Thursday, August 14, 2014

Jesus Is Arrested

Matthew 26:45-57

“Then cometh he to his disciples, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.  Rise, let us be going: behold, he is at hand that doth betray me.  And while he yet spake, lo, Judas, one of the twelve, came, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and elders of the people.” (Matthew 26:45-47)

Jesus had just returned from his third short period of prayer, and told his disciples they just as well get as much rest as they could before his betrayal.   Even as he spoke the officers were on their way and he told the disciples they better get up and get ready.  Even before he finished speaking Judas came with a large crowd armed with swords and fighting sticks.  Judas had known where Jesus would go to spend the night, and the chief priests thought they could arrest him in middle of the night without drawing much attention.  

“Now he that betrayed him gave them a sign, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he: hold him fast.  And forthwith he came to Jesus, and said, Hail, master; and kissed him. ” (Matthew 26:48-49)  

To keep the disciples from realizing what was happening and be sure they arrested the right person, Judas agreed to greet Jesus with the usual greeting of close friends.  Jesus asked who they were looking for, although he already knew the answer.  John 18:4-6 says, “Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth, and said unto them, Whom seek ye?   They answered him, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus saith unto them, I am he. And Judas also, which betrayed him, stood with them.   As soon then as he had said unto them, I am he, they went backward, and fell to the ground.”    I think for the whole crowd to fall over backward when Jesus identified himself would have scared me, but these guys had their orders and thought of nothing else.

”And Jesus said unto him, Friend, wherefore art thou come? Then came they, and laid hands on Jesus, and took him. ” (Matthew 26:50)

Jesus greeted Judas as a friend, asking why he had come.  He then called attention to the deceitfulness of Judas’ greeting, according to Luke 22:48.  “But Jesus said unto him, Judas, betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss?”

“And, behold, one of them which were with Jesus stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest's, and smote off his ear.” (Matthew 26:51)

John 18:10 tells us it was Peter who drew his sword and cut off the servants ear.  “Then Simon Peter having a sword drew it, and smote the high priest's servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant's name was Malchus.”  He was prepared to protect Jesus at the risk of his life. 

“Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.  Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?  But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?” (Matthew 26:52-54)

Jesus told Peter to put away his sword because it would only endanger him.  If he had chosen, Jesus could have called and God would have sent more than twelve thousand angels to protect him, but it he would not have been able to fulfill the scriptures and obtain our salvation if he had.  Jesus then asked permission to put the servant’s ear back on in Luke 22:51, “And Jesus answered and said, Suffer ye thus far. And he touched his ear, and healed him.”

“In that same hour said Jesus to the multitudes, Are ye come out as against a thief with swords and staves for to take me? I sat daily with you teaching in the temple, and ye laid no hold on me.  But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled.” (Matthew 26:55-56)

Jesus pointed out that if their complaint was legitimate, they could have arrested him at any time with no difficulty.  That they had chosen to do it secretly implied their complaints were not legitimate.  He reminded them that they were just fulfilling the prophecies about Messiah.  The disciples knew the priests and Pharisees were upset that Jesus claimed to be the Messiah.  When he said they were just fulfilling the Scriptures about Messiah, the disciples knew they going to throw the book at him, and probably at anyone who was with him.  They all took off.

“And they that had laid hold on Jesus led him away to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were assembled.” (Matthew 26:57)

With the disciples gone, the officers took Jesus to the high priest for interrogation with no further resistance. 

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