Judas, the betrayer, knew this place, because Jesus had often gone there with His disciples. The leading priests and Pharisees had given Judas a contingent of Roman soldiers and Temple guards to accompany him. Jesus fully realized all that was going to happen to Him, so He stepped forward to meet them. “Who are you looking for?” He asked. “Jesus the Nazarene,” they replied. “I am He,” Jesus said (Judas, who betrayed Him, was standing with them). – John 18:2-5
Just days before, Judas had been part of “us,” among the closest companions of Jesus. What a thrill it must have been to walk with Jesus as He entered Jerusalem for the Passover celebration; to witness the procession as an insider.
Suddenly, Judas stood with “them” – on the other side – the outside. How empty he must have felt at that moment – separated from his friends, his Master, and surrounded by strangers. When Jesus “stepped forward to meet them…” Judas could have run into His arms, but his choice to remain among “them” sealed his fate and set in motion the final miles to the cross.
We must each consider whether we want to be “us” or “them.” Are we going to be those who stand with a loving, compassionate friend with arms open wide, or with Pharisees who want to keep the power and privilege to themselves. Now is the time to decide.
Sue Breland, Worship for One Journey Through the Cross©