Sermon: Our Lord’s Betrayal and Arrest (Luke 22:47-53)

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Our Lord’s Betrayal and Arrest

Luke 22:47-53

Introduction

Jesus and the disciples have left the upper room and have traveled the short distance to the Mount of Olives.  Last week we learned the importance of prayer as Jesus prayed in advance in order to remain perfectly in His Father’s will.  His great need was to be completely in God’s will and in full agreement with it.

We also learned that while Jesus prayed in sorrow even to the point of death, the disciples slept in their sorrow.  Twice they were entreated by the Lord to pray so that they would not fall into temptation.  He prayed and they slept and we’ll see the difference that Jesus’ prayer made.

In our passage today and from here on out in Luke, we’re going to bring in a lot from the other Gospels so that we get a fuller account of the events leading to and surrounding our Lord’s crucifixion.

Primary Claim

Jesus Christ dominated His betrayer and those who arrested Him, willingly submitting to the Father’s will.

Human Condition

One great need we have is to understand and trust that our Lord is always in complete control of every situation.  Do you believe this morning that God is in complete control of everything?

So often when we are pressed by our circumstances we react in fear and unbelief.  We worry or get anxious because way down deep, we think that our future depends on us.  Way down deep we think we’re in charge and that if things are going to get better, I’m going to need to act.

The best way to handle trials and struggles is to remember God is sovereign and in control and we are not.

This text is rich with theological truth.  What I’d like us to see today is the power and control God has even in this dark trial.  Jesus is fully aware of everything about to happen and fully in charge.  He is letting them arrest Him.

I pray today, when we run into events that cause us to move toward anxiety, we will remember this passage.  No one takes Jesus’ life but He is laying it down freely for His people.

Please hear God’s Word for Grace Community Church today…

Luke 22:47-53

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.” [1]

1. Would you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?

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?”

Jesus had just stood up from His time of very intense prayer.  After being comforted and strengthened by the angel that appeared, He was ready.  He was ready to face what was already headed His way.  Right down the path a little ways, Judas was leading the mob.  No time to pray now…our Lord had already prayed and was ready to face this challenging and brutal night.

Luke tells us that the man who was leading the mob was Judas.  Again, Judas is seen as one of the twelve.  This was no stranger who was about to betray our Lord but one who had been with them, one of the twelve.

Judas was about to do the most hideous act that human depravity could do.  He had already overridden his conscience and it was seared.  He desired payment for his three wasted years.  He wanted compensated for following Jesus.  His hopes of Jesus taking the throne as King and ruling over everyone had been dashed.  Judas was trying to get whatever he could and for thirty pieces of silver he sold his soul to Satan.  In fact, Satan had entered into Judas now and was doing what he wanted.  Judas was a hypocrite and a traitor before Satan ever entered him.  The devil was just moving things along.

Judas was feeling confident at that moment.  He had at least 600 men armed for battle with weapons, and torches.   We get this number from the fact that John’s Gospel tells us that Judas was leading a Roman cohort.

John 18:

Now Judas, who betrayed him, also knew the place, for Jesus often met there with his disciples. So Judas, having procured a band of soldiers and some officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, went there with lanterns and torches and weapons. [2]

John explains that it was Judas who not only was betraying Him, but he was the one who organized the expedition to go and arrest Jesus.  This was no small task.  To arrange a Roman cohort, 600 men, the Pharisees, the Elders, and others took some doing.  Some scholars estimate the number could have been up around 1000 people.

As soon as the mob arrived with Judas in front, Jesus already knowing what was going to happen…

John 18:

Then Jesus, knowing all that would happen to him, came forward and said to them, “Whom do you seek?”[3]

 

Jesus not only knew what was going to happen but He knew exactly how it would happen.

His question to Judas is not simply asking him how he was to betray Him but was wanting Judas and the others to see the utter absurdity of how Judas was going to do this evil act.   He would identify Jesus to the others with a kiss.  Rather than pointing and saying, there He is, he would walk up to Jesus, look Him in the eye and embrace Him and kiss Him on the cheek.  Judas would wrap his arms around Jesus even holding Him until the Romans could arrest and bind His hands.

A kiss was appropriate to show respect to a rabbi or a teacher.  So Judas, the hypocrite that he was, says Rabbi! and kisses Him.

Just a side note here, it was not Jesus who was on trial.  When Jesus said, Judas, would you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?”  This was Judas’ one last opportunity to repent.  One last chance to see just how far the sin of the love of money had taken him.  It was really Judas who was on trial.  Even though there were 600+ men there armed for battle Jesus was calm, cool, and collected.  He was interrogating them.

There is also another big detail that John adds to his account.  I think it is this detail that fires Peter up to fight.

John 18:

Then Jesus, knowing all that would happen to him, came forward and said to them, “Whom do you seek?” They answered him, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus said to them, “I am he.” Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them. When Jesus said to them, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground. [4]

Jesus is not afraid of this multitude that is coming at Him with weapons and torches.  They are afraid of Him.   With two little words, the multitude, including Judas, fell to the ground.

I Am…the words Jesus spoke to Moses at the burning bush, the place where God told Moses to remove his sandals because he was now on holy ground.  Moses fell forward and worshipped but these enemies of God fell back in fear.  They were driven to the ground by the sheer power of God’s Words.  Jesus never struck them but simply spoke and their feet fell out from under them.

