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The Arrest1

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The Arrest


1.      Just as Jesus has said the events quickly unfold. How is the first verse of this section in Matthew and Mark different than Luke? What do you notice? What impression does that give you?

2.      “Under guard” or “safely”. In Mark Jesus is led away “under guard” or perhaps “safely”. Some speculate that Judas was caring for Jesus in this manner. This combined with the kiss lead many to speculate on a backstory of Judas expecting a different outcome besides Jesus’ arrest and execution. The term can also mean “securely” so as not to escape.

3.      What did the kiss mean? When the kiss is reported it has an intensification prefix, “he kissed him warmly”. We don’t know that a kiss was common for an ordinary meeting, it might have been. We do know that it is sometimes used as a sign of reconciliation after estrangement or a separation.

4.      Judas calls Jesus “rabbi”. This would be a normal greeting yet in Matthew see 23:7-8.

5.      How does Luke differ right from the start? In Luke Jesus gets the first word in, “With a kiss you give over the Son of Man?” Why is that such a shocking statement? Remember Daniel 7. With what does the Son of Man grapple?

6.      In Matthew Jesus responds too and the response is a bit cryptic. As you can see from the translations that it is difficult. The word for “friend” is an interesting on in the book of Matthew. See the two other occurrences in 20:13 and 22:12. BAGD (standard Greek lexicon) notes “as a general form of address to someone whose name one does not know.” There is also a very interesting use of the word in the extra-Biblical Sirach,

Sirach 37:2-4 (NRSV)
Is it not a sorrow like that for death itself when a dear friend turns into an enemy?

O inclination to evil, why were you formed to cover the land with deceit?

Some companions rejoice in the happiness of a friend, but in time of trouble they are against him.

7.      The next phrase can be a question, a command or a statement. What do you think this says, shows about Jesus?

8.      The sword incident. According to John it was Peter. Notice what the other versions say. In Jesus and the Eye Witnesses the author does an in-depth study of who is named and who isn’t in the gospels. There only three people not named in Mark who are named in John and two are in this scene: Peter and Malchus. It is even more clear that Mark who is usually strong on detail seems intentionally obscure on this point. Why? The other speculates that this incident would in fact be a crime for which Peter could be charged. Malchus is referred to as “the slave” when there were likely many slaves of the high priest. Malchus could have well had a position of importance with the high priest. Slaves were often people of education and capacity who served their masters in very important positions. Mark, Matthew and Luke were likely written during Peter’s life, John was quite likely written after Peter’s death.

9.      What is Jesus’ response to this taking up of arms to defend him? This is not an unimportant issue, especially given the reality that the church would again and again find itself attacked by people with weapons. This was brought home recently with the Danish cartoons of the prophet Muhammed. Ought Christians to shed blood in defense of Jesus’ “honor”?

10.  Matthew and Luke record Jesus’ response. Mark has no mention of the rebuke or the healing. In Luke the answer is brief and to the point. What kind of revolution will you have if your master keeps healing the enemies you strike!

11.  In Matthew we have the occasion for one of Jesus’ most famous sayings. How do you understand this saying? Is it true? What are its implications?

12.  Tim Keller in his sermon in Feb on this passage suggests that we should see “sword” broadened because of it’s other usages in the Bible, specifically Romans 13. It is the power to compel behavior. Kingdoms are associated with a sword. What defines one administration or another is a list of values. In the kingdom of this world the sword is at the top: military might, money, political power.

13.  Jesus pulls back and reorients his disciple’s perspective. Doesn’t this verse make everything look different?

14.  With Matt 26:54 it becomes clear that this all must happen and Jesus is going along. How do 53 and 54 work together and are we comfortable with this?

15.  What does both the means and the timing of their approach towards Jesus’ arrest reveal about them? “Bandit” is “lestes”. This is the same word used for those who hung with Jesus. This word was used for bandits, marauders but Josephus also uses it for insurgents. Jesus calls those who are inhabiting the temple “lestes”. In the parable of the Good Samaritan it is “lestes”who strip and beat the man. In John 10 it is “lestes” who try to steal the sheep. Barabbas is a “lestes”. What is Jesus saying about who-is-who?

16.  Jesus notes that he has been available to him during the daytime and they have done nothing. The manner of their operation speaks to its character.

17.  Again, this is all to fulfil scripture. Neither Matthew nor Mark note a particular passage, commentators pick through the regular ones.

18.  Luke doesn’t mention fulfilment of scripture but rather has a very interesting. See Luke 20:19. Darkness is obviously a common metaphor for evil and Satan. “Power” is also the same term often translated as “authority”. Luke is pointing to the fact that these who have approached Jesus with clubs and swords are proxies.

19.  The disciples abandon Jesus as he has prophesied and Jesus is alone.

20.  Mark 14:51-52: There has been no small amount of scholarship devoted to these two verses. Is this intended to be merely metaphorical? Was it literal? Why naked? Who is this mysterious young man?

a.       Why was he seized and no one else?

b.      The only other references to linen cloth are Jesus’ burial linens and in the OT Samson’s clothing and the Proverbs 31 woman. Linen is costly implying that the youth comes from a house with some means.

c.       To run naked out of the garden (Mark doesn’t say garden) just tempts Genesis.

d.      Some suggest because this person was not properly dresses he had no place at the supper yet was drawn to the garden or perhaps roused from sleep.

e.       Some see an echo of Amos 2:16.

f.        Another suggestion is that John Mark who lived near Jerusalem is the lad and also the author of the book.

g.       Others see John the son of Zebedee who is also thought to be John’s “other disciple” with Peter, but how could he go to the trial with no clothes?

h.       This might be another case in Mark of protective anonymity. Bauckham suggest it might perhaps be Lazarus who was also a wanted man which could also explain why he was grabbed too.

i.         There is no way to know.

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