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JESUS’ ARREST THROUGH JUDAS AND PETER’S DENIAL

Luke 22:47-22:62
Key Verse: 22:53b

We thank God for Jesus’ bloody battle in prayer to obey the will of God for the salvation of mankind. Thanks to him we are brought from the eternal condemnation and darkness of Satan to the everlasting salvation and light of God’s love. In this grace of Jesus we may also have a prayer battle, that our life be the life of obedience to God’s will for the salvation of souls through his gospel work. In today’s passage of Luke’s description Jesus was betrayed by Judas one of the Twelve and arrested by his enemies, and at this painful time he was disowned by his top disciple Peter. How on earth could such things happen all at once? Humanly speaking, it was too painful and terrible a time. But Jesus had prepared himself to see that this was the time of darkness and let the light of his loving heart shine all-the-more brightly to the world.

First, Jesus was arrested through Judah’s betrayal (47:53). Look at verse 47. “While he was still speaking a crowd came up, and the man who was called Judas, one of the Twelve, was leading them. He approached Jesus to kiss him.” In the previous passage Jesus said to his disciples, “Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.” While he was still speaking, a crowd led by Judas, one of the Twelve, came to arrest him. They could not even wait until Jesus finished speaking. They did not want to lose this opportunity. In the dark night, the crowd (definitely including temple police) did not know whom they had to arrest. So Judas approached Jesus to kiss him. A kiss was the symbol of friendship and affection. However, here it is the prearranged signal for the arresting band to grab Jesus. What a betrayal this is! This betrayal-by-kiss must have been more heart-breaking to Jesus than just a betrayal-by-departure.

How did Jesus respond at this? Look at verse 48: “but Jesus asked him, ‘Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?’” In that situation most people would burst out in anger and hatred at such a disguised sneaky betrayal, thinking of themselves. But amazingly Jesus did not think of himself, but Judas, calling him by name. He said, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?” Even at this time of receiving such a betrayal Jesus wanted Judas to realize what was he was doing and repent and turn to God. Before God, Judas was not betraying just a man, but the Son of Man whom God had prepared in a long history and finally sent for the salvation of mankind. What a grave crime against God! Jesus was speaking the truth in love so as to bring Judas to God’s salvation even at this last moment.

Look at verses 49 and 50. “When Jesus’ followers saw what was going to happen, they said, ‘Lord, should we strike with our swords?’ And one of them struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear.” From a human viewpoint Jesus’ followers were praise-worthy for what they did at this moment, for it showed their loyalty and courage. According to John’s gospel the one who cut the right ear of the servant of the high priest was Simon Peter (Jn 18:10). Also, when we refer to John’s gospel, it looked that at that time Jesus was in control, for at his words “I am he” a detachment of soldiers drew back and fell to the ground. After this Peter struck the servant of the high priest. Still, most people would recognize Peter’s courage and loyalty.

But what was Jesus’ response? Look at verse 51. “But Jesus answered, ‘No more of this!’ And he touched the man’s ear and healed him.” This was also a truly unexpected extraordinary response. He first said, “No more of this!” meaning “no more physical battle; no more human fighting!” Because of Peter’s apparently courageous but undiscerning act, a bloody fight would soon break out in that situation. According to Matthew Jesus said, “Put your sword back in its place, for all who draw the sword will die by the sword” (Mt 26:52). Jesus did not want his disciples to fall into such temptation of miserable human battle. After saying, “No more of this!” Jesus remarkably healed the wounded ear of the high priest’s servant by touching it. Jesus’ act of this healing tells many things. By this act Jesus would cancel out the mistake of a disciple that could have brought a bloodbath of the mutual killing of many people, and show unambiguously Jesus’ concern for peace. When we think of the healing, the healing itself was truly a miracle, which was like creating an ear by just touching the earless wounded part. This was a medical doctor’s observation. Anyhow, again the healing was really great. But our greater attention goes to the healing heart of Jesus for such an ignorable person, the servant of the high priest, who, in fact, was attempting to destroy Jesus by all possible means. Even in such a situation he would be soon arrested he was not only concerned about his disciples, saying to the arresters in John’s gospel, “If you are looking for me, then let these men go,” but also he was mindful of this wounded servant of the high priest, the enemy of God. It was so that even the servant might know the love of God. Notably this healing was the last healing of Jesus, using his hand for the last time before his hands being seized for the arrest and finally nailed to the cross. Truly, Jesus’ love is borderless and limitless.

