Read Mark 14:43-52
Jesus had just finished telling Peter, James and John to wake up and that the time for his arrest had come when Judas enters the garden. Judas is surrounded by men sent from the chief priests. Jesus and the three disciples with him are heavily outnumbered by a crowd with clubs and swords.
I often wonder what Peter, James and Johns’ reaction was to seeing Judas head up this crowd. Were they surprised or had they already picked Judas as the betrayer? Were they confused or had their predictions served right? Were they angry or just sad?
Now, Judas had already told the mob that the man he kissed was the man they were to arrest, and so Judas approaches Jesus, calls him Rabbi and greets him with a kiss. The crowd immediately rush forward to arrest Jesus, but as they do, one of Jesus’ friends grabs his sword and strikes the slave of the high priest, cutting his ear off.
In that moment it looks like bloodshed is about to begin in earnest. The small group of followers of Jesus will stand no chance against this crowd and no doubt the battle will be over quickly, resulting in the death of the disciples. But just as the tension is erupting, Jesus speaks up saying, “Was I not in the temple day after day teaching, why didn’t you arrest me then, but instead you get a mob together and hunt me down in the middle of the night as if I was some sort of bandit? But let the scriptures be fulfilled”.
At this point Jesus’ followers desert him. Maybe they knew that if there was a fight they didn’t stand a chance, maybe they were just scared, but none the less, in his hour of need, Jesus was left alone.
One young follower of Jesus was so desperate to get away that when a member of the crowd grabbed the linen cloth he was wearing, he kept running and disappeared into the darkness naked.
Whilst Jesus had just prayed to God that if there was any other way for God’s will to be accomplished that it would occur, he still goes obediently into the hands of his captors. What love Jesus had both for his Father and for us, that despite his magnificent power, he was willingly arrested for our sakes. What a Saviour we follow!
- What stood out for you in today’s story? Do you have any questions?
- Again Jesus chooses love over violence – what does it mean for you to choose love over revenge or retaliation in your relationships this week?
- Can you think of a time when you were tempted to not be known as a Jesus follower (to run away like the disciples)? Why? What did you do? Also remember that if you did run away – just like the disciples Jesus still has a plan for your life, you can come back to him and say you are sorry.
- How have you stopped this week to recover physically, emotionally and spiritually?