That evening after the Last Supper, Jesus only took 11 of his Disciples to Gethsemane because Judas Iscariot went to get the scribes and chief priests to show them where they could privately capture Jesus, away from the many people who would protect Jesus.
When Jesus was ready to leave Gethsemane, he told the 11 to rise because “he is at hand that doth betray me.” And while he was still talking, Judas Iscariot came with a “great multitude” of people, including the chief priests, Pharisees, and elders who had been plotting to kill Jesus. They came with lanterns, torches, and weapons to capture Jesus. Judas had told his group that he would identify Jesus for them by giving him a greeting kiss, their normal way to meet friends.
As Judas came forward to greet Jesus with a kiss, Jesus asked him, “Judas, betrayest thou the Son of Man with a kiss?”
Jesus said to the group that came to capture him, “Whom seek ye?”
The group answered “Jesus of Nazareth”
Jesus said, “I am he.” With that brave statement, the Bible says that Judas’ group “went backward, and fell to the ground.”
Then Jesus asked again, “Whom seek ye?” when they gave the same answer, Jesus told them, “I have told you that I am he: if therefore ye seek me, let these go their way” which he said to allow his 11 disciples to leave with no harm.
But his disciples were ready to protect and defend Jesus. One asked Jesus, “Lord, shall we smite with the sword?” Before Jesus answered, Peter drew his sword and hit one of their potential captors, Malchus, a servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear.
Then Jesus told Peter, “Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?” Peter was proving his willingness to fight and protect Jesus, but Jesus knew this was all part of Jesus’ sacrifice needed to follow the Father’s plan.
Jesus told Peter, “Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?” (In the Roman army, a legion was 5,000 men, so 12 legions would have been 60,000 angels!)
Instead of using his power to call down angels to protect himself, Jesus used it to reach forward, touch Malchus’ ear, and heal him.
Then Jesus told the group of enemies, “Be ye come out, as against a thief, with swords and staves? When I was daily with you in the temple, ye stretched forth no hands against me: but this is your hour, and the power of darkness.”
Then Jesus allowed the men to tie his hands and take him away.
What do you think?
- Why did Judas’ group choose to capture Jesus at night, across a valley from Jerusalem?
- Was Jesus surprised by Judas’ group?
- What do you think of Peter, who rushed forward with a sword to protect Jesus?
- In healing Malchus’ ear, Jesus once again proved he had power; why didn’t Jesus use his power to save himself from capture?
- Do you think that Jesus knowing what was going to happen made it easier or harder for him to continue?
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