The Book of Luke, Christ Always in Charge - Lesson 233
Luke 22:47-71, And while he yet spake, behold a multitude, and he that was called Judas, one of the twelve, went before them, and drew near unto Jesus to kiss him. 48But Jesus said unto him, Judas, betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss? 49When they which were about him saw what would follow, they said unto him, Lord, shall we smite with the sword? 50And one of them smote the servant of the high priest, and cut off his right ear. 51And Jesus answered and said, Suffer ye thus far ( "Stop! No more of this."). And he touched his ear, and healed him. 52Then Jesus said unto the chief priests, and captains of the temple, and the elders, which were come to him, Be ye come out, as against a thief, with swords and staves? 53When 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.
The events of this passage begin while Jesus Christ is still speaking to his disciples, admonishing them with regard to their lack of prayer for themselves, that they enter not into temptation.
In other words, that they not be tempted to thwart, obstruct or frustrate the will of God for his Son, Jesus Christ.
Would Jesus Christ have continued in prayer had he not been interrupted by the multitude, led by Judas, the betrayer?
For he said in this last admonition to his disciples, "Why sleep ye? Rise and pray", Meaning rise from your sleep and pray.
But at that moment the multitude, finding their way in the darkness with lanterns and torches and carrying weapons, interrupted his instruction.
We do not know the exact time of day, but most likely, considering all the trials which take place before daylight, the time was about one or two hours after midnight.
Jesus and his disciples were at the place where they normally were during the night while they were in Jerusalem, so Judas and the arresting party had no trouble finding them.
This was not the first time that an arresting party had been sent to seize the Lord Jesus Christ.
But this was the first time that it was their hour for doing so.
That first time had not been the right hour and therefore their mission was unsuccessful.
John, in the seventh chapter of his Gospel, records those events which took place during the Feast of Tabernacles where Jesus went up somewhat secretly to Jerusalem.
Even at that time the Jewish leaders had in mind to put him to death for they feared the loss of their place and their power.
This did not hinder Jesus going to the Temple to teach, for he knew it was not their hour to take him.
John records this in John 7:30 where he says, Then they sought to take him: but no man laid hands on him, because his hour was not yet come. 31And many of the people believed on him, and said, When Christ cometh, will he do more miracles than these which this man hath done? 32The Pharisees heard that the people murmured such things concerning him; and the Pharisees and the chief priests sent officers to take him.
Now this is another example of Jesus Christ being in charge of events for the Pharisees were fully capable of taking Jesus by force but the time was not right, his hour had not come.
But we see here in the garden of Gethsemane the statement of Christ which opened the door for their hour.
He said: but this is your hour, and the power of darkness.
From the Amplified Bible: But this is your houróand the power [which] darkness [gives you has its way].
The cover of darkness.
John 3:19-20, And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.
This time in the garden of Gethsemane was the time for Christís taking.
But the time in the temple at the Feast of Tabernacles was not the hour.
John reports in John 7:44, And some of them would have taken him; but no man laid hands on him.
And those who were sent to lay hands on him were rebuked by the chief priests and Pharisees for their failure.
Again in John, 45Then came the officers to the chief priests and Pharisees; and they said unto them, Why have ye not brought him? 46The officers answered, Never man spake like this man. 47Then answered them the Pharisees, Are ye also deceived? 48Have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed on him?
(See how they set themselves up as the standard!)
Now who was in charge here? Was it the chief priests and Pharisees or was it Jesus Christ?
The arresting officers ó the temple guards ó that had been sent to arrest Jesus, came back, empty handed.
Why did they do that? Did Jesus elude them by some clever maneuver or by force?
No, there was none of that. There was only his presence and his word.
They were so impressed with the person of Christ, they could not find it in themselves to do as they had been commanded.
Jesus had more authority than the religious leaders had and could exercise that authority as he chose.
His very presence was enough to send the temple guards packing.
The point I am making is that Jesus Christ determined the hour of his taking.
Jesus Christ had full power to be taken or not to be taken and this time in the garden of Gethsemane was the time for his taking.
Jesus had told his disciples to pray that they not enter into temptation, the temptation to rebel against this hour.
As revealed by their past actions they had an agenda different from that of the Lord and they needed the grace of God to bring them though this hour yielding to the will of God rather than to their own will.
Unfortunately they slept, instead of praying and we can easily see the results of that neglect.
All things that our Lord had told the disciples were coming to pass.
He had told them that evening while celebrating Passover that He was to be betrayed.
In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus told His disciples that the betrayer was at hand.
Rather than Judas and the arresting party coming upon Jesus and His disciples, still at prayer, Jesus aroused His disciples and went forth to meet them as reported in Matthew 26:46.
Jesus was not "caught off guard" by their appearance, for He knew all that was going to happen to Him.
John 18:4, Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth, and said unto them, Whom seek ye?
Jesus did not resist, and He rebuked His disciples for trying to resist.
Jesus did not hide from them but went to them.
They found Jesus totally unshaken, totally in control.
It was these arresting officers who were shaken up.
