Listen to this lesson to be transported to a time in the Garden of Gethsemane when Satan, having possessed Judas Iscariot, believes he has triumphed over God and won the angelic conflict at last! See how Jesus shows that God is in control when He identifies Himself as “I AM” and goes toward the mob. Find out there were many illegalities in Jesus’ arrest. Learn the nature of Judas’ kiss of betrayal. Understand that when we face our own adversities we can be confident that God is always in control.
This lesson also includes Luke 22:47–53 and John 18:2–11.
The notes link below includes “The Betrayal and Arrest” chronological reading of this event that Dr. Dean developed at the beginning of this class.
Betrayer and Betrayal
Matt 26:47–56; Mark 14:43–52; Luke 22:47–53; John 18:2–11
Matthew Lesson #175
October 29, 2017
“Father, we’re so grateful that You revealed to us the things that we can learn about our Lord Jesus Christ, the details about these last few days before He was crucified, especially as we’re studying the very night when He was taken in His betrayal and arrest.
“Father, we pray that as we study this, we will come to a much greater appreciation for who our Lord is, His graciousness and kindness, even to His enemies.
“Also Father, we pray that we might learn something about how we should be responding to those who are antagonistic and hostile to us.
“Father, we pray that You would guide and direct our thinking and focus as we study Your Word together.
“In Christ’s name, amen.”
Open your Bibles with me to Matthew 26:47.
The focus in this section is on the betrayer of Jesus—Judas; and His betrayal. The word “betrayal” brings up a number of ideas in our mind. It speaks of disloyalty; it speaks of treason.
It is the act of betraying someone to whom we are allegedly devoted. It is the idea of betraying our nation, our country, a king, a ruler, someone in authority, someone who’s sovereign.
When we think about traitors in history, there may be different ones that come to your mind, but if you are an American, probably the traitor that comes to your mind is Benedict Arnold, who was a general in the Continental Army in the American War for Independence. He was a key general at the key battle—the battle there was a turning point in the American War for Independence at Saratoga.
Then later, because he was upset that he didn’t get enough recognition and respect for that victory, he decided to go over to the British. He was commanding and had responsibilities at a fort at West Point, long before there was military academy there, and for a price he was going to turn it over to the British. It was discovered, and he was found out.
For those familiar with ancient history, we also have the story of Brutus, who was the nephew of Julius Caesar. He was very close to Caesar, and he got involved in a conspiracy against Caesar. Despite his close friendship, he betrayed Caesar and joined a conspiracy to assassinate him.
He is made famous by that line in Shakespeare’s play, “Julius Caesar”, where Caesar sees him coming to stab him and says “Et tu, Brute?” and even so, he fell.
During World War II, one of the more famous traitors at that time was a Norwegian bureaucrat and politician by the name of Vidkun Quisling. He founded the Nasjonal Samling fascist party in Norway, and after the Nazis conquered Norway, he was set up as the governor in a puppet government that the Nazis established.
His name became synonymous with anyone who was a traitor and a collaborator with the enemy. A lot of people have heard somebody referred to as a “Quisling.” They don’t know anything about where that term came from.
If you’re familiar with British history, one name stands out and that’s Guy Fawkes. Next Sunday is November 5, and in the British-influenced countries they will celebrate Guy Fawkes Day.
Guy Fawkes was a young idealistic Englishmen who during the time of the Protestant Reformation in the late 1500s converted back to Roman Catholicism. He left England to serve with the Catholic Spanish armies in the Reformation and the 30 Years’ War and on the continent.
When he returned to England, he joined a group of conspirators who thought that they would win the day by blowing up the British Parliament Building with Parliament sitting there. He was dispatched to guard the gunpowder.
They had brought 36 barrels of gunpowder into the basement of the House of Lords, and they were going to blow it up. The plot was discovered and he was arrested and sentenced to be hanged and drawn and quartered.
Rather than going through that torture, when they put them up on the scaffold, he jumped and fell to his death, committing suicide rather than going through the torture.
There is a British nursery rhyme to commemorate that that goes,
“Remember, remember the fifth of November.
Gunpowder treason, and plot.
I see no reason why gunpowder and treason
Should ever be forgot.”
So they celebrate with fireworks and other incendiary and explosive devices every November 5.
