Not a Victim but a Victor

by Greg Laurie on Nov 18, 2022
The traitor, Judas, had given them a prearranged signal: ‘You will know which one to arrest when I greet him with a kiss.’
—Matthew 26:48

Why did Judas Iscariot have to show who Jesus was by betraying Him with a kiss? Would Jesus not have been easily recognized by those who came to arrest Him? After all, we always know who Jesus is in religious paintings. He typically has a halo. And often, when we see Him portrayed in film, He’s usually quite handsome, even strikingly so.

However, I think Jesus was quite ordinary in His physical appearance. This was perhaps one of the reasons that Judas had to identify Him. Judas said, “You will know which one to arrest when I greet him with a kiss” (Matthew 26:48 NLT).

John’s Gospel gives us a unique detail about what happened in the Garden of Gethsemane when Judas, a delegation of Roman soldiers, and the Temple guards arrived to arrest Jesus.

Jesus met them and said, “Who are you looking for?”

“Jesus the Nazarene.”

Jesus replied, “I am he” (John 18:4, 5 NLT).

The Bible tells us that at this point, they all fell backward. Can you imagine the scene? They fell on top of each other, swords and spears flying, torches in the air. This was the same God who spoke to Moses from the burning bush and said, “I am who I am,” and the same God who said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.

Jesus could have said, “I am, and you were! Bye!” And that would have been it. He could have spoken all of them out of existence with a single word. He could have called down the angels of Heaven, who would have gladly come and delivered Him.

This serves as a reminder that Jesus did not go to the cross of Calvary as a helpless victim but as a victor in complete control of His circumstances. He willingly laid down His life for us.

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