KISS, SWORD, AND DESERTION
Lord, You suffered such indignities for us.
Read MARK 14:43–52
43 Just as he was speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, appeared. With him was a crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests, the teachers of the law, and the elders.
44 Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him and lead him away under guard.” 45 Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Rabbi!” and kissed him. 46 The men seized Jesus and arrested him. 47 Then one of those standing near drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear.
48 “Am I leading a rebellion,” said Jesus, “that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? 49 Every day I was with you, teaching in the temple courts, and you did not arrest me. But the Scriptures must be fulfilled.” 50 Then everyone deserted him and fled.
51 A young man, wearing nothing but a linen garment, was following Jesus. When they seized him, 52 he fled naked, leaving his garment behind.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Thank Jesus for His faithfulness in not abandoning His calling.
Mark does not report an orderly arrest by the authorities, but rather a disorganized apprehension of Him by a motley crew from the Jewish leaders. The indignity that Jesus will suffer has officially begun. The section begins with the traitor’s kiss and ends with an anonymous young man fleeing naked. In the middle, someone attempts an armed defense of Jesus. The only person displaying any sense of dignity is Jesus Himself. He not only questions the need for a nocturnal arrest, but also points out that the Scripture is being fulfilled. There is no actual passage cited, but He may have Isaiah 53:11 and 12 in mind – He is numbered as a transgressor here, just as He will be crucified between two of them very shortly. Whatever is going to happen to Jesus is part of God’s purpose and plan (cf. Acts 4:28).
All the disciples now flee from the scene. Mark emphasizes the “all” in his sentence structure. Scripture is fulfilled, as Jesus has said earlier (27) (Quoting Zech 13:7). Jesus is not only alone, as He was when praying to the Father, but He is now abandoned. As the story adds suffering upon suffering, we are reminded that all of this is for our salvation. We should not run from the reality of His suffering, nor believe that we can ourselves avoid suffering if we follow Him faithfully.
The passage ends with the naked young man running away. Speculation that this was Mark himself would account for its inclusion. If true, this could be a demonstration of his humility, for this would not be the only time he ran away from following Jesus. Paul characterizes his departure from Perga as yet another desertion (Acts 13:13; 15:37, 38).
Confess those times when you have deserted Jesus.
Lord, strengthen me during those times when I am prone to running away from You and Your will for me at the moment.
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