Those are some of the treasons, and if you look it up on the Internet you’ll see those and a number of others mentioned, but the worst traitor of all time is Judas Iscariot, for his treason is a traitorous act against the King of kings and Lord of lords, against the sovereign Creator of the universe.
Yet it was a treasonous act that, to quote from another event earlier in Scripture with Joseph that they “meant it for evil but God meant it for good.” As is God’s capability, He turned that treasonous act into that which would lead to the death of Christ on the Cross for our sins.
This event is described—the betrayal and arrest of Jesus—is described in Matthew 26:47–56 and in the parallel passages, in Mark 14:43–52, Luke 22:47–53, and John 18:2–11. Luke and John especially provide a few insights as to what was going on that are not listed in Matthew, so we are going to walk our way through this combined account of what took place when Jesus was betrayed and arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane.
As we have studied in the previous section, Jesus left the upper room. He walked along the Kidron Valley. Somewhere in there before He got to Gethsemane, He prayed another prayer.
He was teaching the disciples that which is recorded in John 14, 15, and 16, and then somewhere in there He stopped and He prayed that which is referred to as His “High Priestly Prayer,” praying to the Father. That all takes place—we’re not covering that, which all takes place—between the Seder Passover Meal in John 13 and John 18 which is where these events begin.
Then John is silent about what happened in Gethsemane, and he goes directly to the betrayal in John 18:2, and that’s about where we will begin, so you might keep your place in Matthew 26 and go ahead and turn to John 18.
We studied how Jesus prayed three times. The disciples could not stay awake, they couldn’t watch and pray as Jesus directed them, and then at the end He addresses them.
The passage we’re studying begins in Matthew 26:47, “And while He was still speaking, behold, Judas, one of the twelve, with a great multitude with swords and clubs, came from the chief priests and elders of the people.”
As we look at this, there are four things that we will look at, maybe only three today; there are actually six different sections to go through; we won’t get through all of them today. We may or may not get to #4.
1. The arrival of the crowd in Matthew 26:45–47.
2. The backdrop: what has happened already in terms of the conspiracy of the Sanhedrin and Judas’ determination to betray the Lord. Matthew 26:3–5
3. The kiss of betrayal described in Matthew 26:48–49 and Mark 14:44.
Going to John, the demonstration of
4. The authority of the Son of God in John 18:4–7.
We look at the arrival of the crowd, what took place. Jesus is with His disciples; it’s quiet; it’s been a time of prayer. It has been so quiet that the disciples have been falling asleep, like many people in Bible class, which I understand falling asleep and not paying attention, not watching and praying.
At the conclusion of that time Jesus said to them, Matthew 26:45–46, “Behold the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners.”
His instruction to James and John and Peter is, “Rise, let us be going. See My betrayer is at hand.”
The time is now well past midnight on Thursday. It is, according to the Jewish calendar, the 14th of Nisan. The calendar that’s followed by the Jews in Judea began at sunset. That’s the 14th of Nisan: from sunset Thursday night to sunset on Friday night.
The disciples would be following the Galilean calendar, so their date changes at midnight. It’s was the 14th until midnight, which allowed them to celebrate a Seder on the 14th. Then the 15th is the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. That date shift has just occurred at midnight for them.
Jesus has prayed to the Father. He has resolved His commitment to go to the Cross and to drink the cup. The cup represents what takes place on the Cross when He dies spiritually. When He says, “drink the cup,” as I’ve talked about in the previous weeks, “the cup” represents judgment.
It goes back to the Old Testament where many times the pouring out of God’s judgment on Israel, on other people, is described as the pouring out of a cup. So Jesus is talking about the cup of judgment for sin, when God the Father imputes to Him or credits to Him all the sins of the human race.
All of your sins, all of my sins, all of the sins of humanity are poured out on Jesus of Nazareth while He hung on the Cross, specifically between twelve noon and 3 PM, when the skies are dark. Then we are told in 2 Corinthians 5:21, that “He who knew no sin was made sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
This is what He looked forward to with such sorrow, such intense emotion, is for the perfectly righteous Son of God, who could not look on sin to become sin in the sense of a receiving the judicial penalty and the separation from God the Father.
Spiritual death during those three hours brought about the most incredible, intense, extreme pain that you and I could—we can’t imagine. It goes beyond anything that we could think. It goes beyond the horrors of the physical torture and suffering that He endured between His arrest and being crucified on the Cross.
As Jesus speaks to Peter, James, and John He draws their attention to what is happening. He says, “Behold …” twice. The word in the Greek is IDOU, which means pay attention, wake up, note, look at what’s happening—“… the hour is at hand ...”
Matthew 26:46, He says, “Rise, let us be going …” The New King James translates it there as “see,” but it’s the same word. He’s drawing their attention to this particular event. He wants them to recognize that the betrayal of the Savior of the World is about to take place.
The perfectly righteous God-Man is going to be taken into the hands of the pagan Romans, as well as the anti-grace, anti-Bible, legalistic religious leaders of Israel. This is one of the most horrific demonstrations in history of the evil of religion.
Remember, religion is the devil’s tool; religion is the devil’s invention. This comes to play—we will see something interesting going on in the text with this. It is the devil’s lie that we can somehow impress God with who we are or what we do, and that if we are sincere, if we are good, if we do the right things, then God will bless us.
Whereas, Christianity is about a relationship: a relationship with Jesus Christ based on what He did on the cross. God does all the work and we accept that on the basis of what Christ did on the Cross. Biblical Christianity is not about works. It is about faith.
James tells us that faith without works is dead, but he’s not talking about salvation. James is talking about if we believe that Jesus died on the Cross, then to be consistent, we should grow and mature and apply that which we have learned. That’s what he means by works. He’s not talking about saving faith when he’s talking about faith without works is dead. He is talking about the faith of the Christian life coming after salvation.
Now as Jesus is talking to the disciples, Matthew 26:47, “And while He was still speaking, behold, Judas, one of the twelve, with a great multitude with swords and clubs came from the chief priests and elders of the people.”
I want you to think just a little bit about this scene: Judas is coming. Just as a side note, Judas is identified as one of the Twelve. Each of the gospel writers just refers to him as one of the Twelve. They don’t call Him any horrible names, they don’t vent their anger at Judas for what he did, and even though at this point he is betraying the Lord, they still identify him as one of the Twelve.
I think the reason they do that is because it brings out the grace of God, that he is still treated as one of the group, he is still treated with kindness and generosity, and he is not treated with anger and animosity and vindictiveness.
He comes with a great multitude. Now we will see what’s involved in that in just a minute as we go to the John 18:2 passage, but they’re coming after Jesus, whose got 11 men with Him—a fishermen, a former tax collector, a few others. Outside of the two swords that Jesus told them to bring, they’re really not armed, and yet they have this large multitude coming with swords and clubs.
What are they afraid of? They’re afraid of God, and that’s what’s being exhibited here.
They’ve had a couple times before when they’ve sought to grab Jesus, and He just sort of disappeared into thin air. But they come with authority, with chief priests, and with the elders of the people.
Mark 14:43 tells us—again notice he called Judas one of the Twelve—and he comes with the chief priests and the scribes and the elders. The point of this repetition is that they come with the local authorities, not just the Roman authorities, which we will see in John 18.
Not just the Roman authorities, but also the temple police, the chief priests, the representatives of all the different groups in the Sanhedrin: the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders.
In Luke 22:47 we’re told that Judas came out from the group and he went before them, drew near to Jesus to kiss Him. Now that’s pretty much of a summary statement; other things are going on there.
John 18:1–2, after Jesus has crossed the Kidron Valley, after He has prayed the High Priestly Prayer of John 17, John tells us, “When Jesus had spoken these words …”—the High Priestly Prayer—“… He went out with His disciples over the Brook Kidron, where there was a garden, which He and His disciples entered.”
Then he just skips over Jesus taking Peter, James, and John aside, Jesus’ three prayers, he skips over all of that, and he just says, “And Judas, who betrayed Him.”
That’s the other way we see Judas described, very simply, two or three times he’s simply described as the one who betrayed Jesus. There are no insults; he’s not called any names. He’s just simply identified as either one of the Twelve or he’s identified as the one who betrayed Jesus.
There is one time when our Lord, in John 17:12, referred to him as the “son of perdition.” Again, not an insult, but a description that he is bound for eternal judgment. The noun “perdition,” is the same word that is translated “perishing” in John 3:16: that tells us of his eternal destiny. He was clearly not a believer. He was a traitor against God.
Judas knew of this place, knew it was a quiet place, knew that this was where Jesus would be, and so he brings this crowd with him.
One thing that I want to point out as we start this, is that this is an event that is taking place at night. We know that they’re coming with lanterns and torches, again indicating nighttime, and this indicates the first of what Arnold Fruchtenbaum identifies as 22 legal regulations that are broken in the process of Jesus’ arrest and trial.
Religious authorities were prohibited by their laws—the religious laws and regulations of the Pharisees and Sadducees—from arresting anyone as a result of a bribe. That was exactly what had happened. They had bribed Judas, and he had betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. So this violates their own law.
When they came, John 18:3, they came with a detachment of troops—these are the Roman troops that are sent with them. The Greek word is SPEIRA, which refers to a Roman cohort. A Roman cohort was the 10th part of a legion, which was approximately 600 men.
If they were an auxiliary unit it would be between 500 and maybe as high as 1,000. Let’s just say they had 500 or 600 men with them. They have these Roman soldiers along with the Temple Mount police, along with the chief priests and Pharisees, who make up the Sanhedrin.
This is another problem that is a violation of their rule of law: there were not to be any criminal proceedings after sunset, and the purpose was to avoid nighttime.
We live in such an electric-lit world that we do not really understand what nighttime was like in the ancient world, where there were very few lights. There were just lamps and torches and that’s it. It’s not illuminated like it is now, so many nefarious things took place under the cover of darkness.
So to prevent these kinds of conspiracies, they could not have any criminal proceedings during the night. Also, there may have been another legal problem here. To get a cohort of Roman soldiers released to the Jews, they would have already had to have gone to Pilate.
That’s why when Jesus is taken to Pilate for His first trial, Pilate is already awake. It’s three or four in the morning; he’s already up, he’s already awake. He knows what’s going on because they’ve already awakened him in order to get him to release a Roman cohort to go with them to arrest Jesus.
There were 500 or 600 Roman soldiers. There may have been as many as 100 to 300 or 400 others that made up the crowd. So obviously they had the numerical advantage—anywhere from 700 or 800 to 1,200—and yet they were overly armed for the process.
Though Jesus is faced with his huge mob, what we will see is that He has courage, He is committed to the Lord’s plan for His life, and He’s the One who takes the initiative and walks out toward them.
As the writer of Hebrews 12:2 points out, “For the joy set before Him, He endured the cross.” He understood God’s plan for His life, and He marched toward it.
The next thing we see is back in Matthew 26, where we are reminded of the backdrop, and that is the conspiracy of the Sanhedrin.
This is going to violate their law as well, because they are not to be involved in a conspiracy, they are not to be involved in the arrest, and yet that is what’s going to take place. They determined two days before Passover that they were going to murder Jesus.
This is seen in Matthew 26:3–5, “Then the chief priests…”—notice the groups that are identified: all would be members of the Sanhedrin—“... the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders of the people assembled at the palace of the high priest, who is called Caiaphas …”
They had implicated Caiaphas as well in this conspiracy—“… and plotted to take Jesus by trickery …”—not by law, by trickery. They’re going to trump up charges against Him “… and kill Him.”
But they want to make sure it’s “…not during the feast”, because they don’t want to get the crowds upset. They wanted to time it, so that it was after the feast when people had gone home. But as usual, God has the ability to override human decisions and to accomplish His will.
Judas is soon mentioned in Matthew 26:14 as the one God will use to move up their plan. Judas is mentioned, starting in verse 14, as the one who will betray Him, and will come to the chief priests.
Judas was an interesting individual. As we’ll see, when Jesus began to identify him as the one who would betray Him at the Passover meal, when He announces that He’s going to identify him, all the other disciples are looking at each other like, “Who’s it going to be?” Nobody suspected Judas; nobody thought it would be him. As far as his external behavior was concerned, he looked like the other 11 disciples. He was not the one they would have suspected at all, which makes it rather interesting.
Jesus clearly identified him as an unbeliever. I mentioned this verse earlier, where Jesus called him the son of perdition. Further, as we look at what took place in Matthew, after the Pharisees had determined that they were going to murder Jesus, the next thing we’re told about Judas is that Judas, again identified as one of the Twelve, went to the chief priests.
We learn that Luke tells us what motivates him, but he had already made that decision on his own. Matthew 26:14–16, he went to the chief priests and said, “ ‘What are you willing to give me if I deliver Him to you?’ and they counted out to him thirty pieces of silver.”
