Jesus Betrayed, Arrested, and Forsaken.

-. JESUS BETRAYED, ARRESTED, AND FORSAKEN.
(Gethsemane. Friday, several hours before dawn.)
a MATT. 26:47-56; b MARK 14:43-52; c LUKE 22:47-53; d JOHN 18:2-11.

        d 2 Now Judas also, who betrayed him, knew the place: for Jesus ofttimes resorted thither with his disciples. [See Section 107.]

  3 Judas then, having received the band of soldiers, and officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, cometh thither with lanterns and torches and weapons.

  b 43 And straightway, while he yet spake, a lo, Judas, one of the twelve, came, {b cometh,} a and with him a multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests b and the scribes and the elders. a of the people. c behold, a multitude, and he that was called Judas, went before them [The presence of Judas is mentioned by each Evangelist. His treachery made a deep impression upon them. The arresting party which accompanied Judas consisted of the band of officers and men from the temple guard or Levitical police, Pharisees, scribes, servants, chief priests, captains of the temple and elders. They were well supplied with lights, for while the passover is always held when the moon is full, the moon at this time of night would be near setting, and the valley of the Kidron, in which Gethsemane lay, would be darkened by the shadow of the adjoining mountain];

  d 4 Jesus therefore, knowing all the things that were coming upon him, went forth, and saith unto them, Whom seek ye?

  5 They answered him, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus saith unto them, I am he. And Judas also, who betrayed him, was standing with them.

  6 When therefore he said unto them, I am he, they went backward, and fell to the ground.

  7 Again therefore he asked them, Whom seek ye? And they said, Nazareth.

  8 Jesus answered, I told you that I am he; if therefore ye seek me, let these go their way:

  9 that the word might be fulfilled which he spake, Of those whom thou hast given me I lost not one. [John mentions the foreknowledge of Jesus to remind us that he could have avoided the arrest had he chosen to do so. Even the foreknowledge of Elisha was difficult to deal with ( 2 Kings 6:8-12 ). Jesus asked, "Whom seek ye?" (1) To openly and manfully declare his identity; (2) to make the Jewish rulers fully conscious that they were arresting him, an innocent man; (3) to confine the arrest to himself and thus deliver his disciples. The older commentators regard the falling to the ground as a miracle, but modern scholars look upon it as a result of sudden fear. Jesus merely manifested his dignity and majesty, and the prostration followed as a natural result.]

  a 48 Now he that betrayed him gave {b had given} them a token, a a sign, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that is he: take him. b and lead him away safely. c and he drew near unto Jesus to kiss him.

  48 But Jesus said unto him, Judas, betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss?

  b 45 And when he was come, a straightway he came to Jesus, and said {b saith,} a Hail, Rabbi; and kissed him.

  50 And Jesus said unto him, Friend, do that for which thou art come. [Some place this event before the preceding paragraph. It comports better with the fitness of things to place it here. Jesus made Judas feel his utter nothingness, and his worthlessness even as a betrayer. Before Judas can in any way identify Jesus, the Lord had twice declared himself to be the party whom they sought. When he approaches to carry out his contract, the Lord's question exposes him before all as a betrayer, and not a disciple as he wished to appear to be (for kissing was the common mode of salutation between men, especially between teacher and pupils), and when Judas brazenly persists in completing the sign, Jesus bids him do it, not as a friend, but as a traitor. Little did the betrayer think that the kiss of Judas would become a proverb in every nation.]

and laid hands on Jesus, and took him. [The sight of Judas touching him no doubt reassured them, and they laid hands on Jesus.]

  c 49 And when they that were about him saw what would follow, they said, Lord, shall we smite with the sword?

  b 47 But

{a 51 And} behold,

  d 10 Simon Peter b a certain one of them that stood by a that were with Jesus d therefore having a sword a stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and smote {d struck} a the servant of the high priest, and struck {d cut} off his right ear. [We have seen that the apostles were but scantily armed, there being only two swords in their possession. See Section 119. Peter evidently carried one of these, and stood ready to make good his boast that he would suffer, and, if need be, die in his Lord's service. evidently struck a downward blow at Malchus' head, and Malchus would have been killed had he not dodged.] Now the servant's name was Malchus. [John knew the household of the high priest ( John 18:16 ). He knew Malchus by name, and he also knew his kindred-- John 18:26 .]

