Turn in your Bibles to Mark chapter 14, as we continue our study through the Gospel according to Mark. And if you remember from our last study, Jesus had finished the Passover meal with the eleven apostles, Judas having already departed from them, and then He institutes communion, a sign of the new covenant as circumcision was a sign of the old covenant.
After that they head towards the Mount of Olives, to the Garden of Gethsemane, which was about a 45 minute walk from John Marks house, the place they ate the Passover meal at. In the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus has the rest of the disciple sit down and then He takes Peter, James and John to the area where He was going to pray at.
And big, strong Peter who was willing to die for the Lord could not even stay awake with the Lord, as well as the other disciples. Three times Jesus prays and comes back to find them sleeping. And that last time He may have just been watching them sleep, watching over them for an hour, until this posse comes to take Jesus away. It is at this point that Jesus sees these men coming for Him to take Him away that Jesus awakens His men from their sleep. He tells them, "Rise up, let us go. See, My betrayer is at hand." Mark 14:42.
And that is where we will pick up our study this evening, beginning in verse 43 of Mark chapter 14.
1. So as Jesus is waking the disciples up, as they are wiping the sleep from their eyes, stretching and maybe yawning, they are going to be shocked out of their socks by what they are going to see. It may have even seemed like a nightmare at first to them. But this was very real! You see, "immediately" after He spoke those words for His men to wake up, this huge group of people were there to arrest Jesus.
2. In John 18:3 we are told that this group of Roman soldiers were a cohort or band, SPEIRAN in the Greek, which speaks of a 10th part of a legion. That would mean there were about 600 Roman soldiers coming to arrest Jesus. Then there were the chief priests, the Scribes, the Pharisees, the elders, and probably some Jews and gentiles mixed in with this group. There may have been some 1,000 people trying to sneak up to arrest Jesus! All these men to arrest just one man!
3. Now dont think they snuck up on Jesus, even though they might have tried. It was the Passover, so it was a full moon. They carried torches to light their way, and lanterns, and the soldiers were packing metal, swords! And can you imagine the noise that these 1,000 people were making as they were coming up the Mount of Olives, it probably sounded like a herd of elephants! And as Jesus watches their movement, as they got close, Jesus wakes up His men.
4. The religious leaders had Jesus where they wanted Him, alone, away from the crowds. And leading the way to Jesus was Judas. He would be the one to point Jesus out to them. He refused the love of God and thus, we see the ugliness of the flesh being manifested.
5. Now how could Jesus be so calm with all this going on around Him? He was ready for this because He was in prayer all night and now the work that the Father had sent Him to do, He was willing to do it, and thus, He was at peace! I think when we fight against the will of God in our life, we wont be at peace. It is only when we give it to Him that we can rest in Him.
1. Notice the plan Judas had. He was going to go and kiss Jesus and then the soldiers will know which one to arrest. How wicked was this man! But dont be too hard, for by the grace of God we stand! And understand this was not just a peck on the cheek, for the Greek word that is used for "kiss" speaks of a fervent kiss, a passionate kiss done in love. Judas betrayed Jesus with a kiss of love!
2. It is also interesting to note that Judas calls Jesus "Rabbi" which means great one or teacher. He doesnt call him "Lord," why? Because he refused to bow down to the lordship of Jesus, as many do today! And because of that those people will meet the same fate of Judas, in darkness for eternity, separated from the Lord.
3. In John we have a few more details filled in for us, so lets look at John 18:4-5, where we read "Jesus therefore, knowing all things that would come upon Him, went forward and said to them, Whom are you seeking? They answered Him, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus said to them, I am He. And Judas, who betrayed Him, also stood with them." Jesus asks them who they are looking for, and when they tell Him, He says to them, "I Am" not "I am He" as they have it translated in most if not all of your Bibles. That "I Am" phrase is the deceleration that He is God, for in Exodus chapter 3, the burning bush incident, we read in verse 14, "And God said to Moses, I AM WHO I AM. And He said, Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, I AM has sent me to you." That was the voice of Jesus in the burning bush and in Mark, Jesus is declaring that He is God!
Now I love this, John 18:6 tells us "Then-- when He said to them, I am He,-- they drew back and fell to the ground." Can you imagine the scene here. As Jesus says "I Am" the 1,000 or so people are lifted off the ground, being thrown backwards onto their backs! God is not only all-knowing, but He is also all-powerful!
Now some like to use this verse as evidence for being slain in the Spirit, where the Spirit of God knocks you over, but I have a big problem with that! These men were all unsaved and thus, this was a deceleration against all those who oppose Him as being Lord! You never see this happen to saved people, they fall on their faces in worship of God but not anything like this.