Look at verses 52 and 53. “Then Jesus said to the chief priests, the officers of the temple guard, and the elders, who had come for him, ‘Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come with swords and clubs? Every day I was with you in the temple courts, and you did not lay a hand on me. But this is your hour—when darkness reigns.’” Now Jesus was helping specifically the chief priest, the officers of the temple guard and the elders, who had come to seize him. We believe that Jesus was also speaking the truth in love to lead them to God. Jesus asked, “Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come with swords and clubs?” They knew that Jesus was not leading a rebellion, But they came with swords and clubs to arrest Jesus. Why? It was due to their anxiety and fear as they were doing what was not right before God. And every day Jesus was with them in the temple courts, and they did not lay a hand on him. Why? It was because even laying their hand on Jesus, God’s chosen servant, was not up to them. Unless God allowed it, they could not do it. Jesus knew this and let them know it.

And then Jesus said, “But this is your hour—when darkness reigns.” At this time God allowed them to lay a hand on Jesus to arrest him. So this was their hour. At that moment it was likely that they were in control, because Jesus chose to obey the will of God to be arrested and die on the cross. It seemed that they got what they wanted by arresting Jesus and so they were victorious, but Jesus let them know that they were under the reign of darkness. Jesus said this so that they might find themselves and come out of the power of darkness even at this last moment.

There are many people who think, “This is my time, my hour,” after getting what they wanted and apparently becoming successful in the world, not knowing that they are under the reign of darkness. The battle between light and darkness is going on in this world. Because of man’s sin the world became dark and the reign of darkness began. Satan became the prince of this dark world. But Jesus came as the light. In Luke’s gospel Jesus is depicted as the rising sun to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death (1:78-79). He is a light for the Gentiles, meaning a light for all people. He is the light of the world (8:12; 9:5). Since darkness came through man’s sin to the point of reigning the world, light comes through Jesus, who solved our sin problem through his own sacrifice. His reign will cover the whole at God’s time of his coming again, which will be the complete restoration of paradise. As we studied, Jesus said at the Last Super, taking the cup, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you” (Lk 22:20). The new covenant in Jesus’ blood, his outpoured blood, pardons our sins and cleanses our consciences. Jesus prayed on the Mount of Olives, praying more earnestly in anguish until sweat-drops of blood fell to the ground, so that he could die on the cross bearing the heavy burden of our sins upon himself as God’s severe punishment and thus pay the full penalty of sin. In this way Jesus is the light for all those who come to him.

Last Sunday evening God helped us to have a very graceful testimony sharing meeting. Sara in her testimony said that the whole previous past week had been so hard. She had much to do in her study, but she was tired and unmotivated. In her incapability she could not say even a word in any of her classes. Her brain felt deadened and she felt empty. On top of that she could not stand with Jesus and witness to him when there were chances to do so. Her burden of herself and her sin were too heavy for her to bear. She broke down in tears and felt worthless before God. But when she came to Jesus in crying out prayer, she could see Jesus’ welcoming and was deeply moved by his love, his understanding compassion, realizing that he had no tears of his own but sweat-drops of blood for her, and he bore the burden to Calvary and suffered and died alone. She confessed that, "Jesus loved me, even me". She was full of thanks and joy in many tears. All those who heard the testimony were moved to tears along with her because of the love of God. On top of that the Lord Jesus gave her wisdom and strength to finish her assignment and two proposals, which at the time, had seemed impossible. Praise Jesus. One little girl studied Genesis 3 with her mom. When her mom sad, “Satan is the father of lies,” the little girl cried saying, “I lied; I lied” and confessed her sin of lying concretely with many tears. When her mom said, “Jesus died for your sins,” later on she confessed her hidden sins more and more. Then she was set free from her burden of sin and became so joyful and bright. Even a little 5 year-old girl had to repent of her sins and need Jesus, the light. Last Sunday night, when I came back from the gym in our condo, I found that M. Sarah had touched the crazy glue with her bare hands while sticking insoles in the bottom of Sara’s shoes. She tried to remove the crazy glue with soap, but she was unable to do it. She felt that something poisonous was getting into her skin. At that time, I said, “What a crazy woman you are! Though it is good to care for your daughter, how could you touch the crazy glue with your bare hands.” Then we quickly went to the computer and did a google search, “how to remove crazy glue from fingers?” There we find “acetone nail polish remover.” I went to the Shoppers Drug Mart and bought it. It worked. At that moment I realize that sin is like the crazy glue so tightly attached to our soul with poison penetrating into it. There is no remedy for it in this world, but the blood of Jesus. As for me, the sin of fatalism, fear and inferiority complex was like the crazy glue to my soul. It was impossible to remove it with my own strength. But when I came to Jesus believing that he died for all my sins, shedding his precious blood, such crazy things have been removed. When such things come back, I fight fiercely in the name of Jesus and strive to live by faith. While meditation on this passage, I found one dark element of my life, which is insomnia. I realize that it is not a part of light, but of darkness. I have been suffering with this for long years. My wife and children have been praying for me. But I come to the light of Jesus anew asking that he may take away this dark and sick part of my life and enable me to take a deep sleep each night for daily productive life.

