Lukeby Mike Raiter
The name “Judas” has become synonymous with betrayal. A kiss is an intimate and affectionate expression of love and friendship. How tragic that the only time in the Gospels when there is any record of a kiss, it is here in Judas’ betrayal.
Jesus asks why He is being arrested. Do they think He is leading a rebellion (v. 52)? The great irony is that while Jesus and His followers are obedient citizens, His kingdom challenges the authority of all secular rulers. A kingdom of righteousness and renewal, whose weapons are deeds and words of love and which captures the hearts of men and women, is profoundly radical.
Luke now describes and contrasts two trials. The first is that of Peter, who follows Jesus and warms himself by the fire. In a Jewish court, a person was condemned on the evidence of three witnesses, and three witnesses testify that Peter is a disciple of Jesus (vv. 56, 58, 59). Peter loudly denies it. In that very moment, our Lord’s prophetic word is fulfilled and the cock crows.
Luke then describes the mock trial of Jesus. The religious authorities have already decided that Jesus must die. They ask Him if He is the long-awaited Messiah. Jesus answers, not by denying He is the Christ, but by explaining the real character of the Christ. He is actually a divine person who will one day sit in the position of all authority (v. 69).
In contrast to Peter who denies His true identity, Jesus speaks the truth and acknowledges who He really is. Finally, the Jews have the confession they’ve been hoping for, and so they accuse Him of blasphemy and condemn Him (v. 71).
Can you see the irony here? The Jewish leaders will now execute Jesus, believing they have destroyed His kingdom. In fact, by His death Jesus will fulfil His prophecy about himself, as He will be exalted to His position of supreme authority at God’s right hand.
Don’t ever be ashamed to confess who you are. We are followers of the Lord Jesus, who rules from heaven with all authority. Our Lord is the only true Lord, whose words are powerful and effective.
Can you think of moments when you might be tempted to be silent or even deny your relationship with the Lord Jesus? How can this passage encourage you at such moments?
Read John 21:15–19 where the resurrected Christ meets Peter to restore him to service. What does this teach us about sin, forgiveness, and restoration?