Friday, February 25, 2011

Mark 14:43-52 Jesus' Betrayal and Arrest

43 And immediately, while He was still speaking, Judas, one of the twelve, with a great multitude with swords and clubs, came from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders. 44 Now His betrayer had given them a signal, saying, “Whomever I kiss, He is the One; seize Him and lead Him away safely.” 45 As soon as He had come, immediately he went up to Him and said to Him, “Rabbi, Rabbi!” and kissed Him. 46 Then they laid their hands on Him and took Him. 47 And one of those who stood by drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear. 48 Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Have you come out, as against a robber, with swords and clubs to take Me? 49I was daily with you in the temple teaching, and you did not seize Me. But the Scriptures must be fulfilled.” 50 Then they all forsook Him and fled. 51 Now a certain young man followed Him, having a linen cloth thrown around his naked body. And the young men laid hold of him, 52 and he left the linen cloth and fled from them naked.

On this Friday, well into the night on the Mount of Olives in a small olive groove, (or garden) Jesus has brought His disciples. And there He commands them to watch while He Himself will go about a stone’s throw away from them so that He might pray. Not just ordinarily pray, as one might assume if unfamiliar with what was unfolding. But pray with all of His being to submit to the Father’s Will. So that He might willingly bear the judgment of all of humanities sins on Calvary’s cross. From Adam and Eve’s first transgression to every sin since, preceding Jesus Christ’s crucifixion, to every sin committed since. Jesus Christ crucified for our redemption from sin and death is the Christian message that saves all who believe from an eternity in hell. For all who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ will never see death; that is what Jesus Christ’s resurrection from the dead guarantees, life everlasting (John 3:16; 11:25-26). Now the horrific struggle that was born by the Lord Jesus Christ in that serine place is known only to Him. We are only told that so intense was it that Jesus’ sweat fell to ground as drops of blood, while an angel was sent from heaven to strengthen Him in that moment. Beyond that we can only speculate. Yet we ourselves cannot fathom what went on in Jesus' Person that night. At best our capability of comprehending the magnitude of Jesus’ sacrifice for us is only mirrored by the disciples sleeping. For truly only Divinity could possibly comprehend what was at stake on that night.

Jesus then having commanded the disciples to watch then goes to pray. And three times during the night Jesus pleads with the Father, saying: “Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.” Mark 14:36 The cup being the cup of His suffering, His shed blood for the remission of our sins which Jesus must now "drink" to fufill the Will of God and usher in the New Covenant by which humanity can find redemption, something He declared earlier this evening, when He ate the Passover with the twelve Apostles. And so Jesus having gone to prayer three times, will return to the disciples three times, only to find them sleeping, unable to keep watch because their eyes were heavy. Yet it was for them, His closest mortal friends, that Jesus is now seeking the strength to lay down His life (John 15:13). The disciples then failing to watch with Jesus three times in His greatest hour of need, is only equaled by the Apostle Peter’s denying Jesus three times after Jesus will be taken by lawless hands. Nonetheless Jesus having overcome all His trepidations as the Son of Man, knowing that His destiny is with the cross. Now returns to them, having resolved to take the cross and all that it would entail. And with that Jesus says to them: “Are you still sleeping and resting? It is enough! The hour has come; behold, the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners. 42 “Rise, let us be going. See, My betrayer is at hand.” Mark 14:41-42

