“While he was still speaking a crowd came up, and the man who was called Judas, one of the Twelve, was leading them. He approached Jesus to kiss him, 48 but Jesus asked him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?” 49 When Jesus’ followers saw what was going to happen, they said, “Lord, should we strike with our swords?” 50 And one of them struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear. 51 But Jesus answered, “No more of this!” And he touched the man’s ear and healed him. 52 Then Jesus said to the chief priests, the officers of the temple guard, and the elders, who had come for him, “Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come with swords and clubs? 53 Every day I was with you in the temple courts, and you did not lay a hand on me. But this is your hour—when darkness reigns.” Luke 22.47-53
”But now this is your hour,” Jesus said, “when darkness reigns.
Surely you have heard the phrase, “things are going to get worse before they get better?” A pessimist would certainly lean in to this statement. But in the case of the arrest of Jesus on the Mount of Olives, this was absolutely true. For Jesus was just now beginning his time of suffering and death. It would lead to better things, like the resurrection, but until that point, things would have to get much worse before they got better.
The crowd came at him with clubs and torches, swords and sticks. It was a mob worked into a frenzy by the devil himself. A crazed group of people filled with evil and hate, led by Judas himself who would betray Jesus with a kiss. And even Jesus’ own disciples got caught up in the action, one of the disciples (it was Peter, according to another Gospel writer), drew his sword and chopped off one of the ears of the servant of the high priest. This really was a crazy and cowardly act by the future leader of the early church.
In the midst of all this chaos, on both sides of the aisle, stands Jesus. Surrounded by sin, evil and violence. Shrouded in self-control and Spirit-guided, the Christ awaits his fait. “No more of this!” he shouts to Peter and reaching toward the bloodied stump of an ear restores the man immediately. He’s Purity in the middle of pandemonium.
”Am I leading a rebellion?” Jesus asked? “You’ve comes with sword and clubs?” Everyday I was with you in the temple courts, and you did not lay a hand on me. But this is your hour — when darkness reigns.” And so, Jesus submitted. He allowed the wheel of time to take control, to obey his purpose, his destiny, leading to his defeat. Surrounded by evil, but gently guided by God’s Spirit, Jesus relinquished his will to the Father.
Never will any of us face persecution this extreme. None of us will ever confront this level of injustice. We are guilty of sin, but Jesus was the pure, blameless Son of God. “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God,” 2 Cor. 5.21. He who was without shame became the shame of God. All of our iniquities were laid upon Jesus as he carried that cross to the hill of Golgotha.
It begins with the arrest and really gets much worse. We rest in the horror of the moment, standing in the shoes of his followers whose hope was in Jesus. God’s perfect gift, taken to the cross.
”O Lord God, to relive these moments in our minds is important for us to understand the significance of your pain and loss. The resurrection will follow, but until then, your agony was immense. We shouldn’t ignore your pain and suffering but with gratitude honor you and the memory of the moment. Come now, Holy Spirit. Fill us with your power and love. Help us be motivated to live deeply for you, grounded in your truth, surrounded by your love. That the world might know the hope of your promise. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen