Jesus said to him, "Judas, would you betray the Son of man with a kiss?" 49 And when those who were about him saw what would follow, they said, "Lord, shall we strike with the sword?" 50 And one of them struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his right ear. 51 But Jesus said, "No more of this!" And he touched his ear and healed him. 52 Then Jesus said to the chief priests and officers of the temple and elders, who had come out against him, "Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs? 53 When I was with you day after day in the temple, you did not lay hands on me. But this is your hour, and the power of darkness." 54 Then they seized him and led him away, bringing him into the high priest's house. Peter followed at a distance;
Meditation: Do you know the pain of rejection from someone close to you? The greatest pain and injury comes not from our enemies but from those closest to us. Psalm 55 foretells the suffering of rejection which God's anointed King and Messiah would endure for our sake: "It is not an enemy who taunts me-- then I could bear it; it is not an adversary who deals insolently with me-- then I could hide from him But it is you, my equal, my companion, my familiar friend. We used to hold sweet converse together; within God's house we walked in fellowship" (Psalm 55:12-14). In the ancient world a kiss was a sign of intimate friendship and trust. Judas' betrayal with a kiss shows the hypocrisy of his love and trust. This is literally a "kiss of death" not only because it leads to Jesus' death but is also a sign of the death of one who lost all hope and abandoned God. In betraying Jesus Judas rejected the one and only hope for freedom from sin and condemnation and the hope of reconciliation and restoration to friendship with God. Jesus met rejection not with bitterness or resentment, but with love and pity. God will never stop loving us no matter how far we stray from him or abandon hope. Do you meet rejection with love or hatred?
Jesus met his betrayal and arrest with serenity and confident trust in his Father. He knew that this was Satan's hour of darkness but God's light and truth would prevail in the end. How did the other apostles meet this trial? They were unprepared even though Jesus has warned them about his betrayal. And they had forgotten God for the moment. Their will is to resist force with force rather than submit to God's will. Jesus' mercy and compassion never fails even as he "touches" the severed ear and heals the slave who has been injured by one of Jesus' own disciples. When adversity strikes how do you respond? With fear and panic or with confident hope and trust in God?
"Lord, only you can save us from the blindness of sin and despair. May your light dispel the darkness of our lives and give us hope and joy. Fill our hearts with mercy and compassion that we may bring hope to those who have no hope and show them the light of Christ."