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Mark 239 - Guilty As Charged

Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him and lead him away under guard.” Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Rabbi!” and kissed him. The men seized Jesus and arrested him.

Mark 14:44,45

I don’t know about you, but I’ve never been in a fight all my life. Now, I’ve certainly been in my share, and then some, of verbal battles. But never a fight involving hitting. I’m a firm believer in the old proverb.

He who fights and runs away lives to fight another day[1]

I’ve always managed to talk my way out of any physical confrontation. And this starts by looking for the early signs that the other person wants to get physical.

There is always a sign. Something in the way they move. Act. Sound. There’s always a signal that shows what’s going on in their mind. In their heart. And if you read the signals right, you can avoid lots of trouble.

In the pre-planning meeting, Judas and the crowd had put together a signal. There was going to be little to no light. Only their torches and lanterns[2] would be there. Judas was the only one that really knew Jesus, he had to be on point. The one who identified him.

They didn’t want to arrest the wrong guy. Can you imagine the shock, surprise, and disappointment if they arrived back with the chief priests, the teachers of the law, and the elders only to find out that they had the wrong guy? So there had to be a foolproof way of identifying Jesus and pointing him out to the crowd to grab him.

Judas agreed to clearly identify Jesus so that there was no mistake. It was going to be a sign of affection. Of admiration. It was up close and personal. This way, Judas was close enough to be absolutely sure that it was Jesus. And the crowd could be absolutely sure that they grabbed the right guy.

And right after this kiss, the crowd moved in. They arrested him and tied him up[3].

Prisoners in that day had no rights to being treated in a certain way. There was no reading of their rights. No body cameras to make sure that they were not “tuned-up.” Roughed up. While there were soldiers and officials there[4], this was a crowd, a mob. And like all mobs, they’re not going to be controlled. I’m sure that they were hot and angry at Jesus.

How do you react when someone falsely accuses you? What’s your immediate reaction? I was once accused of improperly using company funds to attend a conference. They accused me in front of the President without ever asking me.

When I became aware of the accusation, I explained that I had a free pass from a friend. Yes, I explained, but I was so angry, hurt, and embarrassed. I never had a chance to tell my side of the story before the accusation and rumors spread.

Jesus is arrested. But was Jesus guilty?

  • NO, Jesus was innocent of all charges. There were exaggerations. There were lies. They were made-up stories with the intent of making him sound guilty.

  • YES, Jesus was guilty of all charges. Not personally, but because all our sinful words, thoughts, actions, and attitudes were placed on him. They were charged “to his account” so that he could pay the price for us. In our place.

In the court of heaven, God looked at Jesus as being guilty.

He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness 2 Peter 2:24

Christianity is the only religion, philosophy, belief system where God himself steps in. He takes all our sin on himself. Pays our debt. He was guilty as charged but not for himself. Jesus was guilty for us. His death makes us new. Makes us whole. Restored. And it all took place for us.

Now if that isn’t good news, then I don’t know what is

[1] Demosthenes, 338 B.C. [2] John 18:3 [3] John 18:12 [4] John 18:3

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