Matthew 26:47-56; Betrayal and Arrest

After his time of prayer, Jesus is set on doing God’s will. His own will and God’s will are in alignment. He is going to allow this scheme of the chief priests and elders to play out. The disciples are not on board.

This is a typical snatch-and-grab operation, complete with secret sign. The schemers have sent out a posse to effect the removal of Jesus to bring him to the high priest. They have come armed. The disciples are also armed, it seems.

The secret sign is a kiss. The Judas kiss is now shorthand for the type of betrayal we see here. Now the thugs know who Jesus is.

One of the disciples uses a sword to minor effect. If it had been the high priest himself who had lost an ear, it would have disqualified him for office. Jesus admonishes the disciples and reminds them of the truth that violence may be exciting, but in the end it leads to death.

If Jesus had wanted to fight back, he had more than 72,000 angels at his disposal. I expect this little knot of thugs would have been overpowered by them, if that had been the plan. But Jesus was sticking to God’s plan. The plan of death rather than the plan of a conquering king. In the end, the disciples can’t take it and they abandon Jesus. The thugs don’t seem to be interested in the disciples, hence the secret sign. Without Jesus, they think, the rest will just dissipate.

Although Jesus is not fighting his arrest, he does chide the arrestors about the necessity of all this subterfuge. He had been in the Temple teaching all week. They could have easily arrested him at any time. But as we know, the priests were concerned about popular reaction. So Jesus was treated as if he were a common robber.

Jesus talks about scripture being fulfilled. What all scriptures he is referring to I would love to know. But I do know that he was totally convinced he was doing the will of his Father.

God help us when we flee and abandon Jesus.

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