Johnís account in John 18:6, tells us that they actually drew back and tripped over themselves when Jesus identified Himself as the one they were seeking.
Had it not been such a serious occasion, what happened there could have caused laughter for it was almost a humorous scene.
Picture the large crowd coming in the night, torches lifted high to see the way, and weapons at the ready.
When Jesus and His disciples came up to the arresting party, the rest of the crowd pressed in behind.
When those in the first row backed away from Jesus because of his authoritative words and presence, they tripped over those behind them, creating a mass of bodies and confusion.
It was the domino effect with human bodies.
How hard it must have been to regain their composure and get on with the arrest.
It was a little like the antics of the Keystone Cops.
Here, this arresting party was Iím sure, trying to come across with authority and dignity but ended up looking like a bunch of clowns.
Other Gospel writers go into more detail than Luke does concerning the arrest of Jesus but Luke focuses on, not what was done to Jesus, but on what was said and done by Jesus.
He was clearly in charge for in controlling this event he rebuked three times and healed once.
He rebuked Judas by pointing out that he was betraying him with a kiss, which was the ultimate hypocrisy.
These words would return to Judas Iím sure and perhaps were on his mind as he later would hang himself.
Jesus rebuked his disciples while healing the severed ear of the high priestís servant at the same time.
And then he rebuked the chief priests, the captains of the temple and the elders for choosing to hide their evil deeds by coming out to get him at night as though he were a thief.
This was an event fraught with danger.
The atmosphere and participants were such as to result in an explosive outcome.
The arresting party that came was composed of a large group of people.
They came expecting resistance and were prepared to fight with weapons.
Peter was ready to accommodate them in this for he quickly choose to pull his sword and attack.
Had it not been for the immediate intervention of our Lord in stopping Peter and the disciples from further violence, this whole affair would have devastated the cause that Jesus Christ came to fulfill.
Peter thought he was helping and apparently was ready to fight to the death, but in reality he was trying to hinder and stop the eternal plan of God.
He had indeed entered into that temptation our Lord had warned him about.
Think about this seemingly loyal action on Peterís part and contrast it with his three denials in the courtyard of Caiaphas, the high priest.
What was Peterís emotional state in his three denials?
How was that affected by this rebuke from his Lord?
We will consider that later.
But the Lord was clearly in charge and he quickly stopped what could have become a slaughter.
Matthew 26:52-56, gives us a more detailed account of our Lordís calming actions,
Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword. 53Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? 54But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be? 55In that same hour said Jesus to the multitudes, Are ye come out as against a thief with swords and staves for to take me? I sat daily with you teaching in the temple, and ye laid no hold on me. 56But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled.
He told his disciples that to resist His arrest would have been to resist the eternal purpose of God, which was for the Messiah to die as a sin-bearer in manís stead.
And in this, he only needed the disciples to refrain from doing something, to refrain from not entering into temptation.
To not draw their swords attempting to hinder his purpose.
He was fully capable of defending himself for if he wished he could have called 12 legions (around 60,000) of angels to His side (Matthew 26:53).
But any call like that would go against the will of the Father for he said the Scriptures must be fulfilled (Matthew 26:54).
But it was paramount for this explosive situation to be diffused in order for the scriptures to be fulfilled.
And only Jesus Christ could do such a thing for only Jesus Christ possessed the power and authority to do so.
We are given an example of his power and authority in the simple answering of the question from Christ: Whom seek ye? 5They answered him, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus saith unto them, I am he.
Just by telling the crowd that, they all fell backwards.
Jesus was a man of great personal power for when Jesus spoke, men listened.
Just as the power of our Lord caused the soldiers to draw back from Him and to fall on the ground (John 18:6), His dignity and power shown here, caused what could have been an explosive event to stop dead in its tracks.
Peter was not taken, even though he had just assaulted a man with a deadly weapon, and neither were any of the disciples taken.
Only Jesus was taken because he allowed himself to be taken.
It is clear that this event in the life of Christ was accomplished according to the will of God and that Jesus insured that it was done that way in spite of the actions of his disciples or of Judas, the betrayer.
Jesus, after rebuking His betrayer for betraying Him with a kiss ordered a cease fire after Peterís assault and was obeyed, by both His own disciples and by the crowd of armed men who had come to arrest Him.
Jesus healed the servantís ear, so that all harm was undone.
He then rebuked the religious leaders for dealing with Him underhandedly and inappropriately, as though He were a criminal, rather than a peaceful, law-abiding citizen.
Every day He had been in the Temple.
His teaching was not hidden, but in the open and always subject to public observation.
Yet they chose not to deal with Him openly, but to secretly capture Him late at night, in the cloak of darkness and deceitfulness.
They deserved every admonishment for the way they dealt with the Lord Jesus.
The reason that they are able to carry out their plans, wicked though they were, is that this was, in Godís eternal purpose and plan, "their hour."
It is also the hour when "darkness reigns."
But it is wonderful to know that this does not stop Godís plan, for God is able to use those things men mean for evil to achieve His good purposes (cf. Genesis 50:20).
In Jesusí rebuke we see that He is, even now, in charge.