This all takes place right after where the last post left off. Jesus has just gone into the wilderness very distressed to pray, the disciples fell asleep, etc. In verse 46 he said “Rise, let us go. Here comes by betrayer.”
Jesus Is Betrayed and Arrested (Matthew 26:47-56)
47 And even as Jesus said this, Judas, one of the twelve disciples, arrived with a crowd of men armed with swords and clubs. They had been sent by the leading priests and elders of the people.48 The traitor, Judas, had given them a prearranged signal: “You will know which one to arrest when I greet him with a kiss.”49 So Judas came straight to Jesus. “Greetings, Rabbi!” he exclaimed and gave him the kiss.
50 Jesus said, “My friend, go ahead and do what you have come for.”
Then the others grabbed Jesus and arrested him.51 But one of the men with Jesus pulled out his sword and struck the high priest’s slave, slashing off his ear.
52 “Put away your sword,” Jesus told him. “Those who use the sword will die by the sword.53 Don’t you realize that I could ask my Father for thousands of angels to protect us, and he would send them instantly?54 But if I did, how would the Scriptures be fulfilled that describe what must happen now?”
55 Then Jesus said to the crowd, “Am I some dangerous revolutionary, that you come with swords and clubs to arrest me? Why didn’t you arrest me in the Temple? I was there teaching every day.56 But this is all happening to fulfill the words of the prophets as recorded in the Scriptures.” At that point, all the disciples deserted him and fled.
*(same story found in Mark 14:43-52, Luke 22:47-53, and John 18:1-11.. I’d read all of them, especially John since it’s the most unique of the 4)*
Judas has led the crowd to Jesus in an area where there wouldn’t be any other people around. In the beginning of this chapter (verse 5), the high priests met and made a plot to kill Jesus. They knew that if they arrested him in public there would be a riot because the people loved him. They planned to wait till after passover (which was in a couple of days). Passover was a big celebration so they wanted to wait till afterward so it’d be a calmer atmosphere and less crowds I guess. However, that was before Judas went to them with the info of Jesus’ whereabouts. Since he was in a secluded place they decided to go ahead and arrest him. Still they did it at night because they were afraid of the crowds that followed Jesus during the day.
In verse 34 Jesus told Peter that he would deny Him three times later on that night. Peter defended himself and said “Even if I have to die, I will never disown you.” At the point we are at, Peter still hasn’t denied Jesus.. however, according to John, the man who sliced the guy’s ear off in verse 51 was Peter. This shows how fickle and wavering we are as people. Peter is the one Jesus said he was going to build his church on and all that. Peter was one of the “rock star disciples” in many ways. Even so, earlier we see him tell Jesus he would die for him, then here we see him be the first to draw a sword in defense of Jesus and actually slice a guys ear off. He was ready to fight. Coming up in verse 69 though Peter does end up denying altogether that he even knows Jesus. He went from claiming he would die, to stepping up in defense ready to die for Jesus, to denying he knew Jesus at all… all in just a few hours.
Granted Peter was very confused and didn’t know why Jesus was allowing them to lead him away. All the disciple thought Jesus was going to physically take over the government and set up an actual physical kingdom on earth. So he was likely confused, frustrated, etc. Jesus has told them several times what would have to happen though and they never listened. We would think that Peter was doing what was right when he claimed he would die for Jesus and when he drew the sword, and then he was being disobedient when he denied Him. But actually he was out of God’s will the whole time. Jesus had told him what had to happen and even still, Peter tried to fight when the crowd came to arrest Him. Right after he cut the guys ear off Jesus reprimanded him, healed the guys ear (according to Luke), and made the statement that all of it was happening as it was suppose to, to fulfill scriptures of the prophets.
Peter was only trying to defend Jesus and keep his word by fighting, but that’s not what Jesus wanted. Sometimes our flesh tells us to do things that, in every way possible, seems right. But sometimes it’s not what Jesus wants. Peter got all bent out of shape and immediately reacted in the flesh with no word from Jesus saying to do so. Then at the end of the passage Peter ends up deserting Jesus altogether by fleeing alongside all the other disciples. I would assume they mainly fled out of fear. The Mark account talks about a young man being seized and running off naked after his garment was torn off of him. So that tells us that the crowd would have tried to capture all of them even though, according to John 18:8, Jesus asked the crowd to let them go.
We have to stay on our guard to make sure that we aren’t doing seemingly Godly things solely out of fear or in reaction to something. It’s easy to cross the line between spirit and flesh when we just react. Especially out of fear. We have to make sure we hold onto everything Jesus said in the bible, everything he says to us individually, and everything he has done for us and gotten us through. Before we have a single thought about any particular situation, we should refer back to those things to see what God has told us in the past. We can’t harshly react to hard times when God has already proven to us that He will get us through them. We can’t draw back in fear when God has already told us He has a plan. Unlike the disciples, we need to listen to God the first time he tells us things… then when things happen we have to trust Him and stand on the fact the knows what’s going on and will get us through it.