And even as Jesus said this, Judas, one of the twelve disciples, arrived with a crowd of men armed with swords and clubs. They had been sent by the leading priests and elders of the people. The traitor, Judas, had given them a prearranged signal: “You will know which one to arrest when I greet him with a kiss.” So Judas came straight to Jesus. “Greetings, Rabbi!” he exclaimed and gave him the kiss. Jesus said, “My friend, go ahead and do what you have come for.” Then the others grabbed Jesus and arrested him. But one of the men with Jesus pulled out his sword and struck the high priest’s slave, slashing off his ear. Put away your sword,” Jesus told him. “Those who use the sword will die by the sword. Don’t you realize that I could ask my Father for thousands of angels to protect us, and he would send them instantly? But if I did, how would the Scriptures be fulfilled that describe what must happen now?” Then Jesus said to the crowd, “Am I some dangerous revolutionary, that you come with swords and clubs to arrest me? Why didn’t you arrest me in the Temple? I was there teaching every day. But this is all happening to fulfill the words of the prophets as recorded in the Scriptures.” At that point, all the disciples deserted him and fled.
(Matthew 26:47-56 NLT)
Judas was one of the chosen 12. Puzzling it is that this chosen disciple could betray his Master. I have often said that Jesus chose Judas but Judas didn't choose Jesus. What is more mind boggling in this passage is the sheer composure, concentration, and astounding love Jesus had for Judas even as he betrayed Him. The other disciples were probably ready to kill Judas. Peter sliced off the ear of one of the high priest's slave. Because Jesus had submitted His flesh to the will of the Father, He was able to face this situation with the right spirit.
Galatians 5:16 tells us to walk in the Spirit and we will not fulfill the desire of our flesh. When we are facing the worst life can offer, even death, we can learn from Jesus example: Pray! Jesus chose to follow through with the purpose of His birth, to die. His arrest, trial, scourging (brutal beating), and crucifixion were the gateway to salvation.
Matthew 1:21 said He would be called "Jesus" because He would save His people from their sins. The name Jesus means "The Lord Who Saves". The disciples deserted Him. If we would have been there, we would have likely done the same. In spite of all this, Jesus chose to die for us. He lived the perfect life and laid it down for you and me.
I am astounded!!!!!!!
Then Jesus went with them to the olive grove called Gethsemane, and he said, “Sit here while I go over there to pray.” He took Peter and Zebedee’s two sons, James and John, and he became anguished and distressed. He told them, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” He went on a little farther and bowed with his face to the ground, praying, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” Then he returned to the disciples and found them asleep. He said to Peter, “Couldn’t you watch with me even one hour? Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak!” Then Jesus left them a second time and prayed, “My Father! If this cup cannot be taken away unless I drink it, your will be done.” When he returned to them again, he found them sleeping, for they couldn’t keep their eyes open. So he went to pray a third time, saying the same things again. Then he came to the disciples and said, “Go ahead and sleep. Have your rest. But look—the time has come. The Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Up, let’s be going. Look, my betrayer is here!”
(Matthew 26:36-46 NLT)
The garden of Gethsemane is located at the foot of the Mount of Olives near Jerusalem. This is the spot where Jesus resorted to pray often. Here in this passage we read that Jesus took His disciples with Him to pray. He took all of them (see the other gospel accounts- Mark, Luke, and John) but only Peter, James, and John went closer in to the place where Jesus prayed. They waited at a spot nearby. Luke's gospel tells us that Jesus went a little further away (about a stones cast) to Himself. This was, to me the most significant moment in the plan of salvation. Here the redemption of man hinges on the willingness of Jesus to follow through with the arrest, scourging(brutal beating), and crucifixion. I absolutely believe that Jesus was God in human flesh.
I also know that the human flesh does not like to endure suffering. None of us want to suffer. He knew what lie ahead. His spirit, soul, and body were all completely overwhelmed by the immensity of the price for sin. The agony at this moment was unimaginable. Luke's gospel says that His sweat became like great drops of blood. This only happens in a rare experience called hematidrosis (a rupturing of the capillaries surrounding the sweat glands). The blood seeps into the sweat gland and out the sweat duct. This occurs under extreme stress.
Jesus wanted His closest friends to pray with Him in that moment. Let's recognize that the hour was late, perhaps even into the early morning hours. The natural tendency is to fall asleep. We would have done the same. It's our nature. This shows two things: Jesus desire for the support of His disciples at the moment and also His great love for them even as they kept sleeping. He knows our struggles. He knew that the only hope for humanity was the decision made in that place at that time. Oh, how I am so thankful for His submission to the Will of The Father, rather than His flesh.
The first man, Adam, made the wrong choice. The Second Man, Adam(see I Corinthians 15:45) made the right choice. The first Adam ate from the wrong tree. The Second Adam, Jesus, hung on a tree. His death on the tree gave us the right to the tree of life again. Jesus is The Tree of Life.
We too should learn a lesson here: Having a place to resort in prayer and praying regularly. This helps keep our flesh in tune with the will of God.
"This is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But before the marriage took place, while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit. Joseph, her fiancé, was a good man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement quietly.
As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus,for he will save his people from their sins.”
All of this occurred to fulfill the Lord’s message through his prophet:
“Look! The virgin will conceive a child!
She will give birth to a son,
and they will call him Immanuel,
which means ‘God is with us.’”
When Joseph woke up, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded and took Mary as his wife. But he did not have sexual relations with her until her son was born. And Joseph named him Jesus." -Matthew 1:18-25 (NLT)
Story of stories. The Wonder of wonders. The King of Heaven and all creation came to us in the form of a baby. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of Mary. She was a virgin. Joseph was her betrothed husband. The two were already espoused (under declaration of getting married) but not yet official. No sexual relations had transpired as that would only occur after the official ceremony. Can you imagine how the news had to grab Joseph. I could imagine what I would be thinking. That is why the angel had to appear to him to verify Mary's story. Nothing like this had ever occurred before or since. The importance of this is utterly significant. Jesus has to be sinless. His blood had to be untainted by the curse of fallen man. As the father of the child, so did God the Father determine Jesus blood type. God is sinless. Jesus' blood was sinless. Jesus was God in human flesh. Immanuel means literally "God With Us".
He had to be born as a baby to experience life as a human from conception to adulthood in order to be qualified to die a substitutionary death for us (Hebrews 4:15). As humans we had fallen to sin in Genesis 3:1-7. Under satan's bondage, we had to be redeemed (ransomed by payment) by a perfect human sacrifice. This is why Jesus was born - to die for us. Praise God! The love of God has payed the ultimate price for undeserved sinners. Accept "The Gift". Come to the real Christmas Tree.
Rev. Curtis Norris