Exodus 30:11‐31:18; Matthew 26:47‐68; Psalm 32:1‐11; Proverbs 8:27‐32
A Kiss, a Fist, and a Sword
Today’s reading from Matthew covers the time from Judas’ betrayal of Jesus in Gethsemane to His abuse at the hands of Jewish leaders at the High Priest’s residence.
When the crowd showed up, Jesus was betrayed with a kiss. Then He was arrested and one of His disciples drew his sword and cut off the ear of the high priest’s servant. Jesus quiets everyone down and restores the ear. He is then led off to Caiaphas’ residence. There He is interrogated, many false charges against Him are rehearsed, and when He declares His Messiahship, He is spit upon, slapped, and beaten with fists. Even then the abuse has only begun. As we know it includes whipping, more beatings, the hair of His beard pulled out, a crown of thorns thrust down into His scalp drawing streams of blood, mocking, and finally crucifixion.
Such cruel treatment – at the hands of sinners; and the only defense offered was more violence, and later denials of knowing Him by the same disciple Peter. This incident teaches us an important lesson: we are broken. We are all capable of spitting on Jesus, slapping Him, striking Him with our fists, denying Him, mocking Him, and even crucifying Him; and yes, even of drawing our swords and blindly striking out at unseen and unknown enemies of our faith. We are all sinners, it is only a matter of degrees that separate all of us.
What then do we do? We seek forgiveness. “Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.” – Psalm 32:1
The Rev. Richard Bordin