While He was still speaking, a crowd arrived, led by the man called Judas, one of the Twelve. He approached Jesus to kiss Him.
I. THE UNSEEMLINESS OF VIOLENCE USED AGAINST JESUS CHRIST AND HIS DISCIPLES. It is true that there was something worse than the weapons of violence in that garden; the traitor's kiss was very much worse. We may be sure that Jesus was conscious of a Far keener wound from those false lips of Judas than he would have been from the hands of those armed men had they struck him with their strength. The subtle schemes and the soft but treacherous suggestions of false friends are deadlier in their issue, if not in their aim, than the hard blows of open adversaries. But:
1. How unseemly was open violence shown to Jesus Christ! To come with sword and stick against the Gentle One from heaven; against him who never used his omnipotence to harm a single adversary; against him who "would not break the bruised reed" among the children of men; against him who had been daily employing his power to relieve from pain, to raise from weakness, to remove privation, to restore from death!
2. How unseemly is such violence shown to Christ's true disciples! His true disciples, those who are loyal and obedient to their Lord, are men and women in whom a patient and loving spirit is prevailing; they are peace-makers among their brothers and sisters; they have "put away bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, railing;" they walk in love; they seek to win by a gentle manifestation and by a gracious utterance of the truth. How entirely inappropriate and unseemly is violence shown to them! And it may be added, how useless is such violence employed against the cause they advocate! It has never happened yet that sword and stave have crushed the living truth. They have smitten its champions to the ground, but they have only brought out into the light the heroic courage and noble unselfishness which that truth inspires. "So that those things [those persecutions] have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel." Cruelty strikes at its enemy, and smites itself.
II. THE UNLAWFULNESS OF VIOLENCE EMPLOYED ON BEHALF OF CHRISTIANITY. How vain and how foolish the act of "smiting with the sword" (ver. 49)! It was an act of intemperate and ill-considered zeal; it was calculated to do much more harm than good. Its effects had to be undone by the calm interposition and the healing power of Christ (ver. 51). It was rebuked by the Master in decided terms (Matthew 26:52). And from that hour to the end of apostolic history the use of physical violence disappears. Well would it have been for the cause and kingdom of our Lord if it had never been revived. The sword and the stave have no place in the Christian armoury. The weapons of its warfare are not carnal. Such instruments do not, they cannot, serve it; they gain a momentary victory at the sad and great expense of entirely misrepresenting the spirit and the method of Jesus Christ. Compulsion is utterly out of place in connection with the Church of Christ; it loses immeasurably more than it gains by that resource. Let the disciples of Christ be assured that
(1) the utterance of Divine truth, especially the truth that relates to the redeeming love of the Savior himself;
(2) living a life of blamelessness and beauty, of integrity and kindness;
(3) dependence on the aid of the Divine Spirit to make the spoken Word and the living influence effectual and mighty; - that these are the weapons which will conquer the enemies of Christ, and will place him upon the throne of the world. - C.
Judas, betrayest thou the Son of Man with a kiss.
Homiletic Review.I. A TRAITOR AMONG THE DISCIPLES. Many of them were weak in faith and carnal in apprehension, but only one a traitor.
II. THE CHARACTERISTIC OF HIS TREASON. Betrayed Lord into cruel hands of foes. Professed followers of Christ may betray Him to the scorn of the world, giving the sceptic arguments for his infidelity, and the worldly excuses for rejection of Christ.
III. THE MANNER OF THE BETRAYAL. A kiss.
1. It was the accepted token of affection.
2. It was here prostituted to the basest of uses.
3. It was received with lamblike meekness by Him who knew it meant treachery.
IV. THEY BETRAY THE SON OF MAN WITH A KISS WHO —
1. Compliment and deny Him with the same lips,
2. Profess to be united with Him at His table, and then act as lovers and servants of the world.
3. Exalt His humanity to the skies, and deny His rightful divinity and the efficacy of the atonement.
(Homiletic Review.)I. BY WHOM CHRIST WAS BETRAYED. "Judas, one of the twelve." Not an occasional disciple who had fastened himself upon the Lord's company, not one of the seventy who had been sent forth by two and two; one of the called, the chosen; one singled out from the great mass of mankind for the office of a foundation-stone in the Church of God.
II. Let us consider SOME OF THE AGGRAVATIONS OF THIS PERFIDIOUS CONDUCT ON THE PART OF JUDAS. Judas was not only equal with the rest of the apostles, but he was allowed to carry the bag, which would certainly appear to invest him with a sort of official superiority.
III. THE ENDS FOR WHICH CHRIST'S BETRAYAL WAS PERMITTED. That it was of mere permission we know. God has abundance of snares for taking the wise in their own craftiness; He has ten thousand accidents at command by which to mar a well-concerted plot. Yea, even after the capture had been effected, twelve legions of angels waited the bidding of Christ to rescue Him from the traitor's power. But God will not avail Himself of these means.
IV. Let us now consider some of the MORAL LESSONS which seem to be conveyed to us by this history.
1. We see how needful it is that we, each one of us, look well to the state of our own hearts. Here is a man who knew the truth, who had preached the truth, who had wrought miracles for the sake of the truth; and yet became a castaway. Now, why was this? He "held the truth in unrighteousness." The man who has been a hypocrite in religion is very rarely recovered; he deceives others, but yet more fatally does he deceive himself.
2. Again: the history teaches us how little security against our falling away, there is in the possession of eminent spiritual advantages. "Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve."
3. Again: we learn from this history how insensible and unperceived is the progress of the downward course in sin. When a man once enters on the way of transgression, he can never tell where he shall stop. Neither wickedness nor holiness attain to their full stature all at once. We cannot suppose that Judas had the remotest thought of his treachery when he first accepted the invitation to become one of the apostles.
4. The enslaving power of the love of this present world.
(D. Moore, M. A.)1. Hence in the first place we learn, that the greatest professors had need be jealous of their own hearts, and look well to the grounds and principles of their professions.
2. Learn hence also, that eminent knowledge and profession puts a special and eminent aggravation upon sin. To sin against clear light is to sin with a high hand. It is that which makes a sad waste of the conscience.
3. Learn hence, in the third place, that unprincipled professors will sooner or later become shameful apostates.
4. Moreover in this example of Judas you may read this truth — that men and women are never in more imminent danger than when they meet with temptations exactly suited to their master-lusts, to their own iniquity. O pray, pray, that ye may be kept from a violent suitable temptation. Satan knows that when a man is tried here, he falls by the root.
5. Hence, in like manner, we are instructed, that no man knows where he shall stop when he first engages himself in a way of sin.
6. Did Judas sell Christ for money? What a potent conqueror is the love of this world! How many hath it cast down wounded? What great professors have been dragged at its chariot-wheels as its captives? Pliny tells us that the mermaids delight to be in green meadows, into which they draw men by their enchanting voices; but saith he, there always lie heaps of dead men's bones by them. A lively emblem of a bewitching world! Good had it been for many professors of religion if they had never known what the riches, and honours, and pleasures of this world meant.
7. Did Judas fancy so much happiness in a little money, that he would sell Christ to get it? Learn, then, that which men promise themselves much pleasure and contentment in, in the way of sin, may prove the greatest curse and misery to thorn that ever befel them in the world.
8. Was there one, and but one, of the twelve that proved a Judas, a traitor to Christ? Learn thence, that it is a most unreasonable thing to be prejudiced at religion, and the sincere professors of it, because some that profess it prove naught and vile.
9. Did Judas, one of the twelve, do so? Learn thence, that a drop of grace is better than a sea of gifts. Gifts have some excellency in them, but the way of grace is the more excellent way (1 Corinthians 12:31). Gifts, as one saith, are dead graces, but graces are living gifts. There is many a learned head in hell. These are not the things that accompany salvation. It is better for thee to feel one Divine impression from God upon thy heart than to have ten thousand fine notions floating in thy head. Judas was a man of parts, but what good did they do him?
10. Did the devil win the consent of Judas to such a design as this? Could he get no other but the hand of an apostle to assist him? Learn hence, that the policy of Satan lies much in the choice of his instruments he works by. No bird, saith one, like a living bird to tempt others into the net. Austin told an ingenious young scholar the devil coveted him for an ornament. He knows he hath a foul cause to manage, and therefore will get the fairest hand he can to manage it with the less suspicion.
11. Did Judas, one of the twelve, do this? Then, certainly, Christians may approve and join with such men on earth whose faces they shall never see in heaven.
12. Did Judas, one of the twelve, a man so obliged, raised, and honoured by Christ, do this? Cease then from man, be not too confident, but beware of men. "Trust ye not in a friend, put no confidence in a guide, keep the door of thy lips from her that lieth in thy bosom" (Micah 7:5).
(J. Flavel.)I. LET US TARRY AWHILE, AND SEE OUR LORD UNGRATEFULLY AND DASTARDLY BETRAYED.
1. It is appointed that He must die, but how shall He fall into the hands of His adversaries? Shall they capture Him in conflict? It must not be, lest He appear an unwilling victim. Shall He flee before His foes until He can hide no longer? It is not meet that a sacrifice should be hunted to death. Shall He offer Himself to the foe? That were to excuse His murderers, or be a party to their crime. Shall He be taken accidentally or unawares? That would withdraw from His cup the necessary bitterness which made it wormwood mingled with gall.(1) One reason for the appointment of the betrayal lay in the fact that it was ordained that man's sin should reach its culminating point in His death.(2) Beyond a doubt, however, the main reason for this was that Christ might offer a perfect atonement for sin. We may usually read the sin in the punishment. Man betrayed his God. Therefore must Jesus find man a traitor to Him. There must be the counterpart of the sin in the suffering which He endured. You and I have often betrayed Christ. It seemed most fitting, then, that He who bore the chastisement of sin should be reminded of its ingratitude and treachery by the things which He suffered.(3) Besides, brethren, that cup must be bitter to the last degree which is to be the equivalent for the wrath of God.(4) Moreover, we feel persuaded that by thus suffering at the hand of a traitor the Lord became a faithful High Priest, able to sympathize with us when we fall under the like affliction.