  c 51 But Jesus answered and said, Suffer ye them thus far. And he touched his ear, and healed him. [Some think that Jesus spoke these words, "Suffer ye thus far," to those who held him, asking them to loose him sufficiently to enable him to touch the ear of Malchus. But the revision committee by inserting "them" make Jesus address his disciples, commanding them not to interfere with those who were arresting him, making it a general statement of the idea which the Lord addressed specifically to Peter in the next sentence.]

  a 52 Then

  d 11 Jesus therefore said {a saith} d unto Peter, a Put up again thy {d the} sword into the sheath: a its place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword. d the cup which the Father hath given me, shall I not drink it? [By the healing of Malchus' ear and the words spoken to Peter, Jesus shows that the sword is not to be used either to defend the truth or to advance his kingdom. Had he not thus spoken testified that his kingdom was not of this world ( John 18:36 ). While we know better than to rely upon the aid of the sword for the advance of truth, we are often tempted to put undue trust in other "carnal weapons" which are equally futile. Wealth and eloquence and elaborate church buildings have but little saving grace in them. It is the truth which wins. By using the word "cup" John gives us an echo of the agony in Gethsemane, which suggests that he expects his readers to be conversant with the other Gospels. The other Evangelists, having shown that Jesus was fully resolved to drink the cup, do not regard it as necessary to repeat these words.]

  a 53 Or thinkest thou that I cannot beseech my Father, and he shall even now send me more than twelve legions of angels?

  54 How then should the scriptures be fulfilled that thus it must be? [Jesus still addresses Peter. Had it accorded with the divine purpose that Jesus should resist this arrest, angels and not men would have been his proper and infinitely more effective rescuers. But, on the contrary, it was God's purpose that he should be arrested, as the Scripture had foretold.]

  55 In that hour b Jesus answered and said unto them a the multitudes, c the chief priests, and captains of the temple, and elders, that were come against him, Are ye come out, as against a robber, with swords and staves? a to seize me?

  c 53 When a I sat {b was} daily with you in the temple teaching, c ye stretched not forth your hands against me: b and ye took me not: c but this is your hour, and the power of darkness.

  a 56 But all this is come to pass, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. [The party which came to arrest Jesus was large. The word "band" used by John to describe part of it is speira, which is the Greek name for the cohort, a division of the Roman army which in the time of Augustus contained 555 men. Ten cohorts, or a legion, were usually quartered in the castle Antonia, at the northwest corner of the temple enclosure. That the whole cohort was present is not likely ( Matthew 27:27 ), Evangelists therefore properly style it a great multitude. Moreover, it was a motley crowd. Its strength and diversity suggest the fear that Jesus might miraculously defend himself. Each part of the crowd found courage in the strength possessed by the other part, the priests relying upon the solidity of the soldiers, the soldiers superstitiously trusting to some spiritual power residing in the priests, etc. Now, because of these fears, the preparation was as great as if some band of robbers was to be taken. The questions of Jesus, therefore, show two facts: 1. By their extensive preparation the rulers bore an unintentional testimony to his divine power. 2. By their failure to arrest him openly in the temple, they bore witness to his innocence. With his divinity and his innocence, therefore, Jesus challenges them, referring to their own conduct for testimony thereto. In conclusion, he cites them to the Scriptures which they were fulfilling. Our Lord's dual reference to the Old Testament at this sacred time should cause us to handle them with awe and reverence.]

  b 50 And a Then all of the disciples left him, and fled.

  b 51 And a certain young man followed with him, having a linen cloth cast about him, over his naked body: and they lay hold on him;

  52 but he left the linen cloth, and fled naked. [All the predictions of Jesus had failed to prepare the apostles for the terrors of his arrest. Despite all his warnings, each apostle sought his own safety. The young man who fled naked is usually presumed to be Mark himself, and it is thought that he thus speaks impersonally after the manner of Matthew and John. The manner of his description shows that he was not an apostle. As Mark's mother resided in Jerusalem ( Acts 12:12 Acts 12:25 ), Canon Cook advances the theory that the Lord's Supper was eaten in the upper room of her house, and that when the disciples retired with Jesus from thence to Gethsemane, Mark slipped from his bed, threw his sindon about him, and followed after them. The sindon, or linen vestment, was very costly, not being worn even by the middle classes: no apostle would be thus attired.]