December 7 - Luke 22:47-53

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Luke 22:47-53 – The Arrest

There are three parts to this arrest. Judas’s kiss, the disciples’ attempt to defend Jesus and finally, Jesus’ rebuke of those who had come for him.

A brotherly kiss was a common enough form of salutation, in this case, though, it was the signal by which Jesus would be identified. It was especially used between a teacher and his students ... a master and his students. Judas had made the choice to leave the twelve and set out on his own, making choices that were driven by a connection to Satan … he was no longer a disciple and thus, Jesus questioned his motive. The kiss, though, would identify Jesus, just in case one of his disciples attempted to step in so that Jesus could escape. But Jesus, just as he always had, was out in front of the group. He had no fear. He accepted what was happening.

For many years, the early church refused to greet each other with a kiss on Good Friday in memory of this moment.

It is in John’s gospel that we learn the names of the soldier and the disciple who strikes him. None of the synoptic gospels do so. There is every possibility that these earlier gospels would not have wanted to identify Peter as the one who did this, in order to protect him from arrest by the Romans or the Sanhedrin.

Jesus immediately stopped the violence. While the disciples were now allowed to carry a sword to protect themselves while they were traveling, this was not the moment to use one. Peter could easily have been arrested and the rock on which Jesus’ church was to be built would no longer be in place. At the same time, Jesus was adamantly against violence of any sort. In John 18:36, in speaking to Pilate, Jesus said: Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.”  This had to be immediately put to rights and it required a complete healing of the soldier.

The chief priests, the officers of the temple guard and the elders were part of the crowd that had come for Jesus. He calls them out as cowards. He had been in the temple day after day, teaching among the people, but they waited until night to arrest him, when they could do so with no one around to question their motives.