GOSPEL MEDITATION #231
Betrayal and Arrest of Jesus
- Find a quiet place without distractions.
- Be comfortably alert, still, and at peace.
- Say the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer.
- Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself.
- Slowly and carefully read the passage of Scripture.
- From memory, determine the central points.
- In Gethsemane, late at night, so Friday, the Sabbath.
- Peter, James, and John still with Jesus when Judas arrives with what was probably the temple guard, a detachment of Roman soldiers assigned to the Temple and under the authority of the high priest.
- Present with the soldiers are members of the family of the high priest, scribes (mostly belonging to the party of the Pharisees), and elders (tribal leaders of whatever religious party), thus the leaders of the Sanhedrin.
- Judas had given the contingent a sign — a kiss. A kiss would not have been unusual but customary when meeting a leader. (Such is still done today and widely.) Judas, what a bum!
- “Why the need for a sign?” is a legitimate question. An answer may be that Jesus did not look different from other men, not different from Peter, James, John, or any of the other disciples. An ordinary looking man. (The image on the Shroud of Turin, which I think is Jesus, is that of an ordinary looking middle eastern man.)
- After the kiss, Jesus is seized, to prevent escape. It was likely rough handling.
- Someone, and John (18:10) tells us it was Peter, draws a sword and cuts the ear off the slave of the high priest. Was the devil busy here as such an aggressive, murderous attempt, might have resulted in the slaughter of the four right then and there — thus no cross?
- Luke (22:51) informs us that Jesus heals the ear injury.
- Jesus’ question in verse 48 may be variously understood. Is it an accusation, sarcasm, a seeking actual information, a rebuke to the religious leaders, or something else?
- Perhaps it is that Jesus lets them know He is not a victim, surprised like a criminal would be. No, He is ready and He is in control.
- Scripture will be fulfilled. Now the disciples flee.