Now the Scripture that we are looking at picks up right there and says: “And immediately, while He was still speaking, Judas, one of the twelve, with a great multitude with swords and clubs, came from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders.” Vs. 43 Notice the immediacy of Jesus Words fulfillment. Something Matthew, Mark and Luke all emphasize. When Jesus surrendered to the Father's Will and than declared to His disciples He was being betrayed into the hands of sinners the event begin immediately (Matt. 26:47; Mark 14:43; Luke 22:47). Notice also Jesus' great boldness or conviction to go forward in faith and trust His Father. For Jesus having surrendered to His Father’s Will, will not turn back, nor will He be turned back. For He has surrendered all on this night. All Right to use His Power and Authority as the Son of God to either resist them, or even appeal to God the Father to stop them. Previously the Lord Jesus would escape their murderous plots as He willed (Consider Luke 4:28-30; John 7:30; 8:20; 8:58-59; 10:34-39). But now He will not do so. Only in regards to Jesus’ initial demonstration of His Person in John’s gospel is there any semblance of resistance; though it is not resistance. It is again a demonstration of His Person. That this is no ordinary Man they have come to arrest (See John 18:4-9). And with that the powers of darkness who want to crucify Jesus also will not tarry. For having assembled their own, and being guided by Judas Iscariot (Luke 22:47) whom Satan has entered (Luke 22:3; John 13:27), who from the beginning of Jesus manifestation, and defeat by Jesus in the wilderness, has waited for this night (Luke 4:13). And so the enemies of the Lord come on mass without hesitation to Gethsemane to arrest Jesus. Again being guided by Judas Iscariot, Christ's betrayer who knew of the place, since Jesus often met there with His disciples (John 18:2). And so Judas having already agreed to betray Jesus for money; to shed innocent blood for self gain; to the chief priests and Pharisees, who plotted how this evil deed would be done; has received a detachment of Roman troops and their captain, along with Temple officers from them. And so they come there under the guise of lawful authority with lanterns, torches, and weapons to arrest Jesus (John 18:3). And so it will be these and their captain; a chilarch (a Roman commander) along with his garrison of 600 soldiers and the Temple officers who will arrest Jesus and bound Him (John 18:12). For all the Jewish authorities in Israel having rejected the Lord Jesus Christ, have united themselves together on this night. The chief priests, the scribes, the Pharisees, the elders. For it is Satan, the enemy of God, and his own who hate God’s Son Jesus Christ; the Rightful Heir and Ruler of the nation and all of God’s creation, whom they have come to take by force. As the Lord Jesus Christ says in Luke’s gospel to the chief priests, captains of the Temple. and Israel’s elders who had come there when they seize Him. “When I was with you daily in the temple, you did not try to seize Me. But this is your hour, and the power of darkness.” Luke 22:23

So then picking up the gospel again in Marks text, in verses forty four and five, it states: 44 Now His betrayer had given them a signal, saying, “Whomever I kiss, He is the One; seize Him and lead Him away safely.” 45 As soon as He had come, immediately he went up to Him and said to Him, “Rabbi, Rabbi!” and kissed Him. Mark 14:44-45 Now Matthew also records Judas betraying Jesus with a kiss (Matt. 26:48). While Luke picks up on the moment Judas draws near to Jesus to do this. At which point Jesus says to him: “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?” Luke 22:48