The world is dark and the power of darkness reigns through sin. But those who come to Jesus are not under this reign of darkness. Rather they have in the light of life. Jesus said in John 8:12, “Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” This is the reason in this passage Jesus helped Judas to the end to come to the light of Jesus saying, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?” And Jesus wanted his disciples to stay with him not fighting a human battle, saying, “No more of this!” Jesus even healed the wounded ear of the servant of the high priest so that he might also come to the light of Jesus. Furthermore he wanted the religious leaders who came to arrest him to come to the light by recognizing their deed of darkness. In this way Jesus revealed that he is the light even in this short passage. We will see this more in the following part.

Second, Jesus was disowned by Peter (54-62). When we refer to Matthew and Mark (Mt 26:56; Mk 14:50), we find that all the disciples deserted him and fled at this time of Jesus’ arrest. Here in verses 54 and 55, “Then seizing him, they led him away and took him into the house of the high priest. Peter followed at a distance. But when they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter sat down with them.” Peter had to know that the hour was the hour of darkness’ reign and not sit down with them. But he did not know this time of darkness and sat down with them, not guarding his heart at all. In this way he gave a foothold to the devil, the prince of this dark world.

Then what happened? Look at verse 56. “A servant girl saw him seated there in the firelight. She looked closely at him and said, ‘This man was with him.’” Undoubtedly Peter never expected that a servant girl would look closely look at him in the firelight. But she did so and unmistakably said that Peter was with him. But Peter denied it, saying, “Woman, I don’t know him.” A little later someone else saw him and said, “You also are one of them.” “Man, I am not!” Peter replied. About an hour later another asserted, “Certainly this fellow was with him, for he is a Galilean.” Peter replied, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!” In this way Peter denied the Lord Jesus, himself and his conscience. How different this Peter is from the Peter who said, “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death”! (22:53). At that time Jesus had said, “Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.” Here again, Peter was different because he did not know that it was the time of the reign of darkness and had not prayed for not falling into temptation.

Look at verse 60b. “Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed.” Peter must have been shocked at the sound of the rooster’s crow at that moment. How could the roster crow exactly at that moment, just as he was denying Jesus the third time? It was as if the rooster heard the words of Peter’s denial as well as the words of Jesus’ prediction of it. Anyway, it was the signal of Peter’s miserable failure. He could not escape from the failure. But more than that he could not escape from the Lord Jesus who knew him so well and predicted this denial of Peter with 100% accuracy. And this Lord Jesus was right there in his sight to be tried before the high priest. At that moment the Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. This was not accidental turn and accidental look. No. This was the Lord’s purposeful turning and purposeful straight looking-at, sensing Peter was looking at him. And it was because Simon Peter was in the Lord Jesus’ mind even at the time of his trial, not only in the time of eating together at the Last Supper. When we fail, people leave but the Lord Jesus comes. Certainly, the Lord Jesus thought of his own more than his own painful and suffering situation. In this way one on one eye contact was made between the Lord and the failed disciple Peter. The straight look of the Lord Jesus on Peter was his language of love for Peter to turn back to him as he had prayed for him. The look must have been full of grace, full of light of love. At this Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly. Surely, this bitter weeping was the weep of his repentance to turn back to the Lord.

In this part we praise Jesus who wants us to come back to him from any failure at any time. His love is greater than our failures and sins. 2 Timothy 2:13 says, “If we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself.” He is faithful in loving his own; his love indeed endures forever. Jesus is the light through his faithful and enduring love. In Revelation 22:16 Jesus said, “I am the bright Morning Star.” And Lucifer, the chief fallen angel, is called the morning star (Isa 14:12). Satan masquerade himself as an angel of light (2 Cor 14:11). One day the Lord was saying to his servant in prayer like this, “Satan’s light makes your heart cold, but my light makes you warm.” That’s quite understandable. He is the light of love and truth. He wants us to turn to him and fix our eyes on him in this dark world.

In this study we learn that darkness reigns in this world in any generation. But Jesus is the light of the world, the light of all. He does not want us to remain in the reign of darkness but come to him and stay in the reign of his light through repentance and faith in him. May we make every effort fix our eyes on him, the light of love and truth, in this dark world.

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