The arrest of Jesus
READ Matthew 26:47-56
It seemed absurd that such a large, heavily-armed crowd should be assembled by the authorities to arrest someone whose life had been marked by peace (47). Jesus was not leading a rebellion and had done everything openly (55). Were they simply inquisitive or hired to form a mob? Strangely it appears that many may not have been able to identify Jesus, since a pre-arranged sign was necessary (48). By some obscene irony, Judas chooses the intimate greeting of a close friend to betray Jesus (49). To Judas, Jesus is now nothing more than a rabbi (49, 25). It is a calculated insult.
All of a sudden the barely repressed violence breaks through the surface and one of Jesus’ disciples hacks off the ear of the high priest’s servant. All of the Gospels record this incident, but only John identifies the disciple as Peter (John 18:10). The outcome of his action is pathetically insignificant. If it were to come to violence, Jesus, through His Father, could completely and easily destroy any human forces (53). But violence is not to be His way. It may overwhelm and destroy opponents, but it does nothing to win them over to His side. Violence only begets more violence, and Jesus’ prompt action probably saved Peter from arrest or worse (52). Jesus had come with a message to win over the world (28:18-20). Matthew is as always at pains to demonstrate how Old Testament Scripture is fulfilled in Jesus’ ministry, and in his peaceful progress to death on the cross this is once again true (54, 56; 1:22; 2:5, 6, 17, 18; 4:14-16; 8:17). The fact that all this was foreordained is stressed once again.
PRAY Thank You, Lord, for Your promise and Your example. Give me strength and wisdom to know what to do and say when I’m under pressure.