While he was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived. With him was a large crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests and the elders of the people. Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him.” Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed him. Jesus replied, “Do what you came for, friend.” Then the men stepped forward, seized Jesus and arrested him.
A large crowd to seize the Creator of the World. Wow! The Bible records the words spoken by Jesus; Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?”
It really did not matter how may clubs or swords they carried; when Jesus identified himself, "I am he" the Bible says they drew back and fell to the ground (John 18). An incredible authority ushered them to the dirt; caused them to retreat in fear.
Today, I focus on the crowd. A crowd sent from the chief priests and the elders of the people. How long had Jesus been in their midst? How long did he walk the streets and speak among the crowds? How many miracles did he perform? How many were welcoming him as he entered Jerusalem, shouting Hosanna, Hosanna, Lord save us! Did he not feed the multitudes? Lazarus came to life and a crowd of witnesses were present. It seems that very often when the Lord performed miracles, there were many around to testify.
Why was a kiss necessary to identify Jesus? Did they not know who he was? Was it really that dark on the night they arrested Jesus? I wonder how many today have witnessed miracles, life changing events in their own lives and yet Jesus still needs to be identified. Somehow the world is blind and we can't see our Savior as he walks among us.
It's luck, that's why I was hired; I deserve it, I worked hard for it; I'm skilled at what I do therefore I'm in charge; I was born rich, why not enjoy it; life is hard so I take whatever I can get for free.
Is it not God who raises kings? Is not God who dispenses gifts and talents? Are not all riches his? Did he not say that this world would be difficult, hard, but that he had overcome the world?
Why can't we see him?
Friends he is among us; the Word says there is no place we can go, where his presence is not evident, no place we can go to escape him.
How long have there been invitations extended; why don't you come to church with me today? How often do we feel the urgency to read or engage the Bible, perhaps even for the first time? Have we driven by a church and really wanted to stop, but against the push to enter, we kept driving?
We know that we are not good; we may do good things, but sometimes are hearts are blinded and misdirected. Who can help us? He has been among us and somehow we still don't recognize him. We need a kiss; we need someone to identify him; point us in the right direction; tell us and help us identify this tugging that we feel but don't know how to respond. The Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit who's primary function is to point us to Jesus, he is AT WORK! There is an immense, huge, love that God has for us and he does not want us to miss him.
Regardless how dark it has been in the past; no matter how many times we have said NO to Jesus; HE IS Persistent. He has endless love for you and me.
A perfect time of year to press into the Lord; the Holy Week, a time for reflection, to search him out and begin to trust him. The identification has been made: He is the Son of God, came to the world to rescue us from sin. He willingly went to the cross so that you and I would have access to the Father; that we would experience the forgiveness of sin; to have an abundant life filled with joy; to become part of his family. He is calling us!
May the Lord remove the scales from our eyes and the hardness of our hearts. Father continue to draw us, we don't want to walk around in darkness; we want to celebrate life; the new life that you offer.