The Interesting Circumstances Surrounding Jesus’ Arrest: Part 1
by Ted Cockle
One of the greatest joys of the Christian life is re-reading Scripture for perhaps the umpteenth time and yet, finding something new. While Scripture and its truths certainly don’t change, we do, and in order to speak to us in our newfound contexts, the Spirit wields his sword (Eph 6:17) to reveal himself to us afresh.
While the Spirit certainly does this through more obscure passages of Scripture that we may re-read every couple years, the Spirit’s work is that much more evident in passages we re-read more frequently such as the arrest, death, and resurrection of Christ.
This is the setting for the series of posts that I will be writing over the next few days. As I read through Matthew 26, a few new things stood out that I thought worth sharing—here is the first:
“Judas came…and with him a great crowd with swords and clubs…” (Matt 26:47, ESV)
Dramatic irony is what caught my eye as I re-read this passage a few days ago. The passage is ironic in that we, the readers, know Christ to be the Divine, omnipotent, Son of God capable of all things (commanding legions of angels included). Yet, when the crowd arrives to arrest Christ, they bring mere swords and clubs with them.
As I chuckled a bit to myself, the humor of the irony faded as I thought through the implications. The swords and clubs make it evident that the crowd did not recognize Jesus as the Christ. While we can’t know the motives of the crowd entirely, I think it’s safe to say that if they accepted Jesus as the Christ, they wouldn’t be there with those weapons.
On one hand, if they knew and loved Jesus as Christ, it’s likely they would have been there already praying with his disciples. On the other, if they knew Jesus as the Christ and still wanted to arrest him, surely, they would have mustered more firepower than the swords and clubs of a detachment of temple guards and priests.*
As we think about the crowd’s actions against Christ, perhaps it’s helpful to reflect upon the ways that we deny Jesus as Lord with our own actions. How many of our worries, doubts, or fears would be utterly destroyed if we understood Christ and his gospel more deeply?
I pray that as we jump into God’s word he would reveal himself to us in new and deeper ways.