Monday 18 April 2022

Matthew 26:47-56 (NIV)

47 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. 48 Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him.” 49 Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed him. 50 Jesus replied, “Do what you came for, friend.” Then the men stepped forward, seized Jesus and arrested him. 51 With that, one of Jesus’ companions reached for his sword, drew it out and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear. 52 “Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. 53 Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? 54 But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?” 55 In that hour Jesus said to the crowd, “Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? Every day I sat in the temple courts teaching, and you did not arrest me. 56 But this has all taken place that the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples deserted him and fled.

This passage emphasises Jesus’ love.

Look at the contrasts between Jesus and others. As Judas betrayed him (with a kiss) Jesus called him friend. As one of the disciples tried to defend him, Jesus said “Put your sword away”.

Jesus’ statement that God would send angels to defend him if he asked him to emphasises that he willingly gave himself to torture and death. He showed love to those who betrayed and arrested him, and he submitted to death because of his love for us. And in the midst of this, the disciples fled and left him.

How would I have responded if I was there? Sadly, if I’m honest, I suspect that my running skills would have equalled those of the disciples.

Today, we have the benefit of hindsight. We can recognise that Jesus’ acceptance of betrayal and death was for our sakes – because of his love for us. It makes me sad that Jesus was deserted by those closest to him, at the time he needed them most. And it makes me sad that my sin led to his dreadful suffering and death. And so it should. But as I dwell again in his sacrifice, I can recognise afresh his love for me.

“Lord, help us not to shy away from the enormity of your sacrifice, but rather let the love it expresses move us afresh. Help me to never forget your love for me.”

Written by Megan Cornell

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