When we think of someone being arrested, we usually picture that person being handcuffed against their will. They are usually forced down to the ground or restrained in a variety of ways and taken into custody. When Jesus was arrested he had committed no crime and the men who came to arrest him were only able to do so because Jesus allowed it. Jesus was not taken against His will. He knew His mission and He went to His death willingly. That one very short verse in John shows just how powerful Jesus is and that those men were completely powerless to do anything to Jesus apart from God’s will.
Let’s take a look at the section of Scripture regarding the arrest of Jesus.
“Now Judas, who betrayed him, knew the place, because Jesus had often met there with his disciples. So Judas came to the grove, guiding a detachment of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and Pharisees. They were carrying torches, lanterns and weapons.
Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, “Who is it you want?”
“Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied.
“I am he,” Jesus said. (And Judas the traitor was standing there with them.) When Jesus said, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground.
Again he asked them, “Who is it you want?”
And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.”
“I told you that I am he,” Jesus answered. “If you are looking for me, then let these men go.” This happened so that the words he had spoken would be fulfilled: “I have not lost one of those you gave me.”
I find it amusing that He asked them twice who they wanted. He showed them who was really in control and He could have kept knocking them down, but He had mercy on them! They didn’t catch Him. He wasn’t running! They didn’t arrest Him. He gave Himself up for us! Think about John 18:6 for a moment. A bunch of soldiers, officials from the chief priests, and Pharisees who were being guided by Judas show up to arrest Jesus, and when Jesus answers them His very words knock them to the ground! That is some serious power! Folks, Jesus is God in human flesh! Those men only had power to arrest Jesus because His mission was to die for the sins of the whole world!
“He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.”
1 John 2:2
We all know what Peter’s reaction was when they came to arrest Jesus, but Jesus did not need Peter’s sword for protection. He had just knocked the entire group of men down with His very breath and He revealed to all of them just how powerful He really is.
“Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.)
Jesus commanded Peter, “Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?”
Then the detachment of soldiers with its commander and the Jewish officials arrested Jesus. They bound him and brought him first to Annas, who was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest that year. Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jews that it would be good if one man died for the people.”
Jesus also reminds Peter that He has some serious back up, but He will not use it because Scripture must be fulfilled.
“Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?”
That is a whole army of angels folks! I understand Peter’s reaction. He loved Jesus so much that he wanted to protect Him, but that was not the way. Jesus came to die for us, He knew that, and He allowed His arrest because He loves us! Jesus was willing to drink the cup the Father had given Him even though that meant terrible suffering and death. Even in that moment He showed love and mercy to the men arresting Him and He healed the servant’s ear that had just been cut off. Yes, the Lord touched him and he had a perfectly created ear again!
“When Jesus’ followers saw what was going to happen, they said, “Lord, should we strike with our swords?” And one of them struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear.
But Jesus answered, “No more of this!” And he touched the man’s ear and healed him.
Then Jesus said to the chief priests, the officers of the temple guard, and the elders, who had come for him, “Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come with swords and clubs? Every day I was with you in the temple courts, and you did not lay a hand on me. But this is your hour–when darkness reigns.”
Jesus showed great compassion and mercy on the high priest’s servant! He also explained very clearly to all of them that they only had the power to lay a hand on Him because it was God’s will. It was their hour for an appointed time in God’s plan for salvation and that is the only reason they were allowed to arrest His Son.
Jesus willingly gave Himself up for us, so we could be reconciled with God. Jesus drank the cup the Father gave Him and He fulfilled the Scriptures. Jesus is Lord and He did it all because He loves us!
“Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”
Don’t ever forget how powerful Jesus is! There will be another time He uses the breath of His mouth and He will use it to overthrow the lawless one!
“And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming.”
2 Thessalonians 2:8
Jesus could have overthrown His enemies at any time, but Jesus died for us willingly. May we never forget that and may we always worship Him and honor Him for that!
Grace and peace to you all and Merry Christmas!