The most extraordinary few verses ever written. Who could have believed it? One of Jesus’ own, Judas, one of his very disciples, acts to betray him. And does it so apparently callously: with a kiss. The logic of sin is illogical; the rationality of evil is irrationality; trying to understand evil is impossible, for evil is the opposite of all truth and beauty and light, and exists in darkness and confusion. Do not bang your head against the brick wall of understanding the origin of evil; instead, let light shine in your hearts through the gospel of Jesus Christ, the light that shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.
One of the other disciples attempts to defend Jesus with a sword. He took his warning earlier (22:37) too literally, and cuts off the ear of the servant of the high priest. Jesus stops any further fighting. He could command legions of angels to defend him, but this is all happening according to his will. While the state bears the sword (Romans 13), the church of Christ is not to do so, for our fight is not against flesh and blood, but the spiritualities and powers of this dark world, and we have weapons not of this world, but that have divine power to demolish strongholds. Prayer, God’s Word, the sword of the Spirit, maintaining the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace, these have been the ways that the church centered on the gospel has triumphed across the lands and ages—and such is the biblical means we have for spiritual warfare.
Jesus actually heals the servant who has come out to arrest him. Such is the condescension and grace of the Lord that he heals those who have come to harm, preaches to those who have come to hurt, and saves those who are sinners. What love is this? Let not evil triumph over good, returning evil for evil, but return good for evil, and in that way we pour the burning coals of the conviction of the Spirit on those who oppose the gospel.
They come to arrest him. They come with swords and clubs. Jesus, again mercifully exposing their hypocrisy, asks why they did not arrest him earlier, in the light, when he was in the temple. The answer, of course, is that they could not for fear of the people. Dark deeds are done out of the sight of other people. Such was the hour, and and such is the power of darkness.
But dark though it be, it will not overcome the light—Christ will die according to his will and for his purposes and glory and for our salvation. And he will rise again!
To receive God Centered Bible devotionals directly in your inbox, sign up here.