In the law 30 pieces of silver was the price of a slave, so he was going to betray Jesus for the price of a slave. “From that time, he sought an opportunity to betray Him.”
This was two days before Passover, so this was on Tuesday, roughly, and he was looking for an opportunity to betray Jesus. They didn’t want Jesus betrayed; they didn’t want it to take place until after the feast was over, which was another eight or nine days. But something happened, and that is that Judas became Satan possessed.
We’re told in Luke 22:3, in conjunction with these same events, that “Satan entered Judas, surnamed Iscariot, who was numbered among the twelve.”
There’s a lot of discussion as to what Iscariot means. One view is that it’s a small village; we don’t really know where it was. There’s one that’s listed in Moab that has a similar name, Kiryat, and that he would be from that village, and that’s what this name means.
There is also the view that there were assassins who were known as the Sicarii because they used a Sicarii-type dagger to commit assassinations, and maybe he was part of that group, but that’s just really pulling ideas out of out of thin air. No one really knows why he is surnamed Iscariot, but he is one of the Twelve.
The important thing here is this verb when it says, “Satan entered Judas,” is the same word that is typically used to describe demon possession in a number of other passages. The basic word is ERCHOMAI; that’s the key word. It has several prefixes that can be attached to it. EIS means to go into, so EISERCHOMAI means to enter into something.
EX is the preposition to come out, and it means to come out of something, so when Jesus cast out demons, the word that is used as either EKBALLO, to cast out, and then when He has cast out a demon, we are told that the demon came out of someone, EXERCHOMAI.
Every time you have EISERCHOMAI and EXERCHOMAI used in these passages of demon possession, it tells us that the demon goes into somebody, or goes into the pigs, or comes out of somebody, or comes out of the pigs. It’s a technical term that helps us understand what demon possession is.
There’s a lot of debate over that because some people want to scare Christians into thinking that you can be demon possessed. I remember when I was in college and the first movie, The Exorcist came out, going with a friend of mine with whom I am still close friends.
We grew up together in church, and we had more fun watching everybody get scared and squirm because they had no knowledge of demonology or Satanology, and so they were scared that this could happen to them. Since we understood the Bible a little bit, we knew that this was not something to be afraid of. That’s what this means: it is demon or Satan possession.
In fact, what happened with Judas is that a couple of days before the betrayal, the Passover, Satan entered into Judas, and that stimulated him as he went to betray the Lord for the 30 pieces of silver.
Then you get to the Passover meal description in John 13:2, at the end of the supper, the Seder meal, “… the devil having already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon son, to betray Him.” That refers back to the Luke 22 passage. That’s related to satanic possession.
John 13:10–11 as Jesus is washing the feet of the disciples, Peter says, “You’re not going to wash my feet.” Jesus makes the point that “if you don’t let me wash your feet, you won’t have an inheritance with Me in the kingdom.” That’s what the word “part” means; it’s a term for a share in inheritance.
Jesus said to Peter, “He who is bathed …”—that’s a full bath. The term LOUO means completely cleansed—“… needs only to wash his feet.”
A complete bath indicates that total cleansing we have at salvation. What this is depicting is the need for ongoing cleansing in terms of confession of sin—not a complete washing that happens at salvation—but just washing your feet, as it were.
This is what the priests in the Old Testament did when they were anointed. They had a complete body wash, and then when they entered the Temple, they didn’t ever have to have the complete ritual body wash again. They would just go in to the laver and wash their hands and wash their feet.
Two different words are used in the Greek for a full wash versus a small wash and that’s what we have here. When Jesus says this, He says, “He who is bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you.”
What He is saying is “you, Peter, are clean but not all of you disciples” because there’s one that’s not. The rest are clean; that is, the rest are saved, but there’s one that’s not.
Here John clarifies for us what this means in John 13:11, “For He knew who would betray Him; therefore He said, ‘You are not all clean.’ ” He makes it clear: the one is not clean who is Judas, who is going to betray Him; again, indicating Judas was not a believer.
In John 13:18 Jesus says, “I do not speak concerning all of you. I know whom I have chosen; but that the Scriptures may be fulfilled, ‘He who eats bread with Me has lifted up his heel against Me.’ ”
In John 13:18, there is this reference to this prophecy that comes from Psalm 41:9, that He would be betrayed by a friend. Jesus alludes to that and He is making it clear that this is the one who will betray Him.
