Lesson 113: The Arrest of Jesus in or Near the Garden
Matt 26:47-56, Mark 14:43-50, Luke 22:47-53, John 18:1-11
A Blending of The Four Gospel Records. Welcome to lesson # 113. In our last lesson we discussed Jesus and the eleven apostles leaving the upper room in the city of Jerusalem, going outside the city wall, crossing the brook Cedron and entering into a garden on the mount of Olive* called Gethsemane. As they made that walk, something over a half mile in the darkness; they must have talked and conversed all the way. To paraphrase that conversation briefly, Jesus told them it was going to be a rough night; they would all be offended because of Jesus that night (Matt; 26:31). Jesus quoted from the O.T., "I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered abroad." Peter insisted that it wouldn't happen. Peter said he was ready to go to prison or even die with Jesus. All the disciples said "Amen" to Peter's bold statement. But Jesus told Peter he would deny him three times before the night was over. Jesus told them it was going to be much rougher than anything they experienced during the limited commission, when they had went without money, etc. When they got to the garden; Jesus asked them to watch and pray. He took Peter, James and John a little farther and asked them to watch and pray also. Jesus went about a stones-throw farther and began to pray, "Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me nevertheless, not my will, but thine, be done." Jesus came back to Peter, James and John and found them sleeping. This happened three times. We concluded from this that Jesus' words, about how difficult the night was going to be, did not really impress them and sink-in to the extent it should have. This is where our last lesson ended. It was at this moment that Judas showed up with the crowd that arrested Jesus. Let's, begin reading in John ch. 18. We've already read v.1; but, let's re-read v.1 and then read on down through v.11. So, put your eyes on that. Beginning in John 18: 1, let's read. "When Jesus had spoken these words, he went forth with his disciples over the brook Cedron where was a garden, into the which he entered, and his disciples. And Judas also, which betrayed him, knew the place; for Jesus oft times resorted thither with his disciples. Judas then, having received a band of men and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, cometh thither with lanterns and torches and weapons. 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. Then asked he them again, Whom seek ye? And they said, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus answered, I have.told you that I am he: if therefore ye seek me, let these go their way: that the saying might be fulfilled, which he spake, of them which thou gavest me have I lost none. 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. Then said Jesus unto Peter, Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?" . . •
O.K., let me ask you; how much time was consumed in the activity of arresting Jesus in these verses? I think you would, agree only a moment or two was involved in the actual arrest, Judas knew where to find Jesus. V.3 said Judas had received a "band" of men. They were sent from: the chief .priests and Pharisees, it says. Get a grip on John's description of the mob at the end of v.3, some had lanterns, some had torches, some had weapons. Undoubtedly, they were expecting a scrap. They apparently thought Jesus and the apostles would run and try to escape into the night. These men, who were no doubt part of the officers belonging to the captain of the temple, we've mentioned before; were a little shocked when Jesus walked right up to them and said, "Whom seek ye? As I said, they were likely prepared for a chase. The boldness of Jesus must have caused them to fear for just a moment that they may be walking into an ambush. When they began to back up, Jesus repeated his question, "Whom seek ye?" Notice how they identified Jesus. Most people in those days had only one name and were identified by that one name followed by the geographic location of their home or ancestral city. If two or more people had the same name in that place, then they added the words "son of so-and-so" to distinguish one from the other, like Simon bar-jona, Matt. 16:17, i.e. Simon the son of John. So, apparently there was NOT another Jesus, of Nazareth. The word Christ, as we have said before, was a title, meaning: the anointed one, and in this case, the Anointed One of God, So, of course, the officers here did not use that title, you see. Jesus made them a proposition, i.e.take him and let the others go their way. At that point, Peter jerked out his sword and made a sashay at one of the mob. And, there's not much doubt that Peter was aiming for the man's head; but, undoubtedly the man ducked down probably jerking his head sideways. Peter's sword sliced off only the man's ear. Thus, we must conclude that Peter was a pretty active man. John gives us the name of the servant that Peter struck. The name was Malchus (v.10). Jesus immediately scolded Peter, "Put up thy sword into the sheath the cup which myFather hath given me, shall I not drink it?" That mob only rebuked Peter; it was also a message to the officers and the mob that Jesus was not going to resist arrest.
