Sabbath, March 18, 2017
“Let the repenting sinner fix his eyes upon ‘the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.’… When we see Jesus, a Man of Sorrows and acquainted with grief, working to save the lost, slighted, scorned, derided, driven from city to city till His mission was accomplished; when we behold Him in Gethsemane,… looking unto Jesus, we shall be ashamed of our coldness, our lethargy, our self-seeking. We shall be willing to be anything or nothing, so that we may do heart service for the Master. We shall rejoice to bear the cross after Jesus, to endure trial, shame, or persecution for His dear sake.” –The Faith I Live By, p. 107.
1. Who came while Jesus was still speaking with His disciples in Gethsemane? Who was their guide?
Mark 14:43 And immediately, while he yet spake, cometh Judas, one of the twelve, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders.
John 18:2-5 And Judas also, which betrayed him, knew the place: for Jesus ofttimes resorted thither with his disciples. 3Judas then, having received a band of men and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, cometh thither with lanterns and torches and weapons. 4Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth, and said unto them, Whom seek ye? 5They answered him, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus saith unto them, I am he. And Judas also, which betrayed him, stood with them.
“Could mortals have viewed the amazement and the sorrow of the angelic host as they watched in silent grief the Father separating His beams of light, love, and glory from the beloved Son of His bosom, they would better understand how offensive sin is in His sight. The sword of justice was now to awake against His dear Son. He was betrayed by a kiss into the hands of His enemies, and hurried to the judgment hall of an earthly court, there to be derided and condemned to death by sinful mortals. There the glorious Son of God was ‘wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities.’ He bore insult, mockery, and shameful abuse, until ‘His visage was so marred more than any man, and His form more than the sons of men.’ ” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 2, pp. 206, 207.
The traitor–from Jesus’ ranks
2. With what pretended concern did Judas approach Jesus? What happened that showed the multitude that they were dealing with God’s Son?
Mark 14:45 And as soon as he was come, he goeth straightway to him, and saith, Master, master; and kissed him.
John 18:6-8 As soon then as he had said unto them, I am he, they went backward, and fell to the ground. 7Then asked he them again, Whom seek ye? And they said, Jesus of Nazareth. 8Jesus answered, I have told you that I am he: if therefore ye seek me, let these go their way.
Matthew 26:48, 49 Now he that betrayed him gave them a sign, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he: hold him fast. 49And forthwith he came to Jesus, and said, Hail, master; and kissed him.
“Even as He spoke these words, He heard the footsteps of the mob in search of Him, and said, ‘Rise, let us be going: behold, he is at hand that doth betray Me.’
“No traces of His recent agony were visible as Jesus stepped forth to meet His betrayer. Standing in advance of His disciples He said, ‘Whom seek ye?’ They answered, ‘Jesus of Nazareth.’ Jesus replied, ‘I am He.’ As these words were spoken, the angel who had lately ministered to Jesus moved between Him and the mob. A divine light illuminated the Saviour’s face, and a dovelike form overshadowed Him. In the presence of this divine glory, the murderous throng could not stand for a moment. They staggered back. Priests, elders, soldiers, and even Judas, fell as dead men to the ground.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 694.
3. How did the Master let Judas know that his falseness and betrayal were clearly recognized? What did the armed multitude do to the Master?
Luke 22:48 But Jesus said unto him, Judas, betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss?
Matthew 26:50 And Jesus said unto him, Friend, wherefore art thou come? Then came they, and laid hands on Jesus, and took him.
“Judas the betrayer did not forget the part he was to act. When the mob entered the garden, he had led the way, closely followed by the high priest. To the pursuers of Jesus he had given a sign, saying, ‘Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is He: hold Him fast.’ Matthew 26:48. Now he pretends to have no part with them. Coming close to Jesus, he takes His hand as a familiar friend. With the words, ‘Hail, Master,’ he kisses Him repeatedly, and appears to weep as if in sympathy with Him in His peril.
“Jesus said to him, ‘Friend, wherefore art thou come?’ His voice trembled with sorrow as He added, ‘Judas, betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss?’ This appeal should have aroused the conscience of the betrayer, and touched his stubborn heart; but honor, fidelity, and human tenderness had forsaken him. He stood bold and defiant, showing no disposition to relent. He had given himself up to Satan, and he had no power to resist him. Jesus did not refuse the traitor’s kiss.” –The Desire of Ages, pp. 695, 696.
4. When the disciples saw what was happening, what did they ask the Lord? Despite His clear answer, what did Peter do when he saw how his Master was being treated? What did Jesus do to counteract Peter’s act?
Luke 22:49-51 When they which were about him saw what would follow, they said unto him, Lord, shall we smite with the sword? 50And one of them smote the servant of the high priest, and cut off his right ear. 51And Jesus answered and said, Suffer ye thus far. And he touched his ear, and healed him.
Matthew 26:51 And, behold, one of them which were with Jesus stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest’s, and smote off his ear.
John 18:10 Then Simon Peter having a sword drew it, and smote the high priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant’s name was Malchus.
