Jesus Is Arrested
(Mark 14.43-50; Luke 22.47-53; John 18.3-12)
47Jesus was still speaking, when Judas the betrayer came up. He was one of the twelve disciples, and a large mob armed with swords and clubs was with him. They had been sent by the chief priests and the nation's leaders. 48Judas had told them ahead of time, “Arrest the man I greet with a kiss.”
49Judas walked right up to Jesus and said, “Hello, teacher.” Then Judas kissed him.
50Jesus replied, “My friend, do what you came for.”
The men grabbed Jesus and arrested him. 51One of Jesus' followers pulled out a sword. He struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his ear.
52But Jesus told him, “Put your sword away. Anyone who lives by fighting will die by fighting. 53Don't you know that I could ask my Father, and he would at once send me more than twelve armies of angels? 54But then, how could the words of the Scriptures come true, which say this must happen?”
55 Jesus said to the mob, “Why do you come with swords and clubs to arrest me like a criminal? Day after day I sat and taught in the temple, and you didn't arrest me. 56But all this happened, so that what the prophets wrote would come true.”
All Jesus' disciples left him and ran away.
As a young boy I was often bullied at school. Interestingly enough it was never by one person alone but always by a group. It seems that children aren’t that brave when they’re alone but put them with a few other bullies and they get quite courageous.
Jesus wasn’t a hard person to find. He walked around town quite openly. He didn’t have bodyguards. He didn’t carry a weapon. And as far as we can tell from history, he wasn’t very intimidating by his physical stature. Yet here in these verses we read that a large group of very intimidating bullies hunted Jesus down in the middle of the night as if he were a common criminal.
One of his own team members, Judas, brought a squad of armed men with swords and clubs to capture this ferocious and scary Jesus. How crazy is that?
It was bad enough that one of his own friends betrayed him. But to add insult to misery, the chief priests and elders (Sanhedrin) treated Jesus like an enemy of the state. Like big bullies, they used the age old tools of intimidation and fear. Kind of like a group of ninth graders picking on one small sixth-grader.
Have you ever felt that way? Have you ever felt that life was unfair? That Satan had you marked for extinction? You’re not alone. Bullies are everywhere. But Jesus gives us a beautiful model of how to respond. He could have snapped his finger and 72,000 angels would have appeared for his defense but instead he reached out in love. That same love would symbolize his entire life here on earth.
I’m not suggesting you be a martyr but when you are attacked don’t lower yourself to respond in kind. Take the high road – the Jesus road. Let love be your weapon.
Dear Lord, I know I’m guilty of sometimes talking without thinking and acting without loving. Help me to follow your example. Let me be known by love
Dr. Barry Slauenwhite is Canadian Regional Director for Best Christian Workplaces Instiute. He is also President Emeritus of Compassion Canada where he has served since 1983. Barry's advocacy for the poor has taken him to 61 countries. From his experience as a pastor and a ministry leader, he passionately works to promote holistic child development through the local church as being the most effective kingdom-building strategy available to the Christian world. Barry's latest book, Strategic Compassion, addresses the theological implications of poverty and draws a conclusion that the gospel is the most effective tool the church has to eradicate poverty.