I may have a warped sense of humor but these verses blow me away and I laughed out loud when I read this today. Can you see the ridiculousness of this scene? Give me a moment of grace before you jump to conclusions. Jesus KNOWS what Judas is doing. He (Jesus) purposely went to Gethsemane because it was a place He often went too with his band of merry men. He made it easy for Judas to find him. Then, look at the number of people Judas brought with him to “arrest” Jesus. ONE MAN against a “multitude” of soldiers, priests, and Pharisees all toting weapons (swords, clubs, lanterns and torches). You call that “subtlety?” Yes, Jesus had eleven others with Him but they are groggy from sleeping! Sleeping until all the commotion of this band of blood-thirsty men rudely interrupt their slumber…….so they are of no help!
Jesus calmly asks this mob, “Who do you seek?” Like He doesn’t know. When they answer, “Jesus of Nazareth” Jesus quietly says, “I am, he.” He confirms Judas’ kiss of betrayal got the right person. Now here is where my sanctified imagination gets a bit tickled: “As SOON as He had said unto them, “I am he,” “they went backward, and fell to the ground.” I can just see this in my mind’s eye. Jesus quietly speaking but the power of His words came out as “I. AM. HE!” (thundering from the throne of the GREAT I AM) and hurricane force winds blew from His holy lips and knocked them on their sanctimonious backsides! BAM! (Zechariah 4:6) Then, with a bit of a smirk, (I imagine) Jesus again asked, “Whom seek ye?” As they scramble to their feet (I personally would have just stayed on the ground) they again confirm it is Jesus they have come for.
To add to the humor, impetuous Peter draws a sword. What is a fisherman doing wielding a sword? It is obvious he has not taken any fencing lessons because he takes a swipe at the High Priest’s servant, I am sure with the intent of chopping off his head and only whacks off an ear. He really needs to stick to fishing. Can you see Jesus catching the flying ear like a short stop catching a line drive? Swoosh….into the hand that created this ear. I told you this is funny! As Jesus replaces Malchus ear, He scolds Peter. He says, “Put the sword up! This is all happening just like I told you it would.” Can you see Jesus shaking His head and rolling His eyes?
Even as Jesus is being arrested He is still fulfilling the Scriptures, healing a servant, and teaching all in perfect peace and without anger or retaliation. Amazing. No swords or staves were needed. Jesus had prepared all this before the foundation of the world. No lanterns or torches were needed, they were in the Presence of the Light of the World. No army, no chords of bondage, no leading Him to Caiaphas was needed. He was going on purpose. It is why He came. All of this is intentional.
I believe Jesus, though He had been in agony praying as He faced HIs cup of wrath beginning to be poured out, saw the absolute absurdity of all the enemy was doing to deter His mission. I do believe He smiled a little smile as He knew He had already won this despite how it was going to look for the next seventy-two hours. He was responding to everything from His position of victory!
I am certain this army of men who came in the night never forgot the experience of their encounter with GOD! Did they lay their weapons down and pick up the Armor of God? Only eternity will reveal the answer. I am sure Malchus (whose name means “my king”) recalled the healing touch of the Master’s hand every time he felt his right ear.
Life is comical. My Beauty thinks God enjoys watching her be in a tizzy. Maybe she is right. But if so, He is smiling because He sees what is to come from what appears to be disaster in the here and now. When Jesus speaks, Heaven and earth move. When He speaks He breathes Life (Ezekiel 37:9) and evil is sent reeling backwards. His timing is perfect. His ways beyond our reason. But His thoughts are always toward our rescue! Our healing. Our growth. (Isaiah 55:8-9)
Treading in unknown waters,