Today I just want to highlight two contrasts in this scene. In the first, Jesus is betrayed with a kiss. The greeting reserved for those who know each other closely and deeply, the type of greeting between long friends, this is the tool of betrayal. Much has been made about the kiss and I doubt my words will add much. Suffice to say this was a deep betrayal. Jesus became familiar with betrayal of the deepest sort.
vv. 51-52 are a bit of a curiosity in the Gospel. Only the Gospel of Mark records anything like it, which has led many to presume that this is the author. Nothing anywhere else really seems to support such evidence, so that is conjecture at best. This could be a sermon that Peter (if he is the source behind the text) gave, and just never really pulled back around. It could also have some deeper symbolic meaning known to the early church, such as the need to be free from worldly goods, or a covert reference to resurrection of the dead (the linen) in the last days (under persecution), that has since been lost to history. At any rate, caution should be exercised here and no reading seen as definitive.
Instead, the second contrast I want to look at. While Jesus is being judged by the Sanhedrin, he declares to them that HE will be judging them. That is what lies behind Jesus’ reference about the “Son of Man…coming on the clouds”. In the midst of judgment, Jesus declares himself to be the rightful judge. This sort of inversion is exactly the sort of thing God does when he establishes new covenants. Abraham, the childless old man, is told he will father a nation. Jacob, who seems to have won power over God/the angel of God, has his victory stolen by trickery of words and a dirty wrestling trick to become Israel. Moses, the man who declares himself to be incapable of speaking well is given the very words of God to declare to all people. David, the smallest of his brothers, is the one made king. God loves the inversion. So God inverts the scene again. It is not the Sanhedrin that judges Jesus, but Jesus who sits in judgment of them.
Thank God that Jesus is our judge, for he is also our defense attorney. If only we will step aside and let him take control. If Jesus is King, as HE who sits on God’s right hand, then I must abdicate any claim to rule, so that He may judge me as a friend.