Now in the synoptic gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke. It is the immediacy of Jesus’ betrayal that takes center stage, especially in Mark’s fast moving narrative, which focuses in on the key points of it. Yet Jesus' arrest did not occur immediately as we would understand that in English. Even though the word translated immediately in Mark is accurately rendered as such in verse forty five. Rather the word (in this context) is emphasizing “at the right moment” Judas went up to Jesus and kissed Him to betray Him as an immediate action. And thus we must turn to John’s gospel which gives us some more information as to how Jesus’ betrayal and arrest unfolded. There it says that the Lord Jesus “knowing all things that would come upon Him, went forward to the assembled multitude and said to them, “Whom are you seeking?” John 18:4 Now Jesus’ knowing is not just knowing in some sort of intuitive sense. Rather Jesus knowing all things as God’s Son, fully understands the moment, the people, even their motives that He is now faced with (Consider Matt. 9:4; John 21:17). That is what the original word as applied to the Lord Jesus Christ is indicating here. Just as Jesus knew the exact moment Judas betrayed Him (John 13:27), so He knew the exact moment His betrayal was unfolding (Mark 14:41-42). Therefore Jesus’ asking them: “Whom are you seeking?” is not something He does not already know. It is meant to generate a response from them. To which when they respond, “Jesus of Nazareth”, and with that Jesus clearly say’s to them “I am He.” **Yet with that they are only deaf to Jesus Christ's own Proclamation of His Person to them. Indicating both a spiritual darkness as well as a literal one that keeps them from both seeing and hearing Jesus.
Now John’s gospel says that as this occurred Judas stood with the multitude. Whether Judas at this point approached Jesus and kissed Him to betray Him is unclear, since John’s gospel does not mention it. Instead John true to form always emphasizes the Lord, rather than His betrayal. Therefore even though Judas has assembled the multitude under the chief priest’s authority to arrest Jesus. Judas was likely at this point an observer, waiting for the “right moment” when he would move forward to kiss Jesus to betray Him (John 18:5). Now when they came Jesus boldly approached them and He asked them “Whom are you seeking” and they replied: “Jesus of Nazareth.” Then Jesus said: “I am He.” In so doing Jesus is identifying Himself as the "I AM" of Scripture***. The Name of God that He Himself used to reveal Himself to Moses (Ex. 3:14). Then to those Jews who likewise refused to believe in His Person (John 8:24, 28, 59). But now to the arresting throng who with the Lord Jesus Christ's declaration of His Person drew back and fall to ground (John 18:6). Indicating that Jesus is no less Powerful on this night, even though the chief priests refuse to acknowledge Him as the Christ, rather just as *Jesus of Nazareth. Something they will continue to do, even when Jesus Christ is crucified (John 19:21). Nonetheless neither God the Father, nor Jesus Christ the Son are made any less Sovereign or Powerful when men or women refuse to acknowledge their Person. Therefore the Son of God this night will not be taken by lawless hands until He Himself wills it be done (John 18:6). And that not before His Person is hallowed and acknowledged. For Jesus Christ was not some helpless man who was quickly overtaken by the arresting throng. He is the Son of Man who will fulfill His destiny at the right moment! So again Jesus asks them whom they are seeking, and to their reply “Jesus of Nazareth”; Jesus then answers, “I have told you that I am He. Therefore, if you seek Me, let these go their way,” 9 that the saying might be fulfilled which He spoke, “Of those whom You gave Me I have lost none.” John 18:8-9 Therefore this night none of Jesus' disciples will be taken. For it’s not their fleeing that saves them from the arresting mob when Jesus permits Himself to be taken. It is Jesus’ Word. For God’s Word is never thwarted by wicked men and women. Instead they just become apart of fulfilling it.

Jesus then having first supernaturally caused the multitude to draw back and fall down before Him now requests that the disciples be let go. And so it being night and likely their being unable to identify Jesus by sight from the rest of the Apostles. Judas having told them the one he kisses is the One they are to arrest. Judas comes forward and kisses Jesus; this would be the immediacy that Matthew Mark and Luke mention Jesus being betrayed by Judas with a kiss (Matt. 26:48-49; Mark 14:44-45; Luke 22:47-48). At this point Jesus has a brief and poignant exchange with Judas, as Judas approaches Jesus and addresses Him as Rabbi and kisses Him. This is the meekness of the Lamb of God as Jesus submits to Judas' treacherous deed (Matt. 26:49-50; Luke 22:48). The disciples then perceiving that Jesus is about to be taken request to fight (Luke 22:49-50), while at the same time some try to lay hands on Jesus to take Him. And with that Simon Peter strikes Malchus’ the high priest’s servant cutting off his right ear (John 18:7-10). To which Jesus responds by saying: “Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. 53 Or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels? 54 How then could the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen thus?” Matt. 26:52-54 Or as the Apostle John emphasizes Jesus saying: “Put your sword into the sheath. Shall I not drink the cup which My Father has given Me?” John 18:11
Both of which were spoken by the Lord Jesus just that each disciple emphasized one aspect of His statement in that hour (gr. hora). Now previously Jesus prayed three times to His Father in Gethsemane to take His cup away. That is the cup of His suffering. But now Jesus is insisting His disciples not resist those who have come to take Him. Therefore Jesus having healed Malchus, which Luke the physician emphasizes (Luke 22:51). The Lord Jesus gives a final statement to the crowd as they collectively move to seize Him: 48 Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Have you come out, as against a robber, with swords and clubs to take Me? 49 I was daily with you in the temple teaching, and you did not seize Me. But the Scriptures must be fulfilled.” 50 Then they all forsook Him and fled. Mark 14:48-50

