Prepare to listen, praying: Let all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you. Let those who love your salvation say evermore, ‘God is great!’ (Psalm 70:4)
Read Luke 22:47-54a
47While he was still speaking, suddenly a crowd came, and the one called Judas, one of the twelve, was leading them. He approached Jesus to kiss him; 48but Jesus said to him, ‘Judas, is it with a kiss that you are betraying the Son of Man?’ 49When those who were around him saw what was coming, they asked, ‘Lord, should we strike with the sword?’ 50Then one of them struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his right ear. 51But Jesus said, ‘No more of this!’ And he touched his ear and healed him. 52Then Jesus said to the chief priests, the officers of the temple police, and the elders who had come for him, ‘Have you come out with swords and clubs as if I were a bandit? 53When 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!’ 54Then they seized him and led him away, bringing him into the high priest’s house.
The chief priests, the officers of the temple police, the elders, the clergy and temple staff came out in force under cover of darkness to end Jesus’ astounding career. And Jesus says to them: ‘this [darkness] is your hour.’ They’d been too afraid to arrest Jesus in daylight because of the crowd that daily surrounded Jesus then, so they came in darkness. Since darkness is often used as a symbol for evil, calling it ‘their hour’ was a hint from Jesus that what they were about to do was wrong. Did they get it? I wonder.
Jesus’ disciples tried to stop them. One of them pulled out his sword and attacked. But violence isn’t the way of the kingdom and it certainly wasn’t the way of Jesus, not that dark night and not today. Jesus rebuked the disciple who resorted to violence, he rebuked Judas who came with a ‘friendly’ kiss and he rebuked the temple staff. They all failed or refused to acknowledge Jesus because of the darkness, not just of the hour, but of their hearts. His rebuke was ignored as ‘they seized him and led him away, bringing him into the high priest’s house.’
What caught your attention as you read this passage? Wonder about it today.
Respond to Jesus in prayer
Lord Jesus, your willingness to accept your mission, even after your prayer to have ‘this cup’ removed is astounding. Help me understand your way better so that I live a life that reflects you and not my, often violent, desires. Amen.
Go and live obediently in the world that Jesus willingly went to the cross for.
Reading the Bible has always been essential to followers of Jesus. I've been reading, studying, teaching and writing reflections on biblical texts for as long as I can remember. I invite you to read the Bible with me during the Lent and into Easter Sunday.