The response of the disciples was, “Who is it?” They look “at one another, perplexed about whom He spoke.”
It is clear that Judas is Satan possessed, Judas is not a believer. Judas is the son of perdition, destined to spend eternity in the Lake of Fire.
What happens is that, as they are there at that Seder Meal and Jesus is identifying Judas as the betrayer, Judas says, “Oh, my plot’s been exposed. We’re in trouble. I need to deliver Him now. Otherwise, He’ll have time to escape.” This is how the plot gets moved up.
So, Judas then left the meal, and he goes to Caiaphas, the chief priest, and he says, “If we don’t take Him now, then He’s going to get away.” That moved up the timeline. They’re going to have to take Him now in the midst of the feast.
So, they go to Pilate, because they’re afraid that they don’t have enough men. They’re going to get a cohort of Roman troops to go capture this one Man. Then they have Judas with them: Judas knows that this is where Jesus goes with His disciples. It’s a quiet place.
It’s away from the crowds in the city, so we can safely, quietly capture Him at the Garden of Gethsemane. Let’s hurry up and go now. So, this is why there is this confusion. This is why they’re violating all of these laws because it’s a last-minute change of plans and everything seems to be falling apart.
In Luke 22:52 we’re told, “Then Jesus said to the to the chief priests, the captains of the temple …”—that’s the captains of the temple police—“… and the elders.”
John tells us Pharisees were also there. This again is a violation of their law. Judges and Sanhedrin members were not allowed to participate in the arrest of a criminal. They were supposed to stay neutral and participation in the arrest would indicate a lack of objectivity. We’re told that they come out, and they are armed to the teeth and ready to attack.
Then we have the next episode which is the “kiss of betrayal.”
Now this is really interesting. Something we slip by just a little too quickly. It’s described in Matthew 26:48–49 and in Mark 14:44. Here’s what we read, “Now His betrayer …”—of course, that’s Judas—“… had given them a sign …”
He said, “Okay, this is how you are going to know Jesus from the other 11,” because the Roman guards wouldn’t have been able tell one Jew from another one: they all looked the same to them. He says, “ ‘… whomever I kiss, He is the One; seize Him.’ Immediately, he goes to Jesus and says, ‘Greetings, Rabbi!’ and kissed Him.”
Mark tells us in Mark 14:44–45, “Now His betrayer had given them a signal saying, ‘Whomever I kiss, He’s the One; seize Him and lead Him away safely.’ ” He wants to make sure that He doesn’t get killed, nothing happens there. I think it’s interesting that he adds that.
Mark 14:45, “As soon as he had come, immediately he went up to Him and said to Him, ‘Rabbi, Rabbi!’ and kissed Him.”
Now let me point out a couple of things that are going on here. First of all, there is debate as to the order of events. There are two things that are going on. In the Synoptic Gospels, you have Judas come with the crowd, and then Judas goes to Jesus and kisses Him.
In the Gospel of John, they don’t mention the kiss. They have Jesus going to the crowd and says, “Who are you looking for?” They say, “Jesus of Nazareth.” And He says, “I AM,” which is the Name of God, and He says it probably in a divine voice that just knocks them down. That’s not mentioned in the Synoptics.
So, which comes first? There’s a debate over this: which comes first? I think that the emphasis in the Synoptics is what’s brought out by the New King James translation, “As soon as He had come, immediately.” Now it doesn’t say that in the Greek, it just says immediately, but the writers are bringing that out.
What we see in these descriptions is the appearance that as soon as they arrived, the first thing that happens is Judas will separate himself from the crowd, and he goes up to Jesus and there’s this private exchange between Judas and Jesus, and Judas greets him as a Rabbi.
This was a very common courtesy between disciples and their Rabbi, and this is the nature of this kiss. It was designed to be something that expressed great honor and respect for the Rabbi. It’s the same word—the intensified word—that’s used for the kiss, is the same word used of the woman who was identified in Luke 7:36, who anoints Jesus’ feet and kisses them.
It is that kind of intense close relationship that is brought out here. But what Judas is doing here is turning it into something profane by using it as the way to betray Jesus and to point Him out.
