The arrest was eminent. Jesus finished His time with the Apostles and proceeded to the garden to meet His accusers. In the synoptic gospels, the writers focus on Jesus’ final prayer to the Father asking to be excused from the sacrifice and the disciples’ inability to stay awake.
John focused upon the betrayal and the arrest. Jesus approached the Roman guard and angry mob and asked, “Who is it that you seek?” They answered, “Jesus the Nazarene.” Jesus responded with the name of God first spoken from a burning bush thousands of years prior, “EGO EIMI” – “I AM.” At the speaking of THE NAME, once again, Jesus left no doubt of His sovereignty and deity. When Jesus spoke, it drove His enemies to their knees. John tells us that they drew back and fell to the ground.
In a curious and ironic plot twist, Jesus would spend the next several hours having to assist His captors to complete their evil plan. They were clearly no match for our Lord. He repeated His question to them a second time – “Who do you seek?” This time, He allowed His arrest, even when Peter drew his sword and cut off the ear of Malchus, the servant of the high priest. When a brawl ensued, Jesus puts a to stop to it and, by Luke’s account, healed the ear of the servant.
You have to love Peter’s effort, however. He once again was first to the fight, ready to go out swinging. In Matthew’s version, Jesus asks Peter, “Don’t you get it? If I wanted to, I could ask the Father and He would send twelve legions of angels to rescue Me, but then how would scripture be fulfilled?” (Matt 26:53.) Jesus was clearly on mission and from that point forward, no one would stop the inevitable.
As we enter the Easter season, we begin to focus on the sacrifice of our Lord. As we do, we often forget the import of the statement, “No one took Jesus’ life because He gave it willingly.”
Throughout His ministry, He watched the religious elite botch things time after time. Now, even at the end, they could not get it right. They should have recognized Him first, welcomed Him most warmly, and followed Him most closely. Instead, like a band of Keystone cops, they bumbled and bounced from one defeat to the next, never grasping the opportunity they had to walk with the Messiah.
Jesus was now doing the work that only the Messiah could do. Thank You, Lord, for rising above the ridiculous attempts by men to better You. Help us to never forget that You could have called the whole thing off if You chose to. Help us to cling to the love You showed and follow You closely.
God Bless You
When Jesus had spoken these words, He went forth with His disciples over the [a]ravine of the Kidron, where there was a garden, in which He entered [b]with His disciples. 2 Now Judas also, who was [c]betraying Him, knew the place, for Jesus had often met there with His disciples. 3 Judas then, having received the Roman [d]cohort and officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, *came there with lanterns and torches and weapons. 4 So Jesus, knowing all the things that were coming upon Him, went forth and *said to them, “Whom do you seek?” 5 They answered Him, “Jesus the Nazarene.” He *said to them, “I am He.” And Judas also, who was betraying Him, was standing with them. 6 So when He said to them, “I am He,” they drew back and fell to the ground. 7 Therefore He again asked them, “Whom do you seek?” And they said, “Jesus the Nazarene.” 8 Jesus answered, “I told you that I am He; so if you seek Me, let these go their way,” 9 to fulfill the word which He spoke, “Of those whom You have given Me I lost not one.” 10 Simon Peter then, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s slave, and cut off his right ear; and the slave’s name was Malchus. 11 So Jesus said to Peter, “Put the sword into the sheath; the cup which the Father has given Me, shall I not drink it?”