April 9, 2020

Passion Week: Jesus’ Arrest

Passage: Matthew 26:36-56
Service Type:



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Passion Week

Passion Week: Jesus’ Arrest

Passion Week - Part 5

In John 13-17, the Apostle John gives us a very detailed dialogue of what Jesus taught His disciples during His last times with them. Many of these things they wouldn’t understand until later, but they would be essential to their unique ministry that God had in store for them as apostles. As Jesus closes this teaching with prayer, He then leaves with the remaining 11 disciples (by now Judas has left to betray Jesus) to go to a garden in Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives to pray because He knows that the time has come for Him to be crucified.

Read Matthew 26:36-56

Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to His disciples, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 37 And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be grieved and distressed. 38 Then He said to them, “My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death; remain here and keep watch with Me.”

39 And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.” 40 And He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “So, you men could not keep watch with Me for one hour? 41 Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

42 He went away again a second time and prayed, saying, “My Father, if this cannot pass away unless I drink it, Your will be done.” 43 Again He came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. 44 And He left them again, and went away and prayed a third time, saying the same thing once more. 45 Then He came to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Behold, the hour is at hand and the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners. 46 Get up, let us be going; behold, the one who betrays Me is at hand!”

47 While He was still speaking, behold, Judas, one of the twelve, came up accompanied by a large crowd with swords and clubs, who came from the chief priests and elders of the people. 48 Now he who was betraying Him gave them a sign, saying, “Whomever I kiss, He is the one; seize Him.” 49 Immediately Judas went to Jesus and said, “Hail, Rabbi!” and kissed Him. 50 And Jesus said to him, “Friend, do what you have come for.” Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and seized Him.

51 And behold, one of those who were with Jesus reached and drew out his sword, and struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his ear. 52 Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place; for all those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword. 53 Or do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels? 54 How then will the Scriptures be fulfilled, which say that it must happen this way?”

55 At that time Jesus said to the crowds, “Have you come out with swords and clubs to arrest Me as you would against a robber? Every day I used to sit in the temple teaching and you did not seize Me. 56 But all this has taken place to fulfill the Scriptures of the prophets.” Then all the disciples left Him and fled.

There are many valuable things that can be exegeted from this passage, but I would like to focus primarily on the sovereignty of God in that the only reason this was allowed to happen was because it was all part of God’s ultimate plan for salvation.

First, we see how Jesus, in contrast to His disciples, is fully aware of what is happening as He spends His last minutes before His arrest praying to the Father in preparation for what’s coming. Though it may be easy to say that Jesus was “fully God and fully man,” to completely understand the fullness of that truth is certainly a mystery and a paradox. However, we see numerous examples of this mystery displayed throughout Scripture, and Jesus’ prayer in the garden is one of them.

As He prays to the Father, we see that He is in deep agonizing distress as He anticipates and excepts what He has come to earth to accomplish. To say that anyone can fully understand all of what’s going on here would be false, but we do know that Jesus was about to take on all the sins of the world through the most incredible act of self-sacrificial love the world has or will have ever seen. This was being done by the perfect and holy Son of God. The magnitude of this can be only partly understood through passages like this one.

As Jesus concludes His prayer, He tells His disciple is verse 45 that the time of His arrest is now. No sooner does He finish, when His betrayer and arresters approach. What takes place next is a miraculous display to remind everyone (including us) that this is all being allowed by the perfect and sovereign will of God. To start with, in John 18:5-6, the crowd who came to arrest Him were miraculously thrown to the ground when Jesus said to them, “I am He.” Secondly, in Luke 22:50-51, Peter, in an act of aggression, cuts off the ear of the high priest’s slave, but Jesus miraculously heals it. Thirdly, in Matthew 26:53-56, Jesus makes it abundantly clear that if this were not the Father’s will, He would stop at nothing to put this attempted arrest to an utter end. Instead, Jesus completely gives Himself up in order that the Scriptures may be fulfilled, and thus the sovereign will of God is carried out, so that salvation would be made possible.

As we stand only one day away from Jesus’ crucifixion, let’s be reminded that when things seem like they can’t get any more out of control, God remains in total, sovereign control. Lamentations 3:37-38: Who is there who speaks and it comes to pass, unless the Lord has commanded it? Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that both good and ill go forth? And in God’s sovereign plan, lies incredible love and forgiveness for all who will trust in Him.

By God’s Grace,

- Pastor Kyle


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