Something to reflect on at this special time of year when we remember the single most earth shaking event in human history – the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Consider the scene in the Garden of Gethsemane, the place where the Roman soldiers finally captured Jesus, led there by Judas, his betrayer. When planning the capture, there was a small problem of identifying their target. After all, how would they know which one was Jesus?
Of course, Judas had the answer “Whomever I kiss, He is the One, seize Him and lead him away safely.” Mark 14:44
This is exactly how it transpired. A large crowd arrived in the garden. Clubs, torches, shouting. Judas kisses Jesus on the cheek and the soldiers descend.
Have you ever wondered why the need for the elaborate plan to allow the soldiers to find the leader of the small band of disciples. They had traveled as a group all over Israel for three years. Many times they had visited Jerusalem. Jesus taught openly. Caused a bit of a stir several times. Was it not obvious which one of the 11 was him? Did he dress differently? Have a unique haircut, headband or special sash? Had the soldiers not seen him promoting his ministry? Taking up an offering?
In our day it is very common for leaders to be easily identifiable. Soccer captains wear a special armband. Hockey captains wear the “C” on their jerseys. Priests, bishops and other religious leaders often wear unique clothing, tunics or head pieces. Powerful business leaders often wear expensive suits and celebrities sport unique clothing and jewelry and both are usually accompanied by adoring entourages. Yet Jesus needed to be identified with a kiss. Why was it so difficult in that situation to find the leader?
Is it possible that the Son of God had no desire to stand out from the rest? Did he so identify with those close to him that it was near impossible to tell them apart? Great leaders it seems share this trait of sincere humility. I’m sure we can all think of one or more we have encountered in our lives. They don’t want the limelight and would prefer that others get more attention than they do. This is the secret of building a high performing team. When nobody cares who gets the adulation, the result is an empowered group of people who can do almost anything.
As you contemplate the wonder of God in human form, giving his very life for us, consider this – on the night that he was betrayed and captured, a signal was needed to enable his captors to find the leader. May we all have the privilege of walking with this kind of leader or perhaps become one ourselves.