Now Matthew, Mark, and Luke all record Jesus' Words here (Matt. 26:55). While the gospel of Luke gives Jesus’ finial address specifically to the chief priests, captains of the temple, and the elders who had come to arrest Him, with Jesus saying to them: “Have you come out, as against a robber, with swords and clubs? 53 When I was with you daily in the temple, you did not try to seize Me. But this is your hour, and the power of darkness.” Luke 22:52-53

And with that the disciples forsake Jesus and flee (Mark 14:50; Matt. 26:56; John 18:12). Luke’s gospel does not record the moment the disciples flee but rather moves immediately onto Jesus’ arrest and being taken to Caiaphas the high priest with the Apostle Peter following at a distance (Luke 22:54). Mark though records a unique event for us concerning Jesus' arrest, saying: “Now a certain young man followed Him, having a linen cloth thrown around his naked body. And the young men laid hold of him, 52 and he left the linen cloth and fled from them naked.” Mark 14:51-52

Now Mark recalling this event for us is important since it gives credence to the Apostle’s fleeing in haste. For when Jesus rebuked the disciples for wanting to resist His being arrested (their courage likely being born from Jesus' own demonstration of His Person when He made the multitude fall back). Yet now with Jesus allowing Himself to be taken, great fear must have overtaken them all. Since Jesus was not going to fight they knew in no way could they withstand such a multitude themselves, and fearing lest they be taken as well, they all forsook Him and fled. Now leaving this study on that note would be thoroughly incomplete if we did not know the rest of the gospel. For though the disciples had all wanted to obey and follow Jesus, all this night have failed Him. Nonetheless the gospel does not end with the defeat of them, and certainly not the Lord Jesus Christ. For Jesus Christ after His crucifixion death will rise from the dead on the third day. And with His resurrection Jesus has dawned a new day for us all to be restored to God for having all failed Him in our own lives as well. For Jesus Christ crucified pays completely for all our sins, but it is the Lord Jesus' resurrection from the dead that brings us back to life again, united again to God and Himself by faith in His Person. That is the beginning of knowing God. For it is Jesus Christ's ascension back to God the Father in heaven as our victorious Sovereign King and Priest which brings in us His everlasting Life and Righteousness by His Holy Spirit poured out into us. Therefore the Lord Jesus Christ is fully able to quell everyone or thing who would dare seek to condemn us (Please read Romans chapter eight for Scriptural encouragement). And that is exceedingly Good News for every sinner under the burdensome weight and judgment of their failures and sins. For by repentance and faith anyone can have a whole new beginning. Indeed not just a new beginning ruled by their old sin nature, but a new beginning, in the new creation of both their person and status with God. Experiencing the everlasting and transforming Life and Power of God within their person's.

That is what Jesus came to do for us all. To make us God's Temple so that He might dwell in us and us in Him forever. All that awaits is your decision to forsake your old sinful life and receive the Lord Jesus Christ by faith, so that God's Holy, Righteous and Everlasting Life might be brought into you. If you would like to receive this Life, the Life of Jesus Christ in you and have your sins washed away in the cleansing blood of Christ, which atones for them all. Why not do that right now. For the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ is not something that tarries. But demands a decision and is right now for everyone who believes. For the grace of God is freely given to all who believe. Please then invite the Lord Jesus Christ into your heart and life accept all that He has done to save you; and trust all that He will do to change you. Simply pray something like this:
Dear Lord Jesus Christ I know that I'm a sinner and need Your forgiveness and life changing power in my life to change me. Therefore I accept all You have done to save me and release me from all my sins; by Your crucifixion death and resurrection from the dead then ascension back to God the Father You have a made a way for me to love and obey You. Therefore I accept Your Person and Life completely and unreservedly, into my life asking You to be my Lord and Savior, both now and forever amen.

Scripture Quotations
The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

Word Studies:
kairos 2789 Page 282-283 (eutheos 2311)
oida 3857 Page 402

Enhanced Strongs
speira GK. 5061; STR 4686 (600 men)

Additional Notes:

* ** *** Gleaned from Matthew Henry’s Commentary on John 18:2-12

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