“The disciples had thought that their Master would not suffer Himself to be taken. For the same power that had caused the mob to fall as dead men could keep them helpless, until Jesus and His companions should escape. They were disappointed and indignant as they saw the cords brought forward to bind the hands of Him whom they loved. Peter in his anger rashly drew his sword and tried to defend his Master, but he only cut off an ear of the high priest’s servant. When Jesus saw what was done, He released His hands, though held firmly by the Roman soldiers, and saying, ‘Suffer ye thus far,’ He touched the wounded ear, and it was instantly made whole.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 696.
Weapons not of God
5. What principle concerning the use of deadly weapons did Jesus give to Peter and thus to all His followers in all time? What is shown by the fact that, although the Saviour could have called for twelve legions of angels to defend Him, He did not do so?
Matthew 26:52-54 Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword. 53Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? 54But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?
John 18:11 Then said Jesus unto Peter, Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?
“The disciples began to hope as they saw the multitude with their staves and swords fall so quickly. As they arose and again surrounded the Son of God, Peter drew his sword and smote a servant of the high priest and cut off an ear. Jesus bade him to put up the sword, saying, ‘Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He shall presently give Me more than twelve legions of angels?’ I saw that as these words were spoken, the countenances of the angels were animated with hope. They wished then and there to surround their Commander and disperse that angry mob. But again sadness settled upon them, as Jesus added, ‘But how then shall the Scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?’ The hearts of the disciples also sank in despair and bitter disappointment, as Jesus suffered Himself to be led away by His enemies.” –Early Writings, pp. 167, 168.
A lesson for priests, elders, and leaders
6. What message did Jesus thus give to the chief priests, captains of the temple, and elders? How did His consistent behavior demonstrate meekness from the very first moment when He was arrested?
Luke 22:52, 53 Then Jesus said unto the chief priests, and captains of the temple, and the elders, which were come to him, Be ye come out, as against a thief, with swords and staves? 53When I was daily with you in the temple, ye stretched forth no hands against me: but this is your hour, and the power of darkness.
Isaiah 53:7, first part He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter….
1 Peter 2:23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously.
“The official dignity of the Jewish leaders had not prevented them from joining in the pursuit of Jesus. His arrest was too important a matter to be trusted to subordinates; the wily priests and elders had joined the temple police and the rabble in following Judas to Gethsemane. What a company for those dignitaries to unite with–a mob that was eager for excitement, and armed with all kinds of implements, as if in pursuit of a wild beast!
“Turning to the priests and elders, Christ fixed upon them His searching glance. The words He spoke they would never forget as long as life should last. They were as the sharp arrows of the Almighty. With dignity He said: You come out against Me with swords and staves as you would against a thief or a robber. Day by day I sat teaching in the temple. You had every opportunity of laying hands upon Me, and you did nothing. The night is better suited to your work. ‘This is your hour, and the power of darkness.’ “ –The Desire of Ages, pp. 696, 697.
Left alone by His disciples
7. What happened to the disciples at this crucial moment? What prophecy was fulfilled when they left Jesus alone and fled, even though earlier they had absolutely denied such a possibility?
Matthew 26:56 But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled.
Zechariah 13:7 Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the Lord of hosts: smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn mine hand upon the little ones.
“Nothing is more offensive to God than a self-sufficient spirit. In the life of Peter is a sad lesson which should be a warning to all the professed followers of Christ. The Saviour had faithfully warned him of the approaching danger, but, self-confident and presumptuous, he asserted his constant fidelity and zeal, and declared himself willing to follow his Master to prison and to death. The test came for Peter when the storm burst upon the disciples by the humiliation of their Leader. Mournful are the words traced by the pen of inspiration: ‘Then all the disciples forsook Him, and fled.’ Matthew 26:56. And the ardent, zealous, self-confident Peter repeatedly denied his Lord. He afterward bitterly repented; but this example should admonish all to beware of self-confidence and self-righteousness.” –The Faith I Live By, p. 138.
- How can we explain how one disciple, who was responsible for guiding people to Jesus, became His betrayer, handing Him over to His bitter enemies?
- How would we respond if a close friend would betray us as Judas did Christ?
- What evidence of His divinity appeared, even when He was taken captive by the mob?
For additional study
“The men who humble themselves even as a little child are the men who will be taught by God. The Lord is not dependent on any man’s talents; for He is the Source of all perfect gifts. The very humblest man, if he loves and fears God, is the possessor of heavenly gifts. The Lord can use such a man, because he does not strive to work himself according to his own standard. He works with fear and trembling lest he will spoil the pattern. His life is an expression of the life of Christ.
“We must constantly cherish meekness and humility, if we would possess the spirit of Christ.” –The Faith I Live By, p. 138.
“The strength given to Christ in the hour of bodily suffering and mental anguish in the Garden of Gethsemane, has been and will be given to those who suffer for His dear name’s sake. The same grace given to Jesus, the same comfort, the more than mortal steadfastness, will be given to every believing child of God, who is brought into perplexity and suffering, and threatened with imprisonment and death, by Satan’s agents. Never has a soul that trusts in Christ been left to perish. The rack, the stake, the many inventions of cruelty, may kill the body, but they cannot touch the life that is hid with Christ in God.” –(Signs of the Times, June 3, 1897) Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, pp. 1123, 1124.