In the Fulness of Time/Part 148

By: Dr. Thomas O. Figart; ©2011
The sign of the betrayal was to be that the one Judas greeted with a kiss would be Jesus of Nazareth. The word used in verse 49 indicates that Judas kissed Jesus more than once. This was not so much to pretend great affection as it was to make sure, in the darkness, that enough of the crowd observed it so as to arrest the right man. But this was not the only sign given.

Previous Article

Public Arrest and Trials of the King. Matthew. 26:47-27:32

Betrayal and Arrest of Jesus. Mt. 26:47-56

Judas and the Sign. Mt. 26:47-50

Mt. 26:47-50 “And while he yet spoke, lo, Judas, one of the twelve, came, and with him a great multitude with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and elders of the people. Now he that betrayed him, gave them a sign, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he; hold him fast. And forthwith he came to Jesus, and said, Hail, master, and kissed him. And Jesus said unto him, Friend, why art thou come? Then came they, and laid hands on Jesus, and took him.”

Following immediately after the instructions to the disciples to rise up and go to meet the betrayer, Judas came with a crowd, estimated to be in the hundreds, because of the several groups represented. Those with swords would undoubtedly the Roman soldiers assigned to the governor; those with clubs possibly representing the Temple guards. In addition were the chief priests, scribes (Mark 14:43), Pharisees (John 18:3) and the elders.

The sign of the betrayal was to be that the one Judas greeted with a kiss would be Jesus of Nazareth. The word kataphilesen is used in verse 49, an intensive form of phileo, indicating that Judas kissed Jesus more than once. This was not so much to pretend great affection as it was to make sure, in the darkness, that enough of the crowd observed it so as to arrest the right man. What Judas did was to be a “sign” (semeion), so it had to be obvious. At the same time, his greeting, “Hail, rabbi” helped to identify Jesus as the teacher; in fact, Mark 14:45 records it as “Rabbi, rabbi” making doubly sure that they knew it was Jesus.

Jesus answered, “Friend (hetarai, “acquaintance”) Why art thou come?” This was not because He did not know why Judas had come; rather, it was to emphasize publicly how despicable that one of the twelve, one who had such privilege of knowing the friendship of Jesus, should sink so low as to betray Him. Yet, there were to be other signs which made sure that the officials had arrested the right person.

Peter and the Sword. Mt. 26:51-52

Mt. 26:51-52 “And behold, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest, and smote off his right ear. Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into place; for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.”

It was John (in John 18:10) who named Simon Peter as the disciple who wielded the sword, and who named Malchus as the servant whose ear was severed. The physician Luke (22:51) told how Jesus healed the servant’s ear with a touch; but neither Luke nor John revealed any reaction on the part of those who observed this miracle. Certainly it must have provided a direct sign to identify Christ, the great miracle worker. Some in that multitude must have witnessed previous miracles by Christ. Whether or not they did, this healing gave proof that they had the right man. It is sad, though, that there is no record of any who acknowledged Christ as Savior at that time.

When Jesus said “All they that take the sword shall perish with the sword,” He was not advocating pacifism. This would have contradicted the early prediction of Genesis 9:6: “Whosoever sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed.” It would also have contradicted Romans 13:1-4: “The powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God…. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain, for he is the minister of God, an avenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.”

Thus, what Jesus did say, was that if anyone uses the sword for his own evil purposes, he can be sure that those over him in the government will see that he dies with the sword.

Christ and the Scripture. Mt. 26:53-56

Mt. 26:53-56 “Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? But how, then, shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be? In that same hour Jesus said to the multitudes, Are ye come out as against a thief with swords and clubs to take me? I sat daily with you teaching in the temple, and ye laid no hold on me. But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook him and fled.”

Here again, the seeming conflict between the human will of Jesus and the divine plan of the Father comes into perspective. No sword is needed; He could call upon the Father and presently the Father would send more than twelve legions (over 72,000) of angels to deliver Jesus. But then, how could the Father’s plan of redemption be fulfilled? In verse 56 Jesus repeated this necessity: the scriptures of the prophets must be fulfilled. If it were asked, “Which Scriptures?” many, including Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53 could be cited, but in addition, the very recent quotation by Jesus of Zechariah 13:7 in Matthew 26:31: “All ye shall be offended because of me this night; for it is written, I will smite the shepherd and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered,” was fulfilled in regard to His own disciples: “Then all the disciples forsook him and fled.”

Though Matthew, Mark and Luke do not include it, there is an extended passage in John 18:4-9 which gives a third sign of identification: “Jesus, therefore, knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth and said unto them, Whom seek ye? They answered him, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus saith unto them, I am he. And Judas also, who betrayed him, stood with them. As soon, then as he had said unto them, I am he, they went backward, and fell to the ground. Then asked he them again, Whom seek ye? And they said, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus answered, I have told you that I am he; if, therefore ye seek me, let these go their way. That the saying might be fulfilled, which he spoke, Of them whom thou gavest me, have I lost none.”

In answer to their repeated question, Jesus replied both times with the expression, “Ego, eime” (I, I AM). This is taken to mean that Jesus was claiming to be JEHOVAH! Why else would hardened enemies immediately fall backward and fall to the ground?

Whatever the impression was, it must have been temporary, for they soon led Jesus away to appear before Caiaphas the high priest. “In the fulness of time” every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is LORD!

Read Part 149

Leave a Comment