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"No sooner were the words out of His mouth than a crowd showed up, Judas, the one from the Twelve, in the lead. He came right up to Jesus to kiss Him. Jesus said, 'Judas, you would betray the Son of Man with a kiss?'
"When those with Him saw what was happening, they said, 'Master, shall we fight?' One of them took a swing at the Chief Priest's servant and cut off his right ear.
"Jesus said, 'Let them be. Even in this.' Then touching the servant's ear, He healed him." Luke 22:47-51 (The Message).
Picture the scene. A mob, led by Judas, one of Jesus' followers, moves menacingly towards Jesus, brandishing swords and clubs. Luke does not mention who was in charge. John tells us that there were soldiers and officials from among the crowd, sent by the chief priests to arrest Him.
Instead of slinking away into the darkness among the tress, Jesus steps forward to meet them. Judas has a pre-arranged signal - 'the one I kiss' - to identify Him. A gentle rebuke from Jesus, 'Judas, you would betray the Son of Man with a kiss?' does not even touch his hardened heart. How bizarre that Judas would choose a greeting of affection to show the soldiers whom to grab. This was surely an idea straight from Satan whom Luke said had taken possession of him.
The disciples react in a typically human way. "Boys, let's fight." Their entire disciple training to be followers of Jesus and to wear the Rabbi's yoke goes straight out of the window. What happened to "Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you'' and, "Turn the other cheek"? They are in no apparent danger. The soldiers are only interested in Jesus.
One of the disciples, the ever-impulsive Peter, lashes out with his sword - slicing off the ear of the one nearest to him. It happens to be Malchus, a high-ranking servant of the high priest. Now there's going to be trouble! That action immediately involves the disciples and puts them in danger of arrest along with Jesus.
In the midst of the tumult, Jesus keeps His cool and remains who He is, the Son of Man and the Son of God. He stands as God's representative and does what His Father does - restores the man's severed ear.
What would Malchus remember of that whole incident when he lay in bed that night? Would he ever forget the face of the man they arrested as a criminal, the man who reattached his ear and miraculously stopped the pain and bleeding, in the middle of His own crisis? Would he ever understand the words and attitude of Jesus - "'Let them be. Even in this'"? Six simple words in a paraphrase version, but loaded with significance!
Jesus had once informed His opponents, 'No one takes my life from me. I have the power to lay it down and I have the power to take it up again. This was given to me by my Father.' In that statement He pulls the rug from under His enemies' feet. They may think that they are in charge but they cannot do a thing to Him without His Father's permission and His submission.
His statement also clearly indicates who takes responsibility for His arrest, trial and crucifixion - all those who were implicated in the event. This is a perfect example of God's sovereignty working together with man's responsibility. Our little brains will never be able to work out how He did it.
It was God's plan, devised before the foundation of the world, working perfectly to effect man's salvation but implemented through man's wickedness so that God's glory - His disposition of compassion and mercy, could be put on display. Wow!
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