Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed him.

Jesus replied, “Do what you came for, friend.”

Then the men stepped forward, seized Jesus and arrested him. With that, one of Jesus’ companions reached for his sword, drew it out and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear.

“Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?”

In that hour Jesus said to the crowd, “Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? Every day I sat in the temple courts teaching, and you did not arrest me. But this has all taken place that the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples deserted him and fled.

Mattew 26:49-56

It’s easier to kill for a cause than to die for one. Our bodies, our instincts and even our intellect call out for survival and for safety. What then do we do with Jesus? He calls us out of physical safety into material harm, into danger, death, betrayal by our peers, disgrace, suffering, persecution, into sadness, isolation, alienation, mistrust by others and pain.

But he rewards us with resurrection unto eternal life, communion with God, fellowship with Christians through the Holy Spirit, with honor in the next life and integrity in this one. When the world comes for Jesus, where will you reach? For the sword of so-called self-defense or to the Savior?

What happened when those closest to Jesus realized he was going to peacefully submit to violence and injustice? Read it again! “Then all the disciples deserted him and fled.” Rather than follow Jesus and give up their lives, the students who loved him, lived with him and knew him best turned their backs on him. Will we do the same?

Ethan Kirl