Matthew 26:49.

Verse of the Day Devotion.  Matthew 26:49.

“And immediately he went to Jesus and said, ‘Hail, Rabbi!’ and kissed Him.” – Matthew 26:49   

After Jesus’ time in prayer in Gethsemane, He went to His disciples and urged them to wake up, for the time had arrived to fulfil the purpose for which He had come. “Then He came to the disciples, and said to them, Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? Behold, the hour is at hand and the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners. Arise, let us be going; behold, the one who betrays Me is at hand!” Matthew 26:45-46. Jesus fully understood what Judas was doing, for he was working with the Pharisees to have Him arrested. And all this for a paltry sum as his reward, thirty pieces of silver.

Now Judas gives the guards a sign as to whom to arrest. “Whomever I shall kiss, He is the one; seize Him.” Matthew 26:48b. And Judas wasted no time in giving this sign. “And immediately he went to Jesus and said, Hail, Rabbi! and kissed Him.” Matthew 26:49. Judas goes to Jesus and warmly greets Him, even giving Him the customary kiss. Now it was getting dark, and therefore Judas needed to show the soldiers who Jesus was in a way they could get Jesus without Judas simply handing Him over. Also, he addressed Jesus by the title Rabbi rather than as Lord. It appears Judas had already stopped believing Jesus was God’s son, or actually never did from the beginning.

Jesus then responds to Judas in a way that was not condemning. “Friend, do what you have come for. Then they came and laid hands-on Jesus and seized Him.” Matthew 26:50. Jesus is being quite calm here. Judas betrayed Him and turned Him over to the soldiers, and even after this He still referred to Judas as friend. After this, the soldiers took hold of Jesus to take Him away. But before they could leave, we read, “And behold, one of those who were with Jesus reached and drew out his sword, and struck the slave of the high priest, and cut off his ear.” Matthew 26:51. Here in Matthew we are not told who this was, nor in Mark or Luke. But John declares who this was. “Simon Peter therefore having a sword, drew it, and struck the high priest’s slave, and cut off his right ear; and the slave’s name was Malchus. Jesus therefore said to Peter, put the sword into the sheath; the cup which the Father has given Me, shall I not drink it?” John 18:10-11. Jesus tells Peter to put the sword away, for this was ordained by His Father for the purpose of paying the penalty for all. And besides, Is the Father’s hands tied? No! “Or do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels? How then shall the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen this way?” Matthew 26:53-54. Then Jesus said to the people there. “Have you come out with swords and clubs to arrest Me as against a robber? Every day I used to sit in the temple teaching and you did not seize Me. But all this has taken place that the Scriptures of the prophets may be fulfilled. Then all the disciples left Him and fled.” Matthew 26:55-56.

The apostle John wrote the following, “the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.” 1 John 2:6. Jesus accomplished exactly what His Father sent Him here to do. And He trusted His Father to be there with Him, knowing that everything that happens to Him is allowed by His Father for the express purpose of providing salvation to all who believe and live it. And we must do the same. Do we believe God would leave us on our own during times of trial and tribulations? He would never do that. Moses wrote to the Israelites. “Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the LORD your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6. And the writer of Hebrews wrote, “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, I will never leave you nor forsake you. So we can confidently say, The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?” Hebrews 13:5-6. And finally, Paul wrote that whatever we go through will end good. “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28. There is nothing that happens that surprises God, or that He did not know about before it happened. “Remember this and stand firm, recall it to mind, you transgressors, remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,” Isaiah 46:8-10. As Jesus trusted completely in God the Father no matter the circumstances, we should as well. He is always with us, and He can do anything. Therefore, we can rest in this trust. And as the end comes closer, we can trust that He will help us through all that comes our way. What more could we ask for?

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.

Luke 22:47

Verse of the Day Devotion.  Luke 22:47 

“While He was still speaking, behold, a multitude came, and the one called Judas, one of the twelve, was preceding them; and he approached Jesus to kiss Him.” – Luke 22:47 

This verse addresses the betrayal by one of His twelve disciples, Judas, that ended in the arrest of Jesus, and ultimately His death. First, lets go back a bit at the deal he made with the Chief Priests. “Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which is called the Passover, was approaching. And the chief priests and the scribes were seeking how they might put Him to death; for they were afraid of the people.” Luke 22:1-2. The Jewish leadership believed that if Jesus continued with what He was doing, their positions of leadership may be minimized or forever abolished. This was not acceptable to them, so they were looking for ways to capture and then kill Him without angering the people.

Next, based on the next set of verses, Satan was working with the leadership. “And Satan entered into Judas who was called Iscariot, belonging to the number of the twelve. And he went away and discussed with the chief priests and officers how he might betray Him to them. And they were glad and agreed to give him money. And he consented and began seeking a good opportunity to betray Him to them apart from the multitude. Luke 22:3-6. Based on this verse, Judas was not a true follower of Christ, or in today’s vernacular, a Christian.  They can be influenced by them, but not possessed by them. But specifically regarding Judas, he continually did wrong for His own benefit. Here is one example. “But Judas Iscariot, one of His disciples, who was intending to betray Him, said, Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii, and given to poor people? Now he said this, not because he was concerned about the poor, but because he was a thief, and as he had the money box, he used to pilfer what was put into it.” John 12:4-6. He would actually steal money from Jesus. And I would go on to say that Satan, using Judas’ body, worked out a deal with the chief priests.

Now, we come to our focus verse. “While He was still speaking, behold, a multitude came, and the one called Judas, one of the twelve, was preceding them; and he approached Jesus to kiss Him.” Luke 22:47. Now, it is important to understand why Judas would kiss Him. In the culture of first-century Israel, a kiss was not always a romantic expression of love; rather, a kiss on the cheek was a common greeting, a sign of deep respect, honor, and brotherly love. We see this in the writings of Peter, “Greet one another with a kiss of love. Peace be to you all who are in Christ.” 1 Peter 5:14. The type of kiss mentioned here is considered a ‘holy kiss’ through much of the New Testament. Also, for a student who had great respect for his teacher, a kiss fell well within the healthy expression of honor.

However, what really stands out in the mode of Judas’s betrayal is that Judas used such an intimate expression of love and respect to betray Jesus. Judas’s actions were, without question, hypocritical to an extreme. His actions essentially said, ‘I respect and honor you,’ while at the very same time betraying Him to be murdered. His actions can be seen illustrated in Proverbs. “Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But deceitful are the kisses of an enemy.” Proverbs 27:6. Often, foes disguise themselves as friends when they are not. Actually, they are deceivers wearing a mask to conceal their true purpose. And this is what Judas did with Jesus.  He came dressed in the costume of an intimate friend. And as a side note, we need to be careful with this as well.

Jesus was betrayed by one who pretended being an intimate friend, to the point that he kissed Jesus as a sign of who was to be arrested. And when the betrayal was in process Jesus asked Judas, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?” Luke 22:48. Jesus knew this would happen, and so the question was rhetorical.  But Jesus still loved him and it was no doubt painful to see Judas playing out what He knew would come. How difficult this may have been, but it shows His following what He taught. “But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” Luke 6:27-28.  This is a perfect picture of love as laid out by our Messiah, who showed us here, through His arrest, what true love actually looks like.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.