Summary: This sermon examines how and why God allowed an hour of darkness in Jesus’ arrest at Gethsemane.
March 12, 2006 Luke 22:47-54
While he was still speaking a crowd came up, and the man who was called Judas, one of the Twelve, was leading them. He approached Jesus to kiss him, but Jesus asked him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?” When Jesus’ followers saw what was going to happen, they said, “Lord, should we strike with our swords?” And one of them struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear. But Jesus answered, “No more of this!”
Matthew 26:52-54 “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?”
And he touched the man’s ear and healed him. Then Jesus said to the chief priests, the officers of the temple guard, and the elders, who had come for him, “Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come with swords and clubs? Every day I was with you in the temple courts, and you did not lay a hand on me. But this is your hour—when darkness reigns.” Then seizing him, they led him away and took him into the house of the high priest.
The Hour When Darkness Reigns
I. Darkness comes through betrayal - a turning from good to evil
One of the most famous phrases of all time is the ever popular, “et tu - Brute?” It comes from one of the most dramatic moments on the Shakespearean stage. In the play, the audience witnesses the arrogance of Caesar who sought, within a republic, to become a monarch, comparing himself to the gods. Brutus, a friend of Caesar and yet a man who loves Rome (and freedom) more, then joins the conspirators in the assassination. Caesar initially resisted his attackers, but when he saw Brutus - his close confidant, he supposedly spoke those words and resigned himself to his fate saying, “et tu, Brute?” History is full of these characters - who seem to be on one side - only to betray their confidants. Movies make a living on them.
The most dangerous enemies of the church are those who come from within. Paul was serious concerned about this as he said in Acts chapter 20, “Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears.” When someone gains your trust, they can turn that trust against you - and use it to take you apart - attack you at your weak points. It hurts the most when the betrayal comes from within.
This is what of course makes the betrayal of Judas such a wicked thing. Psalm 41:9 says, “Even my close friend, whom I trusted, he who shared my bread, has lifted up his heel against me.” Here was a guy who was able to chase out demons. He had witnessed Jesus do incredible things - heal the sick, walk on water, feed five thousand, and probably even raise the dead. Yet he conscientiously chose to betray Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. He is the one who sets into motion the “hour of darkness.” While he was still speaking a crowd came up, and the man who was called Judas, one of the Twelve, was leading them. He approached Jesus to kiss him, but Jesus asked him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?” Judas even had the gall to do it with a kiss.
Judas is in many senses a perfect picture of what evil is. Evil does not create itself. Evil takes that which is good and corrupts it to do evil. Satan was created good - yet he conscientiously chose to be evil - made an effort to do so - to make his own road and path apart from what God wanted. So Satan does not create evil out of nothing. He takes what is good, and turns it into evil - twists it, abuses it, and changes that which is good. He convinced man to no longer serve God - but serve himself - twisting him into a selfish being. Sex is turned from a wonderful expression of love between a married couple into a selfish device used to gain power, money, or even show anger. Money - instead of being used to help and support the hungry or the sick or those in need - is used to pamper one’s selfish desires or becomes a crutch for people to trust in. Evil is a warping of what is good - that is how evil reigns - turning light into darkness.