Holy Week: Day Five: Thursday (con’t)
Yesterday we left off with Jesus and His disciples leaving the Last Supper and heading toward Mount of Olives (Garden of Gethsemane).
Luke 22:39-46(NKJ): Coming out, He went to the Mount of Olives, as He was accustomed, and His disciples also followed Him. 40 When He came to the place, He said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.”
41 And He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and prayed, 42 saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.” 43 Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him. 44 And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.[e] 45 When He rose up from prayer, and had come to His disciples, He found them sleeping from sorrow. 46 Then He said to them, “Why do you sleep? Rise and pray, lest you enter into temptation.”
You can’t exactly see from this version, but Jesus prayed 3 separate times(and twice found His disciples sleeping). I am sure this had to be frustrating and disappointing for Jesus. After all, he is about to go to His death and His disciples can’t even stay awake to pray. I think this also shows us the importance of prayer. Jesus was not about to face what was to come without first going to God.
You will even notice He kind of pleaded with God to spare Him from what is to come. However, he asks that God’s will be done even if it means His death. While Jesus is willing to do whatever God asks of Him, it does not appear Jesus was happy about it. He is so stressed that He is sweating profusely (like drops of blood). I believe this also shows us that we don’t have to be skipping for joy when God gives us a hard assignment, but we do have to be obedient and we do have to pray. Jesus got His strength to face His death through hard core prayer. Luke’s version even says an angel appeared. Let that be a lesson to us, once again, that prayer is essential to carrying out God’s will.
Betrayal and Arrest in Gethsemane (Luke 2:47-53)
47 And while He was still speaking, behold, a multitude; and he who was called Judas, one of the twelve, went before them and drew near to Jesus to kiss Him. 48 But Jesus said to him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?”
49 When those around Him saw what was going to happen, they said to Him, “Lord, shall we strike with the sword?” 50 And one of them struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his right ear.
51 But Jesus answered and said, “Permit even this.” And He touched his ear and healed him.
52 Then Jesus said to the chief priests, captains of the temple, and the elders who had come to Him, “Have you come out, as against a robber, with swords and clubs? 53 When I was with you daily in the temple, you did not try to seize Me. But this is your hour, and the power of darkness.”
“Betrayed with a kiss,” we still hear this phrase used today when referring to those betrayed by someone they love. I am not sure there has been or ever will be a greater betrayal. Jesus loved Judas. Jesus had spent something like 3 years working side by side with this man. They worked together, they slept together (side by side), the ate together, and on and on it goes. Jesus and His disciples were closer than family; yet, Judas gave it all up for money.
Man, betrayals hurt like nothing else. Two years ago I experienced my greatest betrayal to date. I am still trying to recover. I would love to say I handle it with the grace of Jesus, but I struggled at times. However, during the midst of it I was able to reflect on this passage and be reminded of the grace and elegance of Jesus Christ. He set the example for us and it is only to Him should we look for answers. Our feelings want to lead in times such as these, but feelings will lead us straight to sin. During these times we must just focus on doing what we know is right according to the scripture, even if we don’t want to, even if the other party doesn’t deserve it, and even when we are mad at God for allowing it to happen.
Another interesting point during the arrest is that a disciple, Peter, cut off a soldiers’ ear. Jesus was not pleased and even healed the soldier. Jesus is being arrested; he knows what is coming, but he still heals. Talk about grace, mercy, and forgiveness!
Lastly, it is important to note that Jesus was not arrested at the Temple or any other place in Jerusalem even though He had just spent days preaching there. Jesus calls them out on it. Why? To show the injustice of it all; to show the religious leaders’ cowardliness; to show the corruption. Jesus likes when the darkness is brought to light.
Peter Denies Jesus, and Weeps Bitterly ( Luke 22:54-62)
54 Having arrested Him, they led Him and brought Him into the high
priest’s house. But Peter followed at a distance. 55 Now when they had kindled a fire in the midst of the courtyard and sat down together, Peter sat among them. 56 And a certain servant girl, seeing him as he sat by the fire, looked intently at him and said, “This man was also with Him.”
57 But he denied Him,[f] saying, “Woman, I do not know Him.”
58 And after a little while another saw him and said, “You also are of them.”
But Peter said, “Man, I am not!”
59 Then after about an hour had passed, another confidently affirmed, saying, “Surely this fellow also was with Him, for he is a Galilean.”
60 But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are saying!”
Immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster[g] crowed. 61 And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had said to him, “Before the rooster crows,[h] you will deny Me three times.” 62 So Peter went out and wept bitterly.
Jesus’ prediction regarding Peter is dead on. As soon as the third denial comes out of his mouth, Peter realizes what he has done. Regret and remorse are immediately upon him. I can’t relate. I know how it feels to feel like you disappointed Jesus.
It is a little out of sequence, put now would be a could time to take a look at how the two betrayers, Peter and Judas, each handled their quilt.
Judas Hangs Himself (Matthew 27:3-5)
3 Then Judas, His betrayer, seeing that He had been condemned, was remorseful and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, 4 saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.”
And they said, “What is that to us? You see to it!”
5 Then he threw down the pieces of silver in the temple and departed, and went and hanged himself.
Judas, just like Peter, was remorseful. Now, the reasons for his remorse, as hinted to in verse 3, maybe because he was now a condemned man (he got caught) or it could be he truly knew he had done wrong. I believe he went to the priests to get absolution, but they turned him away. These were supposed to be men of God, but instead of trying to help Judas, they turned their backs on him. What do you expect? These were the same men that put Jesus, the Messiah, to death! Anyway, after leaving the money at the priests’ feet when he did not get the absolution he was looking for, Judas killed himself.
Peter, as we see in later chapters, goes to Jesus, and Jesus restores and forgives Peter (John 21:15-19)!
What is the difference? Was Judas’ sin that much greater than Peters? I don’t think so. I think the difference is Peter went to Jesus. Peter was truly sorry. On Easter Sunday when Peter hears about the tomb being empty, he rushes over there because he knows he may just have a chance to make things right. Peter knew he had done wrong and knew Jesus was the only one who could forgive and restore him. Judas on the other hand, felt guilty; the reasons for his guilt or not clear. One thing is for sure, he did not go to Jesus. He did not ask for forgiveness. Yes, he went to the priests, but when they would not help him, he gave up. His shame and guilt were too much for him to bare. My personal opinion is that he was too ashamed to go to Jesus. He did not think Jesus would forgive him. After all, he is still thinking of Jesus in human terms and not as the Messiah. I don’t think the disciples truly understood who Jesus was until after Jesus’ death. Therefore, my human terms, I can understand why Judas did not think Jesus would forgive him.
This brings me to the point of the difference between conviction and condemnation. Peter’s guilt was conviction because it led him to repentance and led him to Christ. Judas’ guilt was condemnation because it led to death. This is how we can determine if our guilt is conviction or condemnation. Conviction will lead you to realize your mistakes, often times it will lead you to want to change, to be better, to try harder, to come closer to God. Condemnation will make you feel worthless, feel bad about yourself, drive you further away from God and closer to sin. Now, that is not to say that conviction won’t cause you to run from God because I personally spent many years running. However, my choice to run was because I didn’t want to give up my sin and not because of negative feelings about myself. Remember:
Conviction: leads to repentance and a relationship with Jesus Christ;
Condemnation: leads to death (sin) and takes you away from Christ.
Let Peter and Judas’ mistakes be lessons for us all. No sin, no mistake is too great for God to forgive. We just have to be willing to lay it all at the feet of Jesus.
I’ll be back with Day 6 shortly!