October 17, 2011
The Arrest of Christ
“And they laid their hands on Him and took Him.”
The motley group came to the garden to find Him. Their leader, Judas, knew the place and the person. Swords and staves were present to overcome the Omnipotent One. Lanterns and torches were available to find the Light of the world. Judas, we read, went straight to Him and kissed Him with his hypocritical words, “Master, Master.” Then with an amazing economy of words, we read simply, “They laid their hands on Him and took Him.”
We become accustomed to the scene so that its mystery no longer evokes awe as it ought. Puny man seizing, binding, and carrying away the Lord of Glory! Angels must have watched in amazement. Philistines had once carried away the ark and as a result had been smitten. A man had stretched forth his hand to “destroy the Lord’s anointed,” and David had had him slain (2Samuel 1:14). Yet here were men touching, binding, and taking the Son of God away as a common criminal to face religious and then civil charges in the courts of men.
But there may have arisen a momentary sigh of relief as angels observed Peter come to the rescue of His Master. Certainly, here was the means God would use to extricate His Son from the hands of men. No doubt God would empower Him to overcome the overwhelming odds and emerge as the hero of the day. But then the words of Christ arrested Peter’s momentary zeal and all His disciples fled.
If angels watched in amazement, a Father watched with both infinite delight, and infinite anguish. The delight would be that His Son would willingly take “the cup” (John 18:11) the Father had given Him, despite all it would mean. The infinite anguish? That men would dare to treat the object of His supreme delight, pleasure, and love as they were doing that night. Only the Father appreciated all His Son is; only the Father could value what His Son rightly deserved.
1. The Garden scene is, and will eternally be, a scene of holy wonder. Notice the Lord Jesus as the supplicant (vv 35-41). Yet He never asked anyone to pray for Him. What does that signify?
2. Why did the Lord Jesus utter the words of verses 48, 49? If they had honestly answered the questions, what would have been the result for them personally?
3. It was night time. Yet in Mark 14:53, the chief priests, elders and scribes were all gathered together waiting for the arresting party to return with their prey. In Acts 4:3 Peter and John were kept in prison until the morning when the council gathered. History tells us that they were not supposed to meet at night to judge cases. What does that indicate about the malice toward the Lord Jesus?