Red Letter Year: 9/13

Luke 22.47-55

47 But even as Jesus said this, a crowd approached, led by Judas, one of the twelve disciples. Judas walked over to Jesus to greet him with a kiss. 48 But Jesus said, “Judas, would you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?”

49 When the other disciples saw what was about to happen, they exclaimed, “Lord, should we fight? We brought the swords!” 50 And one of them struck at the high priest’s slave, slashing off his right ear.

51 But Jesus said, “No more of this.” And he touched the man’s ear and healed him.

52 Then Jesus spoke to the leading priests, the captains of the Temple guard, and the elders who had come for him. “Am I some dangerous revolutionary,” he asked, “that you come with swords and clubs to arrest me? 53 Why didn’t you arrest me in the Temple? I was there every day. But this is your moment, the time when the power of darkness reigns.”

54 So they arrested him and led him to the high priest’s home. And Peter followed at a distance. 55 The guards lit a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat around it, and Peter joined them there.


Only a couple of things I want to point out today. First, we have already seen Luke downplaying Judas’ role in this telling. We see that again here, where Luke does not allow the betrayer to speak or to actually kiss Jesus. Both of these are changes from Mark and Matthew. Luke hits all the beats in the passion story, but he carefully edits his account to keep the focus as tightly fixed on Jesus as possible.

The other thing worth giving special attention to here is the healing of the ear. I talked yesterday about the oddity of Jesus apostles’ having swords at hand. Here Jesus rebukes them for engaging in violent resistance. Then Luke records Jesus doing something that none of the other Gospels has – in the midst of betrayal and an angry mob (in Luke composed only of religious leaders, not the people), Jesus calmly and quietly heals the severed ear. By this gesture, Luke shows us that to the end Jesus engaged in his primary ministry – bringing healing to people, and he also shows that the power and authority Jesus had been operating in is still in tact. Jesus is powerless before his arresters only by choice. Because Jesus only uses his power and authority to heal and make new.

The same is true for us in two ways. Jesus always brings healing and renewal into our lives. What brings harm cannot be from Jesus. And we are only acting as followers of Jesus when we engage in bringing healing and renewal to others and to the world. Jesus still gives his followers the power and authority to heal. But Jesus never gives anyone the authority to harm.

New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale HousePublishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.