Again, in John chapter 18, we read in verses 7-8, "Then He asked them again, Whom are you seeking? And they said, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus answered, I have told you that I am He. Therefore, if you seek Me, let these go their way," Now I dont know about you, but I would be just a little intimidated in answering that question again. They saw and felt what happened the first time they answered it. But Jesus is commanding them to answer, why? Because He wanted them to focus on Him, and thus, to let His men go free. We see that in John 18:9, which says "that the saying might be fulfilled which He spoke, Of those whom You gave Me I have lost none." Jesus was going to see to it that the disciples would be set free, they all would get safe passage off the Mount of Olives.
4. Now, at this point, the disciples might be feeling pretty good, even though they are outnumbered 1,000 to 12. And they might have stood up, pretty bold now, standing next to Jesus, "Get them Jesus!" "Throw them back again, teach them who is boss!" "We bad!" You know the mentality, "My dad can beat up your dad!" And that is where we will pick up our study again in Mark chapter 14 beginning in verse 46.
1. Now instead of leaving while they had the chance, they began to talk amongst themselves. Luke 22:49 tells us "When those around Him saw what was going to happen, they said to Him, Lord, shall we strike with the sword?" Keep in mind they only had 2 swords while the Roman soldiers were a little better off, they had 600! And Peter, the fisherman, had one of them, and that is not a good combination, a fisherman with a sword! And with a sword you go and cut off peoples heads, but Peter missed and sliced off the ear of Malchus, the servant of the High Priest, who was Caiaphas.
2. Jesus had just got done securing their release, and in a split second Peter had undone all that Jesus did! I can imagine that as soon as Peter did this, the Roman soldiers armed themselves, ready to attack. And in Luke 22:51 we are told, "But Jesus answered and said, Permit even this. And He touched his ear and healed him." The arrest of Jesus was foreordained, Jesus didnt want them to stop it. And thus, Jesus heals this mans ear. Now I wonder why that didnt open their eyes to see that this one they came to arrest was really God? Also, this was the last miracle Jesus did in His earthly ministry, fixing what Peter did. Even today the Lord is fixing ears that His blundering servants, you and me, have cut off in our zeal!
1. First of all they were trying to fight a spiritual battle in the flesh, and that will never happen, it will never work. If you fight in the flesh you will only be defeated and frustrated, it is that simple. Lets look at Matthew 26:52-54 to get a more detailed account of what Jesus said. We read "But Jesus said to him, Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels? How then could the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen thus?"
The first thing we see in verse 52, and I have spoken a little about this already, is that there is absolutely no benefit to do something in the flesh thinking it will be a benefit in your spiritual life!
The second thing we see is found in verse 53, and we can ask ourselves, "Did Peter need to help Jesus?" Of course not! In fact Jesus reminds them that the Father would provide 12 legions of angels to help Him. A legion consisted of 6,000 men, and that would mean 12 legions would be 72,000 angels! And one you consider that one angel wiped out 185,000 Assyrian soldiers in one night in II Kings chapter 19, can you imagine what 12 legions could do with these 1,000 men who came to arrest Jesus? No, the Lord did not need Peters help!
Then why didnt the Father send those 12 legions of angels to come to the aid of Jesus? That is our third point found in verse 54, that Peter was unenlightened for these things must come to pass just as the Scripture said they would! Thus, Jesus went willingly with them, He was not forced or taken by force because of the might of the Roman soldiers. Lets not forget that He gave His life freely so we may live!
1. Now they all flee for their lives, things did not look good and they left. It is as John 16:32 says, "Indeed the hour is coming, yes, has now come, that you will be scattered, each to his own, and will leave Me alone. And yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me." And that is exactly what happened!
1. This person is not identified for us, but Mark is the only one who speaks of this event, and it may come from his first hand experience. Mark, at this point may have only be 12 years old at this point, a young man. And it seems that he almost gets arrested here, but flees these soldiers, leaving his linen cloth in their hands, and running that 1½ miles back home in the buff! And Im sure these soldiers were having some fun with him, and now they must have been hysterical seeing this boy streaking by!
2. Let me leave you with this thought this evening. How are you fighting the battles that you are in? Are you using physical weapons to fight a spiritual war? If you are it will never work. You will only be frustrated and defeated! Listen to these words from Paul in II Corinthians 10:3-6, which says "For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled." May we not forget that. May we be obedient to the Lord and fight these spiritual battles on our knees!