Saturday, April 8, 2017

The Last Days: Betrayal, Denial, Arrest

Christ foretells of His betrayal by Judas. 
After they had finished their meal, they sang, and went out into the Mount of Olives.

He announces to His disciples that they will be offended because of Him that night.  In His heart He is aware of His impending arrest.

He also predicts that they will flee from Him because of the serious situation, and that one of the twelve will deny Him. 

31 Then Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away because of me this night. For it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ 32 But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.” 33 Peter answered him, “Though they all fall away because of you, I will never fall away.” 34 Jesus said to him, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.”

35 Peter said to him, “Even if I must die with you, I will not deny you!”

Christ often prayed alone, but this evening, He takes Peter, James and John with Him, up to Gethsemani:

“My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.” 
 39 And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” 

40 And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour? 41 Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 42 Again, for the second time, he went away and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.”  

43 And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. 44 So, leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words again. 

45 Then he came to the disciples and said to them, “Sleep and take your rest later on. See, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.

46 Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand.”

47 While he was still speaking, Judas came, one of the twelve, and with him a great crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the elders of the people.

 48 Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “The one I will kiss is the man; seize him.”

  49 And he came up to Jesus at once and said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” And he kissed him.

50 Jesus said to him, “Friend, do what you came to do.” Then they came up and laid hands on Jesus and seized him.

It is easy to imagine this maneuver laid out by Judas, most likely at the Temple.  He knew where Christ prayed in solitude, in the Garden at Gethsemani, a mere several steps from the foot of Mount Olives. It was His usual place of retreat.  Judas assuredly rushed to the chief priests, announcing to the men exactly where Christ was to be found, and his clever way of identifying Him among those surrounding Him.  

A brutal and ironic incident: this traitor calling the Lord "Rabbi!" with treachery, and Christ, who knows the fate of Judas, calling him, "Friend" with gentleness.

Blasphemed and betrayed by His enemies, He is at the same time denied by the man who ought to have remained the most faithful of all.

The other of the twelve have scattered, as Christ predicted.  Peter followed Christ as they were taking Him away.

69 Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard. And a servant girl came up to him and said, “You also were with Jesus the Galilean.”
70 But he denied it before them all, saying,
“I do not know what you mean.”

71 And when he went out to the entrance, another servant girl saw him, and she said to the bystanders, “This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.”
         72  And again he denied it with an oath: “I do not know the man.” 
73 After a little while the bystanders came up and said to Peter,
“Certainly you too are one of them, for your accent betrays you.”
74 Then he began to invoke a curse on himself and to swear, “I do not know the man.” 

And immediately the rooster crowed.
75 And Peter remembered the saying of Jesus,
'Before the rooster crows, 
you will deny me three times.' 

             And he went out and wept bitterly."

Matthew 26:31-75


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