There are two words used here for kiss. When he talks to the chief priests and the Roman soldiers, he says, “Whomever I kiss, He’s the One; seize Him,” He uses a normal word for kiss, PHILEO, which is from the noun meaning a close friend, an intimacy, something of that order.
When it says he greeted Him and kissed Him, the Synoptics both use the word KATAPHILEO, which is an intensified form, which indicates a very close, intimate—and some say it indicates that he kissed Him more than once. He is indicating this respect, but he is turning it on its ear.
Here is an interesting scene: on the one hand we have Jesus, the eternal Son of God, undiminished deity, the Creator of the heavens and the earth, the Creator of the angels, the ultimate authority in the universe, and He is being confronted not just by Judas, but He is being identified here by Satan. Satan has entered into Judas.
I’ve never heard anybody bring this out before. This is why I think this is an intimate moment here; that it’s not Judas as part of the crowd because Judas, indwelt by Satan, is confronting the God of the universe, against whom he has rebelled, and he’s using this kiss, twisting it on its ear; and for Satan it’s, “Gotcha!”
This is how Jesus responds; I think this has to be read with great irony. Luke 22:48, “Judas—and I’m going to paraphrase this—do you really think you can betray the Son of Man with a kiss?” He points out, “You just think you’ve got the upper hand, but you really don’t.”
You see, we are told that Judas has been entered into by Satan.
I want to go back as I close to Isaiah 14. We have the description of the fall of Satan. He’s identified in the King James because of a Latin word that was used in the Vulgate referring to light, as Lucifer, and so we refer to him as Lucifer. Actually, in the Hebrew it’s Helel ben Shachar: the Bright One; the Son of the Morning.
This indictment is brought against him in Isaiah 14:12, “How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, Son of the Morning. How you are cut down to the ground you who weakened the nations. For you have said …”—and then we have the five “I wills” of Satan.
This is the Satan, who is indwelling Judas, who has come up to kiss Jesus to identify Him to the Roman troops. He is the one who said, “I will ascend to heaven. I will exalt my throne above the stars of God. I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds—that is to take authority over all the angels—I will be like the Most High.”
That’s the dynamic that’s happening here. We have the confrontation between Satan and God in the persons of Judas and Jesus. He thinks it’s a “gotcha!” moment, and Jesus says, “You just think it is; but it’s not,” because God’s in control. Satan meant it for evil, but God means it for good.
What happens immediately after this is Jesus goes to the crowd, and when He says, “Who are you looking for?” and they say, “Jesus of Nazareth,” He says, “EGO EIMI.” That’s one of seven times in the Gospel of John. EGO EIMI is the Greek for Yahweh.
When He says, “I AM”—your text says “I AM He” and puts that “He” in italics because it’s not there—they fall down in subservience. They fall down on their faces. And I think when He says that, it is a blast from God that knocks these arrogant soldiers down on their faces in the appearance of submission to the God of the universe.
We will come back and pick up with that next Sunday morning
“Father, thank You for this look into what transpires in Jesus’ betrayal, that He is not overcome by the fact that He is being betrayed. He does not feel defeated by this act of betrayal, but in fact, He shows that He is still absolutely in control of everything that’s happening to Him.
“Father, an application for us is that when we face difficulties, perhaps betrayal, disappointment, when we face loss, when we face any adversity, You are the same as Jesus here. You are in control. It is Your plan being worked out, and we need to have the same kind of confidence that Jesus demonstrates here because our confidence, our hope, is in You and not in circumstances.
“Father, we pray that if there’s anyone who is listening, anyone here that has never trusted Christ as Savior that You would make the gospel very clear to them—that we are all born sinners, spiritually dead, separated from You, destined for eternal condemnation.
“But You in Your love provided a perfect Savior, a perfect salvation, so that we would not pay the penalty for sin, because Jesus paid the penalty for sin. But if we fail to trust in Him as John 3:18 says, then we will be condemned because we have not believed in the Name of the Only Begotten Son of God. That’s the only solution—to believe in Him and instantly we’re given eternal life.
“Right now, right where you sit, if you believe Jesus died for your sins, then you are saved eternally. You don’t need to pray a prayer, you don’t need to do anything else because God in His Omniscience knows that exact moment when you believe Jesus died for you, and at that instant you’re saved by faith alone in Christ alone.
“Father, we pray that You would challenge us with what we’ve studied, what we’ve learned today.
“We pray in Christ’s name, amen.”