ONLY JESUS HAS THE POWER TO HAND HIMSELF OVER TO THE AUTHORITIES
Who is ultimately in control? That is a fundamental question in every situation of life. Never was the answer clearer than at the time of the betrayal and arrest of Jesus Christ. The man whose name has become synonymous with betrayal – the traitor Judas – imagined that he was in control as he handed Jesus over to the authorities. The religious authorities imagined that they were in control for having contracted with Judas for the arrest. The soldiers in the arrest party imagined that they were in control as they surrounded Jesus with excessive numbers and force and took him captive. Satan and his demons certainly imagined that the powers of darkness were in control in this – the darkest moment of the world’s history. But ultimately, we know that Jesus was in control of handing himself over to the authorities so that He could go to the cross in fulfilment of OT prophecy and in harmony with the will of His Father. His redemptive mission must trump all other plans and agendas. Certainly the disciples came to realize that they were not in control. Who do we think is in control of our life right now?
I. (:47-48) REACTION TO JUDAS’ BETRAYAL LEADING TO THE ARREST OF JESUS
A. (:37) Treacherous Kiss from Intimate Apostle
“While He was still speaking, behold, a multitude came, and the one called Judas,
one of the twelve, was preceding them; and he approached Jesus to kiss Him.”
Lenski: About 200 Roman soldiers and certainly no less a number of Temple police and besides that a nondescript rabble that ran along to see the excitement block the entrance to Gethsemane.
B. (:48) Touching the Conscience of the Traitor
“But Jesus said to him, ‘Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?’”
Donald Miller: Jesus knew his design and tried to strike a blow on his conscience. He called him by name, he upbraided him for using a kiss for such false purposes, and reminded him that what he was doing was done against the “Son of man” – the Messiah (vs. 48).
Morris: the kiss of greeting expressed friendship and esteem and accordingly this method of betrayal has always seemed particularly heinous.
J. C. Ryle: To betray Christ at any time is the very height of wickedness, but to betray Him with a kiss proves a man to have become a very child of hell.
Jon Geraci: Betrayal is a word reserved for friends and loved ones. A stranger can’t betray you. Betrayal is a breach of faith, bad faith, treachery, double-dealing, duplicity. In the lonely garden, among the ancient olive trees, Jesus neglected, becomes Jesus rejected, Jesus betrayed. He is still Jesus majestic, Jesus the loving Christ, Jesus the patient Christ, Jesus the willing sacrifice.. http://www.calvarycsd.org/
II. (:49-51) RESISTANCE BY DISCIPLES ARRESTED BY JESUS
A. (:49) Quick Question – Should We Fight?
“And when those who were around Him saw what was going to happen, they said,
‘Lord, shall we strike with the sword?’”
When in doubt, it is always good to ask Jesus.
B. (:50) Bold Blunder – Off with His Head!
“And a certain one of them struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his right ear.”
Peter probably imagined that the Lord was going to strike down the entire arresting party and establish His physical kingdom. The disciples still did not grasp the necessity of the Cross before the consummation of the kingdom in glory.
J. C. Ryle: Work for Christ may be done from many spurious motives — from excitement, from emulation, from party spirit, from love of praise — but suffering for Christ will seldom be endured from any but one motive. And that motive is the grace of God. We shall do well to remember these things informing our estimate of the comparative grace of professing Christians.
Some poor, unknown believer who has been lying for years on his back, enduring pain without a murmur, may prove at last to have brought more glory to Christ through his patience and to have done more good through his prayers than the public action of others. The grand test of grace is patient suffering. Remember God’s words about Saul, Acts 9:16. “I will show Saul what great things he will suffer for My name.” Peter, we may be sure did far less good when he drew his sword and cut off a man’s ear than when he stood calmly before the council as a prisoner and said, “I cannot but speak the things that I have seen and heard.”
There is a great reminder in this about our acceptance of the hard providences of God in our lives and the role that that plays in our witness to Christ.
C. (:51a) Authoritative Answer – Stop Fighting!
“But Jesus answered and said, ‘Stop! No more of this.’”
J. Ligon Duncan: the important thing that Jesus understands at this point is not to go on the offensive and attack. The important thing for Him to do here is to accept the providence of God in this moment. And that’s actually the important thing for the disciples. This is not the time for them to draw the sword. This is time for them to accept God’s providence. You understand how important this is — the false charge that the Jews are going to bring against Jesus to the Romans is that He is the leader of a rebellion against Roman rule, as well as a blasphemer claiming to be the Messiah, the Son of God, a charge which the Romans, frankly, could not have cared less about. But they very much cared about the idea of rebels leading groups of people against their rule. And so Jesus must immediately establish that He has no intention of fighting this Roman cohort because He’s never lead anybody in violent action before in His life. In fact, He has ministered, and He’ll say later on, in the broad daylight saying everything that He said for everyone to hear who wanted to hear it. There’s nothing secretive and sneaky about what Jesus is doing. He’s not fomenting a secret rebellion against Rome and so it’s very important that He and His disciples respond in that way so that it is seen again, even by His accusers, that their accusations are false.
