While he was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived. With him was a large crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests and the elders of the people. Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: ‘The one I kiss is the man; arrest him.’ Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, ‘Greetings, Rabbi!’ and kissed him.

Jesus replied, ‘Do what you came for, friend.’

Then the men stepped forward, seized Jesus and arrested him. With that, one of Jesus’ companions reached for his sword, drew it out and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear.

’Put your sword back in its place,’ Jesus said to him, ‘for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?’

In that hour Jesus said to the crowd, ‘Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? Every day I sat in the temple courts teaching, and you did not arrest me. But this has all taken place that the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled.’ Then all the disciples deserted him and fled.

- Matthew 26:47-56

This particular passage highlights some characteristics of Jesus that, when meditated on, could change our relationship with Jesus for the rest of our lives. First, Jesus calls Judas “my friend” even as Judas betrays him… and he means it. If Jesus can call Judas, one of his most trusted men who betrayed him and let him be murdered, “my friend”, then how can he not have the same love in his heart for you? By calling Judas friend, what Jesus conveys about himself is that there is truly nothing we can do to turn Jesus’ heart away from us. Two, Jesus does not take a worldly perspective on our struggles; instead, he sees what God is doing and chooses to focus on the bigger purpose. When Jesus says,

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?

he reveals what true selflessness is. It is true that Jesus could have saved himself from the cross at any moment, but the fact that he chose not to speaks volumes to how badly he wanted us to be saved. Also, Jesus must have known that the fulfillment of Scriptures would lead many people to believe in Christ in the future, and he was not willing to sacrifice a gift God intended to give his children; a glimpse at how God has been planning to redeem humanity from the very first sin.

This entire passage is powerful. Because Jesus was so confident in his Father and so determined in his love for us, nothing could shake him from his steady and willful procession to the cross.

God. Reveal to me more of Jesus. Help me to see him the way that you do.

- Bailey Meyne