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OceanSide church of Christ

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The Arrest of Jesus (3)

Matthew 26:47-56; Mark 14:43-52; Luke 22:47-53; John 18:3-11

Victor M. Eskew




A.    A large crowd of individuals are gathered in the Garden of Gethsemane.


B.      Heading this mob is Judas, one of the twelve apostles.


C.     His betrayal of Jesus with a kiss brought the hands of the temple officials upon Jesus.


D.    The disciples were upset and distressed.  One of them questioned the Lord, saying:  “Lord, shall we smite with the sword?” (Luke 22:49).

1.      Before Jesus could answer, one of the twelve smote the servant of the high priest (Matt. 26:51; Mark 14:47; Luke 22:50).


And one of them smote the servant of the high priest, and cut off his right ear.


2.      John’s gospel reveals the names of both the apostle and the servant (John 18:10).


Then Simon having a sword drew it, and smote the high priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear.  The servant’s name was Malchus.


E.      We now continue our study of “The Sayings of the Crucifixion.”  Our lesson today will conclude “The Arrest of Jesus.”


I.                   THE RESTRAINT BY JESUS (Luke 22:51)


And Jesus answered and said, Suffer ye thus far.


A.    The definition of suffer:

1.      Strong (1439):  to let be, leave alone

2.      Thayer:  to give up, let go, leave


B.      Jesus immediately stopped His disciples from taking any more violence against the crowd.

1.      The apostles would not be able to win such a struggle.

2.      Too, Jesus understood His time.  It was time to fulfill the will of God.


C.     Something interesting happened at this time also.  Only Luke records the event (Luke 22:51b).


And he touched his ear, and healed him.


1.      The text does not say that Jesus picked up his ear and put it back on.  Jesus simply touched his ear and it was healed.

2.      No writer mentions this except Luke.  He says nothing about the reaction of others to this event.

a.      Malchus had to be astonished.

b.      Those in the crowd who could see the Lord’s action had to wonder.


II.                PUT UP THY SWORD (Matt. 26:52; John 18:11)


A.    After healing Malchus, Jesus turned to His disciples and tells them to put up their swords.


B.      Jesus gave two explanations for His command.

1.      Matthew records one of those reasons (Matt. 26:52).


Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place:  for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.


a.      Jesus stated a general truth about violence and warfare.

1)      Death comes to both sides.

2)      Peter may have slain one or two, but he himself could have been slain as well.

b.      In Jesus’ words, some see a prophetic note.

1)      The Jews had brought swords and staves to arrest Christ that night.

2)      They would eventually die by the sword of Rome, especially in the destruction of Jerusalme in A.D. 70.

2.      John records a second statement of Jesus (John 18:11).


Then said Jesus unto Peter, Put up thy sword into the sheath:  the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?


a.      The cup about which Jesus speaks is the cup of suffering.

1)      Jesus uses a figure of speech called a metonymy.

2)      The cup which holds the contents of the cup is put instead of the contents itself.

3)      Jesus could not literally drink the cup; He could, however, drink the contents of the cup.

b.      He says that His Father had given Him this cup to drink.

1)      His suffering was the Father’s will.

2)      He would not fight against the desires of His heavenly Father (John 8:29b).


…for I do always those things that please him.


III.             TWELVE LEGIONS OF ANGELS (Matt. 26:53)


A.    Jesus now mentions something that has been put into song form in our hymnals. 

1.      Only one writer records His words.

2.      Matthew 26:53


Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?


B.      Three things can be noted from this verse.

1.      Jesus believed in the power of prayer.  I pray…He gives.

2.      Jesus does not need men to fight for Him.

3.      There exists within the heavens an army of angels that are innumerable.  They are at the beck and call of Jesus.

a.      Jesus said the Father could send more than twelve legions of angels.  One legion for Him and one legion for each of the eleven apostles.

b.      A legion was about 6,000 soldiers.  The total would have been 72,000+ angels.


IV.             THE NEED TO FULFILL PROPHECY (Matt. 26:54)


A.    If Jesus had called for the angels to assist Him, prophecy would have gone unfulfilled.


But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be.


B.      One of the missions of Jesus was to fulfill the prophetic verses of the Old Testament that spoke about the coming Messiah.

1.      Matthew 5:17-18


Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets:  I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.  For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law till all be fulfilled.


2.      Numerous texts set forth prophecies about the death of Jesus (Ps. 22; Ps. 69; Isa. 53; Dan. 9:24-27).

3.      Even after the Lord’s resurrection, He continued to show the disciples that what happened to Him was a fulfillment of prophecy (Luke 24:44).


And he said unto then, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms concerning me.


C.     We should rejoice that Jesus focused upon the fulfillment of Messianic prophecy.

1.      It is one of the greatest proofs of the inspiration of the Word of God.

2.      The prophecies were written a long time before Jesus came to earth.  Malachi, the last prophet of the Old Testament wrote about 430 B.C.

3.      The length of time between the prophecies, the number of the prophecies, and the minute detail of the prophecies reveal that this book we call the Bible is a divine revelation.


V.                A QUESTION TO THE MOB (Matt. 26:55; Mark 14:48-50; Luke 22:52-53).


A.    After settling matter with His disciples, and before being escorted from the garden, Jesus has one question for the multitudes (Matt. 26:55).


In that same hour said Jesus to the multitudes, Are ye come out as against a thief with sword and staves for to take me?  I sat daily with you teaching in the temple, and ye laid no hold on me.


B.      In this statement, Jesus is asking:  “Why are you taking me into custody?”

1.      They had come to take Him like they would take a robber.

2.      But, He reminded them that He had sat down with them many times, even recently, within the confines of the temple, and they had not taken Him.

3.      Nothing in His life had changed.  Why were they taking Him now?  What were the charges?


C.     He then makes three additional statements to them.

1.      “…but the scriptures must be fulfilled” (Mark 14:50).

2.      “…but this is your hour…” (Luke 22:53).

a.      The Jews had been plotting against Jesus for a long time.

b.      The hour of apprehension had come.  This was their hour.

3.      “…and the power of darkness” (Luke 22:53).

a.      When evil occurs, there is always a force at work behind the scenes.

b.      Satan, the power of darkness, is leading the cause.

c.       He may not have understood why Jesus had taken upon Him the nature of flesh.  But, he did know that flesh is susceptible to death.  Thus, he was convinced death would end the plan of God.

d.      He was set to bruise the heel of the seed of the woman (Gen. 3:15).




A.    Things in the Garden of Gethsemane had reached a peak when one of the disciples stuck the servant of the high priest and cut off his ear.


B.      Jesus quickly deescalated the situation.


C.     Now He would be led to the Jewish court and stand in the presence of the high priest.


D.    He would go alone (Matt. 26:56b; Mark 14:50).


Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled.


1.      Betrayed and forsaken.

2.      Soon one would also deny Him.


E.      Remember:  He could have prayed and the Father would have sent twelve legions of angels to rescue Him, but He did not.  Why?  LOVE pushed Him forward!