Summary: This is a Maundy Thursday Sermon, part of a series calls Words of Lent and deals with the arrest!
When we think of a big arrest today, what do we think of?... “Bad boys, bad boys, what you gonna do when they come for you?” (Theme from “Cops”) We think of S.W.A.T. Teams and people fleeing the scene in high speed chases. We think of cops breaking in doors and storm troopers rappelling in through windows. Helicopters and search lights. It fascinates us on television, but sometimes it seems so overwhelming.
The scene of Jesus arrest is not near as intense, but some elements themselves seem a bit overwhelming for a guy who is willing to go peacefully. Watch any rendition of a passion play and you will this story come to life. A mob of soldiers accompany the betrayer Judas. There are swords and torches. It seems a little overkill for a guy who is being accused of what? Healing on the Sabbath?
Can’t you hear them back at the stationhouse! I remember in my days of police work the big talk that always came after a big bust. “Yeah Chief… we surrounded this guy down by the garden. The snitch "dimed" him out and we moved in like a swarm of bees on honey. Smitty pulled his club. Jameson held the torch. Adams manned the radio. Harold put on the cuffs…
What’s that Chief? Well, yeah, we could have just asked the guy to come in with us, but think about the big arrest we made! What a collar!... What was he wanted for? Well… I know it doesn’t sound that… okay, already! He gave some guy back his sight! But he did it in church and on the Sabbath. Great bust wasn’t it guys? High five’s for everyone!
The arrest wasn’t without incident as one of Jesus disciples pulled out his sword and cut off the ear of the servant Caiaphas, the High Priest. Some scholars think it was Peter. We aren’t really sure. I want you to note the most signifigant thing that happens during this arrest. I personally think it really goes un-noticed as we concentrate mostly on the details of his arrest and betrayal. It is the fact that Jesus remains Lord! He remains in control! And he remains determined in his task. Someone cuts of the ear of an “arrestor”, no problem, the Lord of all Life picks it up and restores it. Judas betrays him with a kiss, and Jesus looks at his accuser and those that have come to arrest him with the love of a Savior. He could have called 10,000 angels to stop this charade, but to be the Lord meant refraining his own passions for the sake of fulfillment of the Scriptures.
“(1) He is not a nervous, scared criminal who has finally gotten caught. He is not a hopeless victim of a lynch mob. He is still the Lord of Glory and King of Kings even in the most humbling of circumstances”. (1 – “Still Lord” by Richard Tow, www.sermoncentral.com)
How is it that Jesus is still Lord in this most difficult hour? I suggest it was the prayer that had occurred just before his arrest. He remained focused and centered. He knew that this was the very hour for which He had come! He calmly asked “Who have you come to arrest?” He maintained his demeanor, even when He knew they were seeking Him! He was not startled! He was not alarmed! Why? Because through prayer He was being empowered by God!
The guards probably expected a fight! The disciples, at least one, wanted to fight. Maybe even Judas expected that this would cause Jesus to overthrow the Roman Government! He would usher in the kingdom!
O’ it did all that… but in a quite different way. The betrayal and arrest were just the beginning of what would be a long weekend. But one thing was certain: Jesus was Lord!
Maybe the question this night is how do we handle stressful situations? How do we handle the unruly crowds? The mobs? The betrayals by so called friends? Do we always want to stand and fight? Or have we through prayer centered ourselves on Godly things? Do we stay focused on God’s plan?
The Gospel makes one thing abundantly clear: “(1) Jesus was not taken against his will. He willingly offered Himself as a sacrifice for sin. He was not the victim of an angry mob. He was totally in control of the whole situation. And if he was in control during those darkest hours – the time when the powers of darkness we most at work, you can know that he is in control of whatever may be happening in your life. Circumstances may seem like they are out of control. On the surface the arrest and crucifixion of Jesus looked like an unfortunate miscarriage of justice. But in reality the sovereign plan of God was being marvelously fulfilled…” (1 – “Still Lord” by Richard Tow, www.sermoncentral.com)
The arrest was only a means to God’s end! It simply carried out a plan! God’s plan to offer Jesus for the sins of the world!