That's about all we learn from John; but Matthew and the other writers add a few more interesting bits of information. So, let's read Matthew. The reference is Matt. 26«47. We're going to read v.47 thru 56. Have you located that? Let's read, beginning in Matt. 26i47. "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. 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. And Jesus said unto him, Friend, wherefore art thou come? Then came they, and laid hands on Jesus, and took him. 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, and smote off his ear. 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? 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." Alright, what else did we learn? In v.47 Matthew described the mob. Judas was up front. The fact that Judas had agreed with the mob to identify Jesus with a kiss reinforces our theory that the mob expected Jesus and the eleven to run and resist arrest. Judas had told them, "hold him fast" (v.48). Notice how Jesus addressed Judas "Friend, wherefore art thou come?" You understand, of course, Jesus KNEW WHY Judas AND THE MOB had come, but, this forced a verbal, .self-incriminating response or at the very least, caused all in the sound of Jesus' voice to think upon the question. And, I ask you, WHY DID Judas do this? Judas had seen Jesus calm a storm on the Sea of Galilee. He had seen Jesus walk on the water and feed five thousand people with five loaves and two fishes. As a matter of fact, (put this in your computer) Judas had received from Jesus the power to heal all manner of disease. I'm talking about the limited commission in Matthew ch. 10. Surely, Judas had exercised that power, some place, as he had gone from city to city over Galilee with another of the apostles; whoever was his partner.(Judas had seen Jesus raise at least three people from the dead, the widow's son at Nain, Jairus' daughter and Lazarus.; Did Judas think that Jesus could not thwart his arrest on that hillside called the Mt. of Olives in the middle of the night?? We, of course, do not know Judas' thinking. It all seems very inconsistent to us. Yet, you just can't explain some things. I heard on the evening news just a few days ago about a law enforcement officer who had been arrested for dealing in drugs. Can you explain that? John SAID Judas was a thief, John 12:6. This tells us much about Judas' character. Yet, he must have been a good man and a decent man and a converted man when Jesus chose Judas as an apostle, Luke 6:12-13, only two years before. What's the message to us? People change! The apostle Paul at a later time told the Corinthians, "let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall." There's a great message there for us, think it through!
Did you notice here in Matt, v.50; that when Judas kissed Jesus, "they...laid hands on Jesus, and took him?" So, Matthew, who was there, said in effect, they immediately grabbed Jesus. John, you will remember I said the officers went backward at first. But, when Judas came forward and kissed Jesus, they grabbed Jesus. That's when Peter made his famous hasty sashay at Malchus. That must have brought on a little scuffle. That's when Jesus began to-scold Peter and told him to put the sword away. Apparently, the arrest was peaceable and quite from that point forward. John told us that Jesus: instructed Peter to put away the sword. But, Matthew gives a little; more of the dialogue in v.53. Jesus asked Peter, "Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to the Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?" Can't you just see Judas looking up toward the sky, looking for angels, when he heard that? A legion was six thousand men in the Roman army. Can you imagine twelve legions? 72,000 angels descending on Mt. Olivet in the middle of the night? That sure would have turned the table. But, then look at v.53! Jesus' next question to Peter, "how then shall the Scriptures be fulfilled...?" Now, get the message here! That mob didn't arrest Jesus by force! Jesus •went with them because he was obeying the heavenly Father. Jesus went as a matter of duty. He didn't go because he was forced to go! Now, it COULD BE that Judas was expecting some big miraculous thing to happen. Some have suggested that Judas THOUGHT this would bring a showdown, Jesus would miraculously defeat the mob and declare himself King of Israel, in a civil sense, This would have fulfilled the expectations of many, of course; we've talked about the popular Jewish concept of the messiah before. Whether that was Judas's thinking or not, I don't know. But, even if that was Judas' thinking; it has a great message for us! DON'T TRY TO RUN GOD'S BUSINESS! There, must be a thousand examples of this in the scripture. Do you remember Sarah, Abraham's wife? Because she was too old to bear children, she tried to help out God by giving Abraham her handmaid, Hagar, so Abraham could get that son that God had promised to Abraham (Gen, 15:4). But, Sarah just brought on a lot of problems for herself. So, be careful about trying to help out God. He made us, remember? He can do it without us! Do you remember what John the Baptist said to the Pharisees and Sadducees in Matt. 3:9? They said, "We have Abraham to our father..." John said, "God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham." Well, any way; the point is: Jesus did not go because he was forced to go. Jesus was arrested BECAUSE Jesus submitted to their arrest. So, don't miss the point. Then, here in Matt, v.55, Jesus asked that mob why they didn't arrest him in the temple, that is back on Tuesday? You know the answer to that. The first sentence in v. 56 are the words of Jesus, But the last sentence is Matthews words, "Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled." Apparently as they began to lead Jesus away, the eleven were suddenly every man for himself.
Now, let's read Mark! Mark 14:43-50. I'm ready when you are. Beginning at Mark 14:43. Let's read. "And immediately, while he yet spake, cometh Judas, one of the twelve, and with a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders. And he that betrayed him had given them a token, saying, Whosoever I shall kiss, that same is he; take him, and lead him away safely. And as soon as he was come, he goeth straightway to him, and saith, Master; Master; and kissed him. And they laid their hands on him, and took him. And one of them that stood by drew a sword, and smote a servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear. And Jesus answered and said unto them, Are ye come out, as against a thief, with swords and with staves to take me? I was daily with you in the temple teaching, and ye took me not: but the Scriptures must be fulfilled. And they all forsook him, and fled," O.K. very much like Matthew. Both writers described the mob as "a great multitude." Mark was the first to mention scribes in that multitude; but, of course, you would have suspected that.
Let's go to Luke. We're looking for Luke ch, 22. The verses are v.47-53. We're going to begin with v.47 in Luke ch. 22. Let's see what else we can learn. Let's read it! "And while he yet spake, behold a multitude, and he that was called Judas, one of the twelve, went before them, and drew near, unto Jesus to kiss him. But Jesus said unto him, Judas, betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss? When they which were about him saw what would follow, they said unto him, Lord, shall we smite with the sword? And one of them smote the servant of the high priest, and cut off his right ear. And Jesus answered and said, Suffer ye thus far, And he touched his ear, and healed him. Then Jesus said unto the chief priests, and captains of the temple, and the elders, which were come to him, Be ye come out, as against a thief, with swords and staves? When I was daily with you in the temple, ye stretched forth no hands against me: but this is your hour, and the power of darkness." Alright, what did you learn? Jesus healed Malchus' ear. It's interesting that Luke was the only writer to tell us about that. You will remember Luke was a physician and it would appear he tended to pickup on things of a medical nature. Can you visualize Jesus healing Malchus' ear? V.51 said Jesus touched Malchus' ear. Can you imagine the thoughts of Malchus? One moment an ear is missing; the. next moment it's back again. What did Jesus mean in v.51 when he said, "Suffer ye thus far?" Well, you've got me; I'll leave that one with you. Every translation translates it different. The NASB quotes Jesus as saying, "Stop, No more of this." Is that the idea? In v.53, Jesus said to the captain of the temple, the elders and the mob, “this is your hour", i.e. they were running the show at the moment. It has to do with the fact that Jesus was submitting to the mob out of obedience to the heavenly Father; we talked about this before. The ^power of darkness" in v.53, simply means the workings of Satan. All these things took place in the matter of a very few minutes. Try to re-enact this whole scene in your own mind. Until our next lesson, as you are reenacting that scene, have a good day.