Reading the Word
Luke 22:47–53 (ESV)
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 around him saw what would follow, they said, “Lord, shall we strike with the sword?” 50 And one of them struck the servant 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.”
Parallel Texts: Matthew 26:47-56; Mark 14:43-52; John 18:2-12
Understanding and Applying the Word
Today, we find ourselves reading of one of the most shocking events in history. Judas, one who had spent a great deal of time with Jesus, had heard him teach, and had witnessed the miracles, led a crowd to Jesus so they could arrest him. The coldness of the event is reflected in the way Judas approached Jesus. He went to Jesus to greet him with a kiss, which was a customary greeting between friends. However, Judas had arranged to use the kiss as a sign to those who were there to arrest Jesus. This is why Jesus said, “Judas, would you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?” Judas went to Jesus pretending to be his friend, but was there with evil intent.
Judas is a tragic story. He had every opportunity to respond to the teachings and works of Jesus. He was one of the twelve and looked every bit like the others. No one suspected that Judas did not truly belong to Jesus. He was there because he had other motives and when the time came, his true identity became clear. This is a warning for us. We too can be close to Jesus without truly knowing him. We too can seem like we belong to the people of God and spend a great amount of time with Christians. But do we truly belong to Jesus? Have we repented of our sins and trusted in him as our Savior? What are our motives? People go to churches and spend time with God’s people for many reasons, but it means nothing if we have not believed the message of the gospel. The good news is that Jesus stands ready to forgive and welcome all who turn to him.
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