Jesus did this to show that He was more than Jesus of Nazareth and that He was in charge not them.  They could only arrest Jesus if He permitted them to do so.  He wasn’t passive in these events He was active.  He was a willing Sacrifice for sin.  He would offer Himself as a willing sacrifice.  No one would take His life from Him.  This multitude was at the mercy of Jesus.

I pray this morning that your confidence in Christ increases as you see just how powerful the Words of Christ are.  I amego emieI am that I amI am the first and the last.  I am the way the truth and the life.  I am the door, the gate, the way.  I am the Son of God who could call down 7 legions of angels and destroy everyone.  I am the One who created the cosmos and could call down 7 billion galaxies to crush you and all your evildoers.  Jesus is the great King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

No one came to deliver Jesus because it was through the events of this night and those the next morning, He would deliver us.

2.  No more of this!”

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.

It hadn’t been but an hour or two that Jesus had told His disciples that from now on they would need to make provisions for themselves and be prudent.  Take a moneybag and extra sandals and Jesus told them, if they don’t have a sword to sell what is necessary to get one.

In the upper room were at least two swords…

Luke 22:

38 And they said, “Look, Lord, here are two swords.” And he said to them, “It is enough.” [5]

Our Lord’s words in the upper room as with His teaching in other places was misunderstood.  He never meant that the Kingdom of God would move forward with violence and war.  What He meant was that there may be times when the disciples will need to be wise and protect themselves.  So, Peter in his boldness draws his sword.  Probably this was one of the swords in the upper room.

Peter is really not as bold as we might think at first.  Jesus had just cause 1000 men with weapons to hit the ground with a word.  Peter is probably thinking He’ll say I Am again.  So, he draws his sword and swings it.  Peter intends on cutting the head off of the guy closest to him…

John 18:

10 Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant and cut off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.) 11 So Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword into its sheath; shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given me?” [6]

Peter swings away…remember, Peter is a much better fisherman than a soldier.  He’s swinging to cut off the head of Malchus but he ducked and Peter cut off his ear.

Luke 22:

51 But Jesus said, “No more of this!” And he touched his ear and healed him.

Our Lord is in authority.  He stops the disciples from fighting and even heals the servant immediately.

He heals without any faith on the part of the servant.  Jesus out of thin air touches the servant and he has a new ear.  I know that sounds very simple but that is what Luke reports.

The Gospel is a message of healing and of loving your enemies.  Jesus’ response is very typical of His message.  He would later tell His accusers that His Kingdom is not of this world, if it had been of this world, His followers would fight.

The disciples still don’t fully understand His teaching.  War is not the way the Gospel advances.  In fact, it is the opposite.  Enemies are reconciled by the message of the cross.

We’re about to see that now, for a moment, evil is allowed to rule.

3.  This is your hour

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.” [7]

I want us to see something together that is further proof that Jesus is in control and that everyone involved is working on God’s time schedule.

He says that they had come out against Him with weapons and plenty of manpower.  He also notes that He was with them day after day in and around the Temple and they did nothing.  In other words, if Jesus would have been a lawbreaker and guilty of some crime they could have arrested Him at any time but they didn’t.  This shows that their claims are unfounded.  They are saying that Jesus is guilty of insurrection.   If this were the case why didn’t they arrest Him on any of the occasions when He was walking through the city unarmed.

It takes a cohort of 600 Roman soldiers, the chief priest, servants, elders, and the Pharisees to make an arrest that they could have made at any time with a few people.  Something divine is happening.  Something supernatural is in the making.

This arrest is unjustified and a sham from a human standpoint.

Then Jesus explains why it’s happening now and not before…

But this is your hour, and the power of darkness.

This is you hour of brief success.  This is the moment Jesus has been waiting for.  For a very short few hours evil will be permitted to have success.

The plan of God was coming to pass exactly as He had planned.  The evil schemes of man were carrying out the plan of God.  Jesus desires to be arrested.

Primary Claim

Jesus Christ dominated His betrayer and those who arrested Him, willingly submitting to the Father’s will.

Because Jesus is in control even of His own death proves that He gave His life.  No one took it.  Evil did not overpower Jesus.  He was in control of every event.  All He had to do was speak a word and it would have stopped.

I pray we see the love Christ has for His people.  He desired to accomplish His Father’s will for God’s glory and for our good.  His death was the way God would receive the most glory and we would receive the most benefit.

Something else we should notice, God also regulated evil.  It only lasted as long as God permitted it to last.  Jesus calls it…

But this is your hour, and the power of darkness.

Always remember that evil will only have short success when it accomplishes God’s plan.  God regulates and limits it.

When we enter into trials they will only last as long as God decrees them to last.  He is in charge.  So, we do not need to fear the future.  It is in God’s hands.  He is good and He loves us.

Jesus endured the hour of evil’s success so that we experience the benefits of salvation.

Never loose sight of the fact that Jesus is King and He alone controls the universe.

Are you thankful this morning that we serve the Great I AM?

 


[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. 2001 (Lk 22:47–53). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

[2] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. 2001 (Jn 18:2–3). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

[3] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. 2001 (Jn 18:4). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

[4] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. 2001 (Jn 18:4–6). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

[5] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. 2001 (Lk 22:38). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

[6] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. 2001 (Jn 18:10–11). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

[7] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. 2001 (Lk 22:47–53). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

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