Deffinbaugh: Apart from the quick action of our Lord, I believe that a blood bath would have occurred. Jesus first took charge of the situation with the words, “No more of this!” This expression has been taken in a number of ways, but I think that Jesus is calling a truce. Both the disciples and the arresting officials heeded the Master’s command. He surely was in charge here, and fortunately so. Jesus healed the ear of Malchus, the servant of the high priest. In the other accounts, Jesus told His disciples that to resist His arrest would have been to resist the eternal purpose of God, which was for the Messiah to die as a sin-bearer. He also reminded them that if He wished to defend Himself, He could have called 12 legions of angels to His side (Matthew 26:53). But the Scriptures must be fulfilled (Matthew 26:54). . .
I think, however, that there is something even greater here. I believe that the diffusing of this explosive situation, even after Peter had swung his sword, was the direct result of the power and authority which Jesus possessed here. Jesus is portrayed by the Gospels here not only as a person of great composure and dignity, but also as a man of great personal power. When Jesus spoke, men did listen. Just as the power of our Lord caused the soldiers to draw back from Him and to fall on the ground (John 18:6), so His dignity and power here caused the soldiers to “cease fire” at the command of our Lord. Jesus was in charge here, so that when He said, “Enough of this!” everyone stopped dead in their tracks. Jesus’ power was so great that no one even thought about taking Peter into custody, even though he had just assaulted a man with a deadly weapon. Its really amazing when you think of it, isn’t it?
MacArthur: 3 Reasons Jesus put a stop to this violent resistance:
– It’s fatal – it will stop our movement
– It’s foolish – I don’t need you help; if I chose to defend myself I could send 10,000 angels
– It’s against fulfilment of Scripture
D. (51b) Miraculous Mending – Tender Touch.
“And He touched his ear and healed him.”
J. C. Ryle: There are several remarkable things about this miracle. It is the only instance in the Gospels of our Lord healing a fresh wound caused by external violence. It is a striking instance of a miracle worked on an enemy, unasked for, without faith in the person healed, and without any apparent thankfulness for the cure. It is an extraordinary proof of the wickedness and hardness of our Lord’s enemies, that so wonderful a miracle as this could be wrought without any effect being produced on them. Some think that in the darkness the miracle was not seen by anyone except those immediately around Malchus.
Geldenhuys: Through Peter’s thoughtless act the Saviour is placed in a difficult position. For now His enemies may easily accuse Him of being the leader of a group of violent men. The Lord therefore immediately forbids His disciples to offer any further resistance. And in order to remedy the injury already inflicted, He immediately heals the wounded servant. The Saviour must be killed as the Sacrificial Lamb of God. But there must not be the slightest cause for His enemies to accuse Him! So the Saviour repairs the mischief wrought by His impulsive disciple in his foolish short-sightedness, and thus He could subsequently declare before Pilate without fear of contradiction: “My kingdom is not of this world; if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence” (John xviii.6).
Lenski: This is a remarkable miracle, the last that Jesus wrought, and it is performed in the interest of one of his captors. . .the ear was slashed off and hung by a shred of skin so that a mere touch of Jesus restored it perfectly. . . This is one of the plain miracles which ought to settle the contention that faith is necessary in the person to be healed.
III. (:52-53) RIDICULE OF THE COWARDICE AND DUPLICITY OF THE ARRESTING OFFICIALS
A. (:52) Embarrassing Overkill
“And Jesus said to the chief priests and officers of the temple and elders who had come against Him, ‘Have you come out with swords and clubs as against a robber?’”
B. (:53) Extraordinary Opportunity
1. Not Seizing Repeated Opportunities
“While I was with you daily in the temple, you did not lay hands on Me;”
Morris: The clear implication is that there is something underhand in this clandestine arrest.
2. Being Allowed This Unique Opportunity
“but this hour and the power of darkness are yours.”
Anyabwile: The “hour – and the dominion of darkness” (v. 53) refers to that moment when the betrayal of Jesus and his sacrifice are carried out. They could not take him before it was time, but at the appointed time the Lord gave himself over to them to accomplish the Father’s will. The power of darkness has the upper hand now, but it’s only an “hour.” It’s only for a brief time, and it’s only for God’s purpose. Satan thinks he has conquered the Son of God. What he has really done is help complete the plan of God. Even cowardice and darkness are made to do God’s bidding.
Jon Geraci: Jesus will win. The light will drive out the darkness. When the light appears the presence and the power of darkness are broken. Jesus Christ is the light of the world. In the end—the hour will come and the hour will go—and eternity future remains. The power of darkness and those who oppose Christ may have an hour—but that will be all