2. Now let us look at the treason itself. You perceive how black it was.(1) Judas was Christ's servant, what if I call him His confidential servant.(2) Judas was more than this: he was a friend, a trusted friend.(3) The world looked upon Judas as a colleague of our Lord's.(4) Our Lord would look upon Judas as a representative man, the portraiture of many thousands who in after ages have imitated his crime.
3. Observe the manner in which Christ met this affliction.(1) His calmness.(2) His gentleness.
II. Grant me your attention while we make an estimate of the man by whom the Son of Man was betrayed — JUDAS THE BETRAYER.
1. I would call your attention, dear friends, to his position and public character.(1) Judas was a preacher; nay, he was a foremost preacher, "he obtained part of this ministry," said the Apostle Peter.(2) Judas took a very high degree officially. He had the distinguished honour of being entrusted with the Master's financial concerns, and this, after all, was no small degree to which to attain. The Lord, who knows how to use all sorts of gifts, perceived what gift the man had.(3) You will observe that the character of Judas was openly an admirable one. I find not that he committed himself in any way. Not the slightest speck defiled his moral character so far as others could perceive. He was no boaster, like Peter.
2. But I call your attention to his real nature and sin. Judas was a man with a conscience. He could not afford to do without it. He was no Sadducee who could fling religion overboard; he had strong religious tendencies. But then it was a conscience that did not sit regularly on the throne; it reigned by fits and starts. Conscience was not the leading element. Avarice predominated over conscience.
3. The warning which Judas received, and the way in which he persevered.
4. The act itself. He sought out his own temptation. He did not wait for the devil to come to him; he went after the devil. He went to the chief priests and said, " What will ye give me?" Alas! some people's religion is grounded on that one question.
5. We conclude with the repentance of Judas. He did repent; but it was the repentance that worketh death. The man who repents of consequences does not repent. The ruffian repents of the gallows but not of the murders and that is no repentance at all. Human law, of course, must measure sin by consequences, but God's law does not. There is a pointsman on a railway who neglects his duty; there is a collision on the line, and people are killed; well, it is manslaughter to this man through his carelessness. But that pointsman, perhaps, many times before had neglected his duty, but no accident came of it, and then he walked home and said, "Well, I have done no wrong." Now the wrong, mark you, is never to be measured by the accident, but by the thing itself, and if you have committed an offence and you have escaped undetected it is lust as vile in God's eye; if you have done wrong and Providence has prevented the natural result of the wrong, the honour of that is with God, but you are as guilty as if your sin had been carried out to its fullest consequences, and the whole world set ablaze. Never measure sin by consequences, but repent of them as they are in themselves.
(C. H. Spurgeon.)I. Observe, THE PERSON ADDRESSED — Judas. One on whom the Saviour had conferred many benefits, and who had made an open profession of His name. Betrayest thou!
II. Observe, the PERSON SPEAKING — Jesus. The title which Jesus here assumes, in calling Himself the Son of Man, may teach us the following things —
1. That He is really and properly Man, as well as truly Divine.
2. The phrase, Son of Man, seems intended to denote the meanness of Christ's origin, and the poverty of His outward condition.
3. Christ's assumption of this character may teach us to consider Him as the Saviour of all nations; or of all that ever will be saved, out of every kindred, tongue, and people: He is not the Son of this or that particular people, but the Son of Man, and the Saviour of all them that believe, by whatever name they may be distinguished.
4. The term Son of Man seems to have been prefigured and foretold as a title which belonged to the expected Messiah.
III. THE QUESTION WHICH JESUS PUTS TO THE TRAITOR: "Betrayest thou the Son of Man with a kiss?" Improvement:
1. We have here a loud call to be jealous of our own hearts, and to exercise a holy watchfulness over them. More especially, if we regard our immortal interests, let us carefully avoid the following things —
(1) (2) (3) 2. We see how far a person may go in the way to heaven, and yet fall short of it. 3. Let us admire and adore the infinite wisdom of God, who brought so much real good out of so much aggravated evil. (B. Beddome, M. A.) (J. Vaughan, M. A.)
(2) (3) 2. We see how far a person may go in the way to heaven, and yet fall short of it. 3. Let us admire and adore the infinite wisdom of God, who brought so much real good out of so much aggravated evil. (B. Beddome, M. A.) (J. Vaughan, M. A.)
(3) 2. We see how far a person may go in the way to heaven, and yet fall short of it. 3. Let us admire and adore the infinite wisdom of God, who brought so much real good out of so much aggravated evil. (B. Beddome, M. A.) (J. Vaughan, M. A.)
2. We see how far a person may go in the way to heaven, and yet fall short of it.
(B. Beddome, M. A.)
(J. Vaughan, M. A.)