Monday, December 18
The arrest of Jesus in the middle of the night was a very dramatic event. As Pastor Doug recently noted, the “detachment” of Roman soldiers was about 600 men. Whether or not the unit was at full strength might be debated, but it would appear to be an overwhelming number, all of them armed and prepared for combat. There were temple guards there, too, meaning that the entire force was at the behest of the Sanhedrin. Judas Iscariot, of course, was there to identify Jesus. Jesus knowing all that was going to happen (John 18:4) stepped forward and asked “Who do you want?” Someone answered “Jesus of Nazareth.” When Jesus immediately said “I am he,” “they drew back and fell to the ground. The passage does identify the “they,” but it was very likely the entire mob. What a strange and miraculous response! Following that, Peter got into the action by attacking the high priest’s servant, cutting off his ear. With this overwhelming force, it made Peter look like a heroic figure—or out of his mind. But it certainly shows his love for Jesus. It’s interesting that Jesus didn’t stop Peter from attacking the man. Remember that Jesus knew all that was going to happen. He must have had a sound reason for not stopping Peter. As Doug also pointed out, Peter’s action should have prompted a riot, but it didn’t. After healing Malchus’ ear, Jesus was arrested and taken to Jerusalem to be tried. There can be no doubt as to who was in charge throughout this ordeal. Jesus not only knew what was going to happen, he planned it all and carried it out. That’s my redeemer! And that’s why I worship him.