Arise! Let Us Go! Here Comes My Betrayer

Matthew 26:45-46 and Mark 14:41-42

The night air was still. In the garden of Gethsemane, the leaves of the trees hung quietly. The day before, all day long, there had been the sounds of the Passover pilgrims walking the Bethany road to the Temple. But now all was silent. If Yeshua had looked up from where He was praying, He would have seen the Golden Gate (or the Beautiful Gate), on the east side of Jerusalem. The moon was full and sat like a huge orange on the mountains of Moab and the Temple was hung like a silhouette. Even the brook flowing through Kidron, black and cold, moved quietly over its round stones on its way to the Valley of ben Hinnom.

Some Pharisees, the Jewish Temple guard and a cohort of 500 Roman soldiers left the huge courtyard adjoining the homes of both Caiaphas and Annas led by Judas. Ordinarily a cohort consisted of 500 men, or one-tenth of a 5,000 man Roman legion. They traveled the same route that Jesus and the apostles had traveled earlier to the Garden. They marched directly east to the Lower City, then north through the Valley Gate and hugged the base of the southern wall of the Temple Mount, past the pinnacle of the Temple, then along the eastern wall, past the Golden Gate. Caiaphas would not tolerate the Roman soldiers entering the Huldah Gates [Entrance Through the Southern Double Gate] into holy ground. Each man carried either a club or a sword, and some also had a torch or lantern that cut through the night. The mob left the walls of Tziyon and walked down the sheer steps leading to the Kidron Valley and up the other side.

These were certainly strange bedfellows. No one had ever seen Pharisees marching with Roman soldiers (John 18:3). The separate ones would have nothing to do with Gentile Romans, since they proclaimed religious purity above everything else. And there was no doubt that the legionnaires had never marched with the priestly Sadducees. Each of those groups had reason to distrust the other. They were, however, momentary allies and all three were led by Judas, one of the criminal’s own followers.1497

The cohort of Romans soldiers had been preparing as if to go to war, and Judas had been making arrangements with the high priest. They all agreed that the Rabbi from Galilee was a threat and they were willing, for this one time, to overlook their differences to act as one. There was a flurry of activity behind the scenes, but now all was ready. Everything had been thought out ahead of time.

It was a simple plan. Nobody there cared about the other apostles. They just wanted Jesus, the One who was causing all of them problems. The pack of soldiers marched down into the valley, and, when the head of the column was near the bottom, Judas pulled aside the representatives of the Sanhedrin, the captain of the Temple guard and the Roman tribute. He had an idea. When they reached Gethsemane, he would identify the criminal with a kiss. The one I kiss is the man, said Judas, arrest Him and lead Him away (Matthew 26:48 and Mark 14:44).

In the garden of Gethsemane, Messiah got to His feet. His face was once again peaceful and dignified. Then He returned the third time to Peter, James and John and said to them: Are you still sleeping and resting? Through the olive trees He could see the line of men with torches approaching from across the Kidron Valley. As they drew closer the Anointed One could hear the clank of metal shields and swords, and the murmur of many voices. Yeshua Ha-Meshiach said to His slumbering talmidim: Look, the hour has come and the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners. Rise! Let us go! Here comes My betrayer (Matthew 26:45-46; Mark 14:41b-42)! And then He went out to meet them. The cup descended, unforeseen by any eye but His. He took it willingly from His Father. Yeshua understood that with this cup He would finish what He was born to do. Alone. Therefore, in Gethsemane, the Son of God waited for a kiss from the lips of His betrayer.

 

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