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The Story of Jesus



Chapter 17

The Betrayal and Arrest

NO traces of His recent suffering were to be seen as the Saviour stepped forth to meet His betrayer. Standing in advance of His disciples, He asked the mob:

"Whom seek ye?"

They answered, "Jesus of Nazareth."

Jesus replied, "I am He." John 18:4,5.

As Jesus spoke these words, the angel who had recently ministered to Him 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. The priests, elders, and soldiers dropped as dead men to the ground.

The angel withdrew, and the light faded away. Jesus could have escaped, but He remained, calm and self-possessed. His disciples were too much amazed to utter a word.

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The Roman soldiers soon started to their feet. With the priests and Judas, they gathered about Christ. They seemed ashamed of their weakness, and fearful that He would escape. Again the question was asked by the Redeemer: "Whom seek ye?"

Again they answered, "Jesus of Nazareth." The Saviour then said, "I have told you that I am He: if therefore ye seek Me, let these [pointing to His disciples] go their way." John 18:7,8.

In this hour of trial, Christ's thoughts were for His beloved disciples. He did not wish to have them suffer, even though He must go to prison and to death.

Judas, the betrayer, did not forget the part he was to act. He came to Jesus, and kissed Him.

Jesus said to him, "Friend, wherefore art thou come?" Matthew 26:50. His voice trembled as He added, "Betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss?" Luke 22:48.

These gentle words should have touched the heart of Judas; but all tenderness and honor seemed to have left him. Judas had yielded himself to the control of Satan. He stood boldly before the Lord, and was not ashamed to give Him up to the cruel mob.

Christ did not refuse the traitor's kiss. In this He gave us an example of forbearance, love, and pity. If we are His disciples, we must treat our enemies as He treated Judas.

The murderous throng became bold as they saw Judas touch the form which had so recently been glorified before their eyes. They now laid hold of the Saviour, and bound those hands that had ever been employed in doing good.

The disciples did not think that Christ would allow Himself to be taken. They knew that the power which could

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strike down the mob as dead men could keep them helpless till Christ 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" (Luke 22:51), He touched the wounded ear, and it was instantly made whole.

He then said to Peter, "Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword. Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He shall presently give Me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then shall the Scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?" Matthew 26:52-54. "The cup which My Father hath given Me, shall I not drink it?" John 18:11.

Christ then turned to the chief priests and the captains of the temple, who were with the mob, and said, "Are ye come out as against a thief, with swords and with staves to take me? I was daily with you in the temple teaching, and ye took Me not: but the Scriptures must be fulfilled." Mark 14:48,49.

The disciples were offended when they saw that the Saviour made no effort to deliver Himself from His enemies. They blamed Him for not doing so. They could not understand His submission to the mob, and, terror-stricken, they forsook Him and fled.

Christ had foretold this desertion. "Behold," He had

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said, "the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave Me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me." John 16:32.

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