And He came out and proceeded as was His custom to the Mount of Olives; and the disciples also followed Him. When He arrived at the place, He said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” And He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and began to pray, saying, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.” Now an angel from heaven appeared to Him, strengthening Him. And being in agony He was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground. When He rose from prayer, He came to the disciples and found them sleeping from sorrow, and said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray that you may not enter into temptation.”
While He was still speaking, behold, a crowd came, and the one called Judas, one of the twelve, was preceding them; and he approached Jesus to kiss Him. But Jesus said to him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?” When those who were around Him saw what was going to happen, they said, “Lord, shall we strike with the sword?” And one of them struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his right ear. But Jesus answered and said, “Stop! No more of this.” And He touched his ear and healed him. Then Jesus said to the chief priests and officers of the temple and elders who had come against Him, “Have you come out with swords and clubs as you would against a robber? While I was with you daily in the temple, you did not lay hands on Me; but this hour and the power of darkness are yours.”
Having arrested Him, they led Him away and brought Him to the house of the high priest; but Peter was following at a distance. After they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter was sitting among them. And a servant-girl, seeing him as he sat in the firelight and looking intently at him, said, “This man was with Him too.” But he denied it, saying, “Woman, I do not know Him.” A little later, another saw him and said, “You are one of them too!” But Peter said, “Man, I am not!” After about an hour had passed, another man began to insist, saying, “Certainly this man also was with Him, for he is a Galilean too.” But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are talking about.” Immediately, while he was still speaking, a rooster crowed. The Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had told him, “Before a rooster crows today, you will deny Me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly.
Now the men who were holding Jesus in custody were mocking Him and beating Him, and they blindfolded Him and were asking Him, saying, “Prophesy, who is the one who hit You?” And they were saying many other things against Him, blaspheming.
When it was day, the Council of elders of the people assembled, both chief priests and scribes, and they led Him away to their council chamber, saying, “If You are the Christ, tell us.” But He said to them, “If I tell you, you will not believe; and if I ask a question, you will not answer. But from now on the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the power of God.” And they all said, “Are You the Son of God, then?” And He said to them, “Yes, I am.” Then they said, “What further need do we have of testimony? For we have heard it ourselves from His own mouth.”
Understanding And Applying the Text
As I read this section of scripture I get an overwhelming feeling of despair and loneliness. Jesus goes by himself to pray. He asked the disciples to pray. When Jesus returns he finds them asleep. They too knew something was wrong because Luke says they were asleep from sorrow. Judas now arrives, one of the 12, the inner circle. Judas had been with Jesus through all of Jesus’ trials. Judas was a friend. Jesus had trusted Judas. Judas had sat in a place of honor at the supper. Yet it is Judas who was the one who betrayed Jesus. Jesus knew what was happening. Jesus knew what was about to happen. Yet even while he is being arrested He heals a wound of one of his attackers. To say that Jesus cared for others would be to understate the fact. They led Jesus away and held Him until morning. They felt they had no choice. It had to make the arrest at night. Jesus spent his days in the temple. The people had prevented the chief priests and scribes from killing Jesus before. They needed to do this in secret. They needed it out of everyone’s sight. The actual trial could not take place until daybreak. So as they held Jesus until morning. Of course, the verdict was in before the trial. They beat Jesus and made sport of Him. They mocked God, the creator of heaven and earth. They blindfolded Jesus and struck Him. Think about being in that situation not knowing when or where the next blow would come. You could not even barace for it. To the captors, Jesus appeared to be impotent. This great teacher could heal the sick and raise the dead. They had power over Him. They controlled Him. They were able to beat Him. All this supported their idea that He was a false teacher, a false prophet, and a false Messiah. Otherwise, He would have stopped them. The penalty for being a false prophet was death. Yes in their mind Jesus was getting what he deserved. All this and Jesus knew the severity would only escalate.
Peter who hours ago said he would be willing to go to jail or die for Christ denies he ever knew who Christ was. What he had done does not sink in until the rooster crows and Christ looks at him. At that point, he realizes that he had betrayed the Lord he loved. He leaves and weeps bitterly.
Daybreak finally comes and they take Jesus to the council chambers. It was against Jewish law to have held the trial at night. So this was the official trial. They quizzed Jesus about who He was. They ask Him if He was the Messiah. But Christ said they would not believe Him, so would He would not answer their questions. They finally ask Him if He is the son of God. He answers yes and now they have their official reason to condemn him. He made Himself equal to God.
Do people know you have been with Christ? How? Peter was found out because he spent a lot of time with Jesus. Others had seen him with Jesus. But even Peter’s close relationship did not keep him from betraying Jesus. Do you love Christ? Peter loved the Lord. When he realized what he had done he wept bitterly. What is your reaction when you sin? Do you simply say your sins are covered by grace and go on your way? Are you truly repentant? Do you love Jesus? Or are you a cultural Christian? Do You simply have a lifestyle that others believe is a Christian lifestyle? Or do you have a life where Christ is first, last, and always? Do you even realize your sins? If you do realize your sins what is your reaction? Do you weep bitterly? Or do you shrug it off saying, “God loves me just the way I am.” Do you realize that even at your best you are a wretched sinner? You, me, we all need Christ’s forgiveness and His atoning blood if we are to stand before a holy God and avoid His wrath.