As soon as Jesus prays for the third time for God’s will to be done, He tells the disciples exactly what is about to happen. Jesus knew all along what would happen. Jesus prays, asking God’s will in the matter. God’s plan, written by prophets long ago, will be completed in the coming hours. Everything that is about to happen looks as if the religious leaders are following a script without really knowing that God is in complete control of the situation for His Son’s mission. The leaders who read the scriptures, debate the meaning daily, but who have lost touch with God, really don’t know the significance of what they are doing. They are full of evil, led by evil.
Jesus tries once more to point out to His beloved disciples what is going on before it happens. “But look—the time has come. The Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Up, let’s be going. Look, my betrayer is here!” Right on cue, Judas leads a small army into the garden to arrest the Son of God. Judas thinks he is in control, right?! Wow.
Notice that the religious leaders didn’t have the guts to come along for the arrest they have been so looking forward to for three years! The men armed with swords and clubs had been sent by leading priests. This is not only Truth telling of their hard hearts toward God, but fulfilling of the Word they boasted they knew so well. Could it be they worshiped God’s Law instead of worshiping God? (Yes.)
Do we do that at times? Do we use God’s Word, our Bibles, as a sword to maim, destroy, lord over, judge, prove our point in debate, and crucify others who we think do not believe as we do? Yikes. Help us all, Lord. May we worship You first, as the One and Only, to be praised. May we use Your Word to us as Your Light for our path through this dark world. May our relationship with You be our highest priority for life now and forever. Oh, teach us, Lord. In Jesus Name, Amen.
Matthew—God’s Word Fulfilled
Matthew 26:47-56, NLT
Jesus Is Betrayed and Arrested
47 And even as Jesus said this, Judas, one of the twelve disciples, arrived with a crowd of men armed with swords and clubs. They had been sent by the leading priests and elders of the people. 48 The traitor, Judas, had given them a prearranged signal: “You will know which one to arrest when I greet him with a kiss.” 49 So Judas came straight to Jesus. “Greetings, Rabbi!” he exclaimed and gave him the kiss.
50 Jesus said, “My friend, go ahead and do what you have come for.”
Then the others grabbed Jesus and arrested him. 51 But one of the men with Jesus pulled out his sword and struck the high priest’s slave, slashing off his ear.
52 “Put away your sword,” Jesus told him. “Those who use the sword will die by the sword. 53 Don’t you realize that I could ask my Father for thousands of angels to protect us, and he would send them instantly? 54 But if I did, how would the Scriptures be fulfilled that describe what must happen now?”
55 Then Jesus said to the crowd, “Am I some dangerous revolutionary, that you come with swords and clubs to arrest me? Why didn’t you arrest me in the Temple? I was there teaching every day. 56 But this is all happening to fulfill the words of the prophets as recorded in the Scriptures.” At that point, all the disciples deserted him and fled.
On cue, according to the prophets who wrote, “the sheep will scatter”, (Zachariah 13:7) the disciples deserted Him and ran away. However, Peter and John later go against the plan. We will talk more about that later.
DIGGING DEEPER STILL…
“The fact that this band of soldiers and temple guards carried weapons and lanterns shows that Judas did not really understand Jesus. Judas thought they would have to search for Him in the garden and fight off His disciples in order to arrest Him. But Jesus came to them and calmly surrendered. It would not even have been necessary for Judas to betray Jesus with a kiss, for Jesus told the soldiers who He was.” (Warren Wiersbe, Commentator)
It is tragic to see how Judas cheapened everything that he touched. His name means praise (Gen. 29:35), yet who would name a son “Judas” today? He used the kiss as a weapon, not as a sign of affection. In that day, it was customary for disciples to kiss their teacher. But in this case, it was not a mark of submission or respect. The Greek verbs indicate that Judas kissed Jesus repeatedly.
Jesus was the Word made flesh. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.” (John 1) But here is Peter, who had argued with the Word, denied the Word, and disobeyed the Word (when he went to sleep). “Now he ran ahead of the Word. In his zeal to help Jesus, Peter cut off Malchus’s ear with a sword. He did not wait for the Lord to tell him what to do, but (like Moses in Egypt, Ex. 2:11–15) Peter rushed ahead and trusted the arm of flesh. Had Jesus not healed the ear of Malchus, there probably would have been four crosses on Calvary! The fact that the guards had not arrested Him in the temple indicates that there was a divine timetable controlling His life. These things were not happening by accident, but by appointment. It was all part of God’s plan, yet evil men were responsible for the deed”. (Wiersbe)
Jesus could have put a stop to all of this, but He didn’t. Jesus loved us too much to stop God’s Plan of redemption being fulfilled once and for all. Wow.
Lord, God of Heaven and Earth,
I love you back with all my heart, mind and soul. I will live gratefully knowing how much you love me and all who believe and follow you. Thank you. Just, Thank you. I will meditate on this all day long.
In Jesus Name, Amen
And I’m singing…”Ten Thousand Angels”
They bound the hands of Jesus in the garden where he pray
They led him through the street in shame
They spat upon the Savior so pure and free from sin
They said crucify him he’s to blame
He could have called ten thousand angels to destroy the world and set him free
He could have called ten thousand angels but he died alone for you and me