Questions for Littles: Whom does Jesus tell them is coming in v42? Then who appears immediately, while He is still speaking (v43)? What signal had Judas given them (v44)? How did Judas think Jesus would be led away? What does Judas do in v45? What does the mob do in v46? And what does one of the three who were with Jesus do (v47—we know it was Peter from John 18:10). Whom does Jesus address in v48? What does He ask them? In v49, what explanation does Jesus give for why He had to be taken this way? When they heard this, what did the disciples do in v50? What was one young man still trying to do in v51, when he was seized? What does that young man do when seized?In the Gospel reading this week, we see Jesus betrayed, betrayed, and betrayed.
He knows that these betrayals are coming. As He says, “the Scriptures must be fulfilled.” He said of Judas, “See, My betrayer is at hand.” He had told the disciples that they would all abandon Him, and then in v50 “they all forsook Him and fled.”
But there is one more betrayal, albeit subtle. Notice that in this gospel, the Holy Spirit does not tell us that Jesus healed the servant’s ear, or even that Jesus said anything to Peter.
Instead, the entire focus is on the fact that the swords and clubs were unnecessary. The only problem with that is that Peter used his sword even though they were hopelessly outnumbered.
Isn’t it ironic? Peter, who had been warned that he would betray Jesus, probably thought that he was making a grand stand. And, in its own foolhardy way, it was kind of brave. But while Peter thought that he was defending Jesus’s well-being, what he didn’t realize is that he was betraying Jesus’s character.
“Have you come out, as against a robber…” Jesus says. And Peter acted exactly as if it was that kind of situation. As far as this particular gospel is considered, there’s a severed ear to prove it.
Jesus is not like the false god of Islam, who needs His people to kill in His behalf. He can defend Himself. He is not like the false philosophies of the world, whose adherents argue until they are blue in the face. He has sovereign power to change the hearts of those who disbelieve Him.
In fact, Jesus doesn’t need us at all. But He does give us the privilege of living as those who have hope, and of giving a ready and good answer for that hope. It is a weighty thing to have His name upon us. How will our lives reflect upon Him?
We hope that we will never be in danger of betraying Him like Judas, but is there a possibility that we may end up betraying Him like Peter? May He give us grace to live in such a way as brings honor to His name!
Where do unbelievers see you? How could you bring more honor to Christ at those times?Suggested songs: ARP1 “How Blessed the Man” or